Biomechanics of wheelchair propulsion by able-bodied subjects

D. L. Ruggles, T. Cahalan, K. N. An

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

22 Scopus citations


The mechanical parameters of wheelchair propulsion were measured using 10 able-bodied participants. A roller system connected to a Cybex Isokinetic Machine was designed for measurement of the torque and angular displacement of the wheels during propulsion. The peak torque, angular displacement, work, and angular impulse were measured and calculated. Three types of wheelchairs, one from each of the following categories based on popularity, were evaluated: (1) lightweight, collapsible, nonadjustable Everest and Jennings Premier II (EJ); (2) lightweight, collapsible, adjustable Quickie II (Q2); and (3) lightweight, rigid-framed, adjustable Quickie GPV (Q1). Significant differences were found in certain mechanical parameters with propulsion of the three different types of wheelchairs. The work performed by each single stroke and the angular impulses are higher for the Q2 and Q1 than those of the EJ. These findings support the concept that wheelchair design and dimensions relative to the anthropometry of the user have great influence on the characteristics of wheelchair propulsion.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)540-544
Number of pages5
JournalArchives of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation
Issue number5
StatePublished - Jan 1 1994

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physical Therapy, Sports Therapy and Rehabilitation
  • Rehabilitation


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