Upper limb joint motion of two different user groups during manual wheelchair propulsion

Seonhong Hwang, Seunghyeon Kim, Jongsang Son, Jinbok Lee, Youngho Kim

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


Manual wheelchair users have a high risk of injury to the upper extremities. Recent studies have focused on kinematic and kinetic analyses of manual wheelchair propulsion in order to understand the physical demands on wheelchair users. The purpose of this study was to investigate upper limb joint motion by using a motion capture system and a dynamometer with two different groups of wheelchair users propelling their wheelchairs at different speeds under different load conditions. The variations in the contact time, release time, and linear velocity of the experienced group were all larger than they were in the novice group. The propulsion angles of the experienced users were larger than those of the novices under all conditions. The variances in the propulsion force (both radial and tangential) of the experienced users were larger than those of the novices. The shoulder joint moment had the largest variance with the conditions, followed by the wrist joint moment and the elbow joint moment. The variance of the maximum shoulder joint moment was over four times the variance of the maximum wrist joint moment and eight times the maximum elbow joint moment. The maximum joint moments increased significantly as the speed and load increased in both groups. Quick and significant manipulation ability based on environmental changes is considered an important factor in efficient propulsion. This efficiency was confirmed from the propulsion power results. Sophisticated strategies for efficient manual wheelchair propulsion could be understood by observation of the physical responses of each upper limb joint to changes in load and speed. We expect that the findings of this study will be utilized for designing a rehabilitation program to reduce injuries.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)648-656
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of the Korean Physical Society
Issue number4
StatePublished - 2013
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General Physics and Astronomy


  • Joint moment
  • Propulsion force
  • Upper limb joint kinetics
  • Wheelchair
  • Wheelchair dynamometer


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