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

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-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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