Quantifying the Demand on the Shoulder during Lateral Wheelchair Transfers
Megan Naber, BME student1,3 , Padmaja Kankipati, MS1,2 , Yen Sheng Lin, MS1,2 , Alicia M. Koontz, PhD, RET1,2 ,
1Human Engineering Research Laboratories, Department of Veterans Affairs, Pittsburgh, PA
2 Department of Rehabilitation Science and Technology, University of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh, PA  15261
3 Department of Biomedical Engineering, Marquette University, Milwaukee, WI, 53233


This study aims at analyzing biomechanical data of wheelchair transfers in terms of strength capability.  Peak torques from isokinetic strength data and peak shoulder moments during transfer were identified in five manual wheelchair users with paraplegia. A transfer strength rating (TSR) was calculated to determine a percentage of capability demanded during transfers. Strength data revealed flexion and external rotation as strongest and weakest joint movements, respectively, as in prior studies. The TSR values indicated that demands on several joint movements exceed the measured strength capability, such as external rotation and extension. This analysis technique could potentially be used to identify which muscle groups to strengthen thereby increasing shoulder joint capacity to meet the demands of transfers.   


Biomechanics; isokinetic strength; spinal cord injury; transfer; upper limb pain


Funding for this study was provided by the VA Rehabilitation Research R&D Services and the National Institute on Disability and Rehabilitation Research and the National Institute of Health, Center for Injury Research Control (VA-RR&D E3589V and B3079R NIDRR H133A011107, NIH R49/CCR310285-06).

Author Contact Information:

Megan Naber, BS, Marquette University, 1317 W. Kilbourn Ave., Apt. Y, Milwaukee, WI  53233, cell phone: (517) 290-5987
E-mail: megan.naber@marquette.edu

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