Scapular kinematics during manual wheelchair propulsion in able-bodied participants

Michel J. Bekker, Riemer J.K. Vegter, Jan W. van der Scheer, Johanneke Hartog, Sonja de Groot, Wiebe de Vries, Ursina Arnet, Lucas H.V. van der Woude, Dirkjan (.H.E.J) Veeger

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review


Background: Altered scapular kinematics have been associated with shoulder pain and functional limitations. To understand kinematics in persons with spinal cord injury during manual handrim wheelchair propulsion, a description of normal scapular behaviour in able-bodied persons during this specific task is a prerequisite for accurate interpretation. The primary aim of this study is to describe scapular kinematics in able-bodied persons during manual wheelchair propulsion. Methods: Sixteen able-bodied, novice wheelchair users without shoulder complaints participated in the study. Kinematic and kinetic data were collected during a standardized pose in the anatomic posture, frontal-plane arm elevation and low-intensity steady-state handrim wheelchair propulsion and upper-body Euler angles were calculated. Findings: Scapulothoracic joint orientations in a static position were 36.7° (SD 5.4°), 6.4° (SD 9.1°) and 9.1° (SD 5.7°) for respectively protraction, lateral rotation and anterior tilt. At 80° of arm elevation in the frontal plane, the respective values of 33.4° (SD 8.0°), 23.9° (SD 5.4°) and 4.1° (SD 11.3°) were found. During the push phase of manual wheelchair propulsion, the mean scapular rotations were respectively 32.7° (SD 7.1°), 7.1° (SD 9.2°) and 9.8° (SD 8.3°). Interpretation: The orientation of the scapula in a static pose, during arm elevation and in manual wheelchair propulsion in able-bodied participants showed similar patterns to a previous study in persons with para- and tetraplegia. These values provide a reference for the investigation of the scapular movement pattern in wheelchair-dependent persons and its relation to shoulder complex abnormalities.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)54-61
JournalClinical Biomechanics
Publication statusPublished - 2018


  • Biomechanics
  • Manual wheelchair propulsion
  • Scapular kinematics

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