The Effect of Shoulder Position on Pushrim Forces during Overground Manual Wheelchair Propulsion

Michael Turkovich, Alicia Koontz, Rachel Cowan, Ian Rice, Michael Boninger
Human Engineering Research Laboratories, Highland Drive VA Medical Center, Pittsburgh, PA
 Dept. of Rehab Science and Technology, University of Pittsburgh, PA 15261


Optimizing wheelchair configuration may reduce the risk of developing arm pain and injury. This study examined shoulder position in relation to rear axle position during propulsion over linoleum, carpet and ramp surfaces. Subjects propelled at a comfortable pace over the surfaces while kinematics and kinetics were recorded. A more posterior shoulder position relative to the axle was positively correlated with lower peak and average resultant forces, lower peak force rate of rise and lower contact angles on linoleum and higher velocities on the ramp. The results of this study further support recent clinical practice guidelines that recommend anterior placement of the axle.


biomechanics, kinetics, wheelchair setup


Supported by the Department of Veterans Affairs Rehabilitation Research and Development Service (Project# B3142C) and Paralyzed Veterans of America

Michael Turkovich, Human Engineering Research Laboratories, 7180 Highland Dr. 151R-H Pittsburgh, Pa 15206 Email: