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Biomechanical model for evaluation of pediatric upper extremity joint dynamics during wheelchair mobility. J Biomech 2014 Jan 03;47(1):269-76 PMID: 24309622 PMCID: PMC4106158

Pubmed ID



Pediatric manual wheelchair users (MWU) require high joint demands on their upper extremity (UE) during wheelchair mobility, leading them to be at risk of developing pain and pathology. Studies have examined UE biomechanics during wheelchair mobility in the adult population; however, current methods for evaluating UE joint dynamics of pediatric MWU are limited. An inverse dynamics model is proposed to characterize three-dimensional UE joint kinematics and kinetics during pediatric wheelchair mobility using a SmartWheel instrumented handrim system. The bilateral model comprises thorax, clavicle, scapula, upper arm, forearm, and hand segments and includes the sternoclavicular, acromioclavicular, glenohumeral, elbow and wrist joints. A single 17 year-old male with a C7 spinal cord injury (SCI) was evaluated while propelling his wheelchair across a 15-meter walkway. The subject exhibited wrist extension angles up to 60°, large elbow ranges of motion and peak glenohumeral joint forces up to 10% body weight. Statistically significant asymmetry of the wrist, elbow, glenohumeral and acromioclavicular joints was detected by the model. As demonstrated, the custom bilateral UE pediatric model may provide considerable quantitative insight into UE joint dynamics to improve wheelchair prescription, training, rehabilitation and long-term care of children with orthopedic disabilities. Further research is warranted to evaluate pediatric wheelchair mobility in a larger population of children with SCI to investigate correlations to pain, function and transitional changes to adulthood.

Author List

Schnorenberg AJ, Slavens BA, Wang M, Vogel LC, Smith PA, Harris GF


Gerald Harris PhD Director in the Orthopaedic Research Engineering Center (OREC) department at Marquette University
Brooke Slavens BS,MS,PhD Assistant Professor in the Occupational Science & Technology department at University of Wisconsin - Milwaukee
Mei Wang PhD Associate Professor in the Orthopaedic Surgery department at Medical College of Wisconsin


2-s2.0-84890855724   12 Citations

MESH terms used to index this publication - Major topics in bold

Biomechanical Phenomena
Elbow Joint
Models, Anatomic
Shoulder Joint
Spinal Cord Injuries
Upper Extremity
Wrist Joint
jenkins-FCD Prod-300 626508253d14e4184314fb9f66322a03a5906796