Manual Wheelchair Propulsion in Spinal Cord Injuries

study logo - wheel

Dr. Bonita Sawatzky of the Department of Orthopedics, University of British Columbia conducted a research study to measure the forces put on the wheel when wheeling, to describe the wheeling strategies of adults, and measure how these forces change over various surfaces such as carpet, tile, and inclines/ramps.

Participants were 19 years of age or older,with a spinal cord injury either from birth (i.e. Spina Bifida) or from trauma, who used a manual wheelchair with 24” wheels for at least half of their day-to-day mobility.

The study took place at the Blusson Spinal Cord Centre (818 W. 19th Avenue, Vancouver, BC).

The study involved performing four different wheeling tasks using a Smartwheel. The Smartwheel is similar to a regular wheelchair wheel, however it can measure how a person pushes, how much and what type of force it takes to push your wheelchair, and how far the chair travels with each push. The research team mounted the SmartWheel to your chair on the side of your dominant hand for the study.