To assess the changes in speed, stroke frequency, acceleration, and shoulder range of motion (ROM) associated with different wheelchair axle positions in people with chronic C7 tetraplegia.
This repeated-measures study was conducted at the Chronic Spinal Cord Injury Unit, FLENI Escobar, Argentina. The speed, stroke frequency, acceleration, and shoulder ROM during wheelchair propulsion were measured in nine participants with C7 spinal cord injury (SCI) in four different axle positions (forward and up, forward and down, backward and down, backward and up). Two strokes performed at maximum speed were analyzed on a smooth level vinyl floor in a motion analysis laboratory. Data were analyzed for significant statistical differences using the Friedman test and the Wilcoxon signed rank test.
Our study showed significant differences in the speed with axle position 1 (1.57 m/s) versus 2 (1.55 m/s) and position 2 (1.55 m/s) versus 4 (1.52 m/s). The shoulder ROM showed a significant difference in the sagittal plane in position 2 (59.34 degrees) versus 3 (61.64 degrees), whereas the stroke frequency and the acceleration parameters showed no statistically significant differences with the different rear axle positions.
Our study showed that modifying the rear axle position can improve the propulsion speed and produce changes in the shoulder ROM in the wheelchair propulsion of individuals with C7 SCI.