Research Topic

Wheeled Mobility Biomechanics

About this Research Topic

Wheeled mobility for persons with impaired lower extremities is essential for independence and good quality of life. Over the past 40 years, there have been many improvements in the design and function of wheelchairs and seating systems that have improved the lives of those with disabilities. Yet pain, ...

Wheeled mobility for persons with impaired lower extremities is essential for independence and good quality of life. Over the past 40 years, there have been many improvements in the design and function of wheelchairs and seating systems that have improved the lives of those with disabilities. Yet pain, dysfunction, and inactivity resulting from wheelchair use are still highly prevalent among individuals who must exclusively use a wheelchair for mobility. The negative consequences associated with wheelchair use as well as activities requisite to mobility (sitting, transfers, and pressure reliefs) and activities initiated from the wheelchair (exercise, reaching, lifting) continue to challenge functional capacity and restrict participation, particularly for those long-term wheelchair users.

Repetitive mechanical load exposure is associated with overuse injury, however the causal relationships between loading patterns, neuromuscular control, and injury have not been established. Technological advances, laboratory experimentation, and clinical studies have characterized mechanical demands imposed to the upper extremities during wheeled mobility tasks performed as part of daily living. These tasks, however, are largely performed under idealized laboratory conditions and often do not reflect the demands in real world. Integration of biomechanical data collected under real world conditions with biomechanical and imaging data acquired in the laboratory over time promises to provide a means to characterize and track load exposure over time. Moreover,

Creation and application of evidence-based strategies and technologies aimed at maintaining a maximal level of independence must address multiple factors related to ergonomics and equipment selection, performance techniques, and load-bearing capability of the individual musculoskeletal system. By integrating up-to-date knowledge of the musculoskeletal system, individual’s capacity to generate and withstand external demands, preferred multijoint control strategies, and repetitive load exposure through biomechanical modeling and simulations, feasible intervention can be identified and implemented.

Purpose of the Wheeled Mobility Biomechanics Research Topic:
• To gain insights into the muscular demands and joint loading of tasks associated with wheelchair use.
• To increase the understanding of upper extremity loading consequences of specific wheelchair activities and the strategies that can optimize performance and minimize damage.
• To gain insights regarding the specific biomechanical parameters in wheeled mobility tasks that can predict and prevent the onset of pain and injury in long term wheelchair users.

We seek to aggregate and disseminate high-quality, cutting-edge research on such topics as:
• Insights into upper extremity biomechanics using musculoskeletal modeling and simulation techniques.
• Insights into load exposures under real-world conditions using wireless monitoring technologies.
• Insights into the internal structures of the upper extremities using imaging and modeling techniques.
• Biomechanical analysis of wheelchair related performance including transfers, pressure reliefs, and reaching tasks.
• Analysis of biomechanical parameters in wheeled mobility tasks that can predict the onset of pain and injury in long-term wheelchair users.
• What technological developments have preliminary evidence of effectiveness in improving wheeled mobility?
• What is the effectiveness of biofeedback training including the application of immersive media and gaming for optimizing wheeled mobility?


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