The effect of seat position on wheelchair propulsion biomechanics

Brian R. Kotajarvi, Michelle B. Sabick, Kai Nan An, Kristin D. Zhao, Kenton R. Kaufman, Jeffrey R. Basford

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

77 Scopus citations


This study examined the effect of seat position on handrim biomechanics. Thirteen experienced users propelled a wheelchair over a smooth level floor at a self-selected speed. Kinetic and temporal-distance data were collected with the use of an instrumented rim and a motion analysis system. A custom-designed axle was used to change the seat position. We used repeated measures analysis of variance to evaluate if differences existed in the temporal-distance and kinetic data with change in seat position. Results showed that a shorter distance between the axle and shoulder (low seat height) improved the push time and push angle temporal variables (p < 0.0001). Tangential force output did not change with seat position. Axial and radial forces were highest in the lowest seat position (p < 0.001). Propulsion efficiency as measured by the fraction of effective force did not significantly change with seat position.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)403-413
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Rehabilitation Research and Development
Issue number3 B
StatePublished - 2004


  • Biomechanics
  • Forces
  • Moments
  • Propulsion
  • Seat position
  • Wheelchair

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Rehabilitation


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