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Wheelchair technology & spinal cord injury

The current issue of the Journal of Rehabilitation Research and Development (JRRD) is dedicated to spinal cord injury and wheelchair technology. Full-text articles are available, free, online at http://www.vard.org.

Excess weight, push technique contribute to upper limb injury in users of manual wheelchairs

This study makes recommendations for wheelchair propulsion and setup that may reduce the risk of developing shoulder and wrist injuries. Over 60 manual wheelchair users with paraplegia propelled their manual wheelchair on a stationary roller system at self-selected, slow, and moderately fast speeds. Participants also underwent extensive medical tests to evaluate upper-limb repetitive strain injuries. Investigators recommend using smooth, long strokes and letting the hand drift below the pushrim when not in contact with the wheel. They warn that weight gain can increase injury risk and suggest using a light-weight wheelchair with a forward-adjusted rear axle to ease propulsion and lessen stress on the upper limbs.

Rehabilitation improves wheelchair propulsion capacity in persons with spinal cord injury

This study describes the effect of rehabilitation to increase the ability of persons with spinal cord injury (SCI) to push a wheelchair. One hundred and thirty-two persons with SCI were tested three times during rehabilitation. Overall, wheelchair propulsion ability increased from the start of rehabilitation to the end of clinical rehabilitation. Men, younger persons, persons with paraplegia, and persons with incomplete lesions had greater ability to push a wheelchair. Older persons and women were found to have a lower rate of improvement. Persons with tetraplegia and paraplegia showed the same amount of improvement.

People with spinal cord injury report lower quality of life

This study reviews literature on the quality of life (QOL) of individuals with spinal
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Contact: Judith LaVoie
judith@vard.org
410-962-1800 x 229
VA Research Communications Service
16-Sep-2005


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