G06 The exploration of the upper body kinematics and kinematic asymmetries during forwards and backwards wheelchair propulsion


  • Mya Hickmott University of Derby
  • Simon Briley University of Derby




The current literature available on the kinematic asymmetries in the upper body during wheelchair propulsion remains limited (Slowick, Requejo, Mulro. & Neptune, 2015, Front Bioeng Biotech, 3, 86-86). This research provides an opportunity to add to this limited area and help provide an understanding of the how the upper body movements change when faced with a change in speed and direction. The present cross-sectional laboratory study aimed to explore the kinematics and kinematic asymmetries during forwards and backwards wheelchair propulsion in able bodied individuals. This study investigated the effect of changes in speed and quantified the upper body kinematics of forwards and backwards wheelchair propulsion. Upon ethical approval, five able bodied participants, 3 male and 2 female (age = 21 ± 1 years, stature = 173 ± 8 cm, mass = 73 ± 7 kg) provided written informed consent and participated in this study. Participants took part in exercise regularly but had no prior wheelchair experience. Individual measurements (Height, weight, weekly exercise levels, injury history, dominant hand and upper body pain via the musculoskeletal pain questionnaire) were taken then participants took part in a series of trials in a wheelchair. Four Inertial Measurement Units (IMeasureU, Blue Trident, VICON, Oxford, UK) were placed on the participant's 7th cervical vertebrae, underneath the wheelchair seat and on the lateral side of each humerus above the elbow joint. Before testing began, participants were given a five-minute familiarisation period on the wheelchair. The testing consisted of ten forwards and ten backwards self-paced wheelchair propulsions on an Invictus Active Trainer (Invictus Active, Wolverhampton, UK), a 20 metre sprint overground on a track (with verbal encouragement throughout the sprint) and a single arm 3 kg medicine ball throw. All tests were performed from a stationary start and shoulder angles were measured to 180° before each test began. This research expects to see a difference in angular velocity between each participant's arms, with a greater level of asymmetry as speed increases. Participants are required to work harder in order to gain speed and as a result their propulsion technique will change to meet the new demands. The other expectation is to see the same side as the participants dominant hand have a higher level of force production during propulsion compared to their arm with the non-dominant hand.