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Title: Analysis of upper body biomechanics and control in manual wheelchair users
Author: Lafta, Hassanain Ali
ISNI:       0000 0004 7224 2586
Awarding Body: Cardiff University
Current Institution: Cardiff University
Date of Award: 2018
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Manual wheelchair propulsion involves repetitive shoulder range of motion and muscular activities. It is an important form of mobility for many people with lower limb disabilities who depend upon their upper body to provide means of locomotion for completion of their activities of daily living. As a result of greater than normal usage of the upper limbs, shoulder and wrist pain and pathology are common among manual wheelchair users. This study provides a biomechanical analysis of the manual wheelchair mobility in control subjects during their functional activities of daily living. Non-experienced wheelchair users were recruited per this study for their feature of novice as they could determine their own self-selected speed and pattern of propulsion and to limit any variability that would be existed by a study group with multiple inter-individual differences. In the context of manual wheelchair propulsion, biomechanics of upper body involves the study of how a manual wheelchair user imparts power to the wheels to achieve mobility. In general, the primary goal of biomechanical analysis of manual wheelchair propulsion is to generate knowledge that can be used to improve performance and/or prevent injuries. The main objectives of this study were to investigate the impact of trunk and upper limb biomechanics associated with diverse wheelchair configurations in terms of adjusting vertical displacement (seat-to-floor height) and horizontal displacement (rear wheel axle position). A marker-based 3D motion analysis technique was used with more recently to the six degrees of freedom (6DOF) analysis, as an integrated feature in the software that was used to collect the motion capture data (Qualisys Track Manager, QTM, Qualisys, Sweden). Three-dimensional kinematics of trunk and upper limb joints were investigated during physiological range of motion (ROM), activities of daily living (ADL), and functional wheelchair mobility that includes starting up from the rest, propulsion and stopping a wheelchair during manual propulsion ii The contribution of the shoulder complex muscles was investigated through the analysis of the surface electromyographic (sEMG) patterns of six stabilising muscles activity during physiological range of motion, activities of daily living and functional wheelchair mobility. Also, the interrelationship between the users’ anthropometric characteristics and the biomechanics of their upper body were investigated in terms of kinematics, surface electromyography and spatiotemporal parameters during manual wheelchair propulsion. This study showed an interrelationship between diverse wheelchair configurations of adjustable wheelchair rear wheel axle position and seat height and upper body kinematic behaviour, muscles recruitment and spatiotemporal patterns during manual wheelchair mobility. It was observed that changing rear wheel axle position posteriorly and raising the seat-to-floor distance (i.e. raising the seat height position) are correlated with higher upper body kinematics and release phase muscle activities and lower pushing patterns and push muscle activities during functional wheelchair mobility and so could be linked with higher risk of musculoskeletal disorders. As the number of manual wheelchair users is developing around the world, it becomes very essential to increase the understanding of the biomechanics of upper body to enhance the performance and decrease the risk of injury. It is hoped that this knowledge will help both manufacturers and clinicians when designing and prescribing wheelchairs that are more proper to the users' functional features, needs and expectations, accordingly profiting users' independence and quality of life.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available