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Handrim Wheelchair Propulsion Technique in Individuals With Spinal Cord Injury With and Without Shoulder Pain: A Cross-sectional Comparison.

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Braaksma, Jelmer 
Vegter, Riemer JK 
Leving, Marika T 
van der Scheer, Jan W 
Tepper, Marga 


OBJECTIVE: The aim of this study was to compare handrim wheelchair propulsion technique between individuals with spinal cord injury with and without shoulder pain. DESIGN: A cross-sectional study including 38 experienced handrim wheelchair users with spinal cord injury was conducted. Participants were divided into the "shoulder pain" ( n = 15) and "no-shoulder pain" ( n = 23) groups using the Local Musculoskeletal Discomfort scale. Kinetic and spatiotemporal aspects of handrim wheelchair propulsion during submaximal exercise on a motor-driven treadmill were analyzed. Data were collected using a measurement wheel instrumented with three-dimensional force sensors. RESULTS: After correction for confounders (time since injury and body height), linear regression analyses showed that the pain group had a 0.30-sec (95% confidence interval, -0.5 to -0.1) shorter cycle time, 0.22-sec (95% confidence interval, -0.4 to -0.1) shorter recovery time, 15.6 degrees (95% confidence interval, -27.4 to -3.8) smaller contact angle, and 8% (95% confidence interval, -15 to 0) lower variability in work per push compared with the no-pain group. Other parameters did not differ between groups. CONCLUSIONS: This study indicates that individuals with spinal cord injury who experience shoulder pain propel their handrim wheelchair kinematically differently from individuals with spinal cord injury without shoulder pain. This difference in propulsion technique might be a pain-avoiding mechanism aimed at decreasing shoulder range of motion.



Humans, Cross-Sectional Studies, Spinal Cord Injuries, Shoulder, Shoulder Pain, Wheelchairs, Biomechanical Phenomena

Journal Title

Am J Phys Med Rehabil

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Ovid Technologies (Wolters Kluwer Health)