This Education in Motion resource is also available as a printable PDF.
Before a wheelchair user starts using a manual wheelchair, these key points of rear wheel position should be considered. It is essential for wheelchairs to be set up correctly and for wheelchair users to learn proper propulsion techniques. This makes manual propulsion easy - and minimizes the risk of injury.
Wheelchair users ideally should be seated so that the tip of the middle finger can reach the center of the hub when the upper extremity is in a relaxed position. For most end-users, this will help to ensure that 70-80% of the user's weight is over the rear wheels. It is important to note, however, that each wheelchair set up should be as individual as each wheelchair user and take into account each person's center of mass. Having 70-80% of the user's mass over the rear wheels has a positive impact on:
Propulsion is broken down into two phases: the push phase and the recovery phase. The push phase refers to the time that the user's hand is physically pushing the chair, while the recovery phase (also known as the rest phase) is when the hand is waiting to make contact with the handrim again.
Ideally, the push phase duration = the recovery phase duration
Longer strokes = fewer strokes = less force = less chance of injury
Just like anything we do in life, the ideal push requires education followed by practice! The use of video feedback is a great way for the user to review their propelling technique and to help them implement longer and fewer strokes!
DISCLAIMER: FOR PROFESSIONAL USE ONLY. THIS WEBSITE (AND THE DOCUMENTS REFERENCED HEREIN) DO NOT PROVIDE MEDICAL ADVICE. Sunrise Medical (CA) LLC ("Sunrise") does not provide clinician services. The information contained on this website (and the documents referenced herein), including, but not limited to, the text, graphics, images, and descriptions, are for informational purposes only and should be utilized as a general resource for clinicians and suppliers to then use clinical reasoning skills to determine optimal seating and mobility solutions for individual patients. No material on this website (or any document referenced herein) is intended to be used as (or a substitute for) professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Never disregard your professional medical training when providing medical advice or treatment because of something you have read on this website (or any document referenced herein). Clinicians should review this (and any other materials) carefully and confirm information contained herein with other sources. Reliance on this website (and the information contained herein) is solely at your own risk.
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