Biomechanical differences between experienced and inexperienced wheelchair users during sport

Starrs, Paul, Chohan, Ambreen orcid iconORCID: 0000-0003-0544-7832, Fewtrell, David orcid iconORCID: 0000-0002-9015-1413, Richards, Jim orcid iconORCID: 0000-0002-4004-3115 and Selfe, James (2012) Biomechanical differences between experienced and inexperienced wheelchair users during sport. Prosthetics and Orthotics International, 36 (3). pp. 324-331. ISSN 0309-3646

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Background: During functional wheelchair movement there are several types of stroke pattern that a manual wheelchair user (MWCU) can utilize in order to propel.

Objectives: To examine the biomechanical differences between disabled (WCU) and able-bodied (NWCU) children whilst taking part in functional activities at the Cheetahs Wheelchair Sports Club.

Study Design: A multiple measures cohort study.

Methods: Eleven participants were divided into two groups; WCU (n = 7) and NWCU (n = 4). All subjects were asked to perform three functional tasks; 30-second agility test, 1-minute distance test and a 10-metre sprint test. Upper body kinematics were recoded using a XSens MVN BIOMECH motion capture suit.

Results: NWCU outperformed the WCU in all of the tasks, however, no significant differences between the group’s results were found. Nevertheless, significant differences were found in the maximum shoulder flexion angle for both right and left with NWCU utilizing more flexion and near significant differences in the NWCU overall shoulder range for right and left.

Conclusions: In order to increase function in young MWCU then more specific-based sessions should be implemented targeting the exploitation of large shoulder ranges during propulsion, consequently resulting in more efficient movement.

Clinical relevance Employing a propulsion technique which uses larger ranges of shoulder motion and decreased pushrim frequency results in an optimal cost-effect balance without predisposing MWCU to overuse injuries.

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