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BioMed Research International
Volume 2015, Article ID 636319, 15 pages
Research Article

Trunk and Shoulder Kinematic and Kinetic and Electromyographic Adaptations to Slope Increase during Motorized Treadmill Propulsion among Manual Wheelchair Users with a Spinal Cord Injury

1School of Rehabilitation, Université de Montréal, Montreal, QC, Canada H3C 3J7
2Pathokinesiology Laboratory, Centre for Interdisciplinary Research in Rehabilitation of Greater Montreal, Institut de Réadaptation Gingras-Lindsay-de-Montréal, 6300 Darlington, Montreal, QC, Canada H3S 2J4
3Department of Automated Production Engineering, École de Technologie Supérieure, Montreal, QC, Canada H3C 1K3

Received 15 May 2014; Revised 15 August 2014; Accepted 19 August 2014

Academic Editor: Dan Ding

Copyright © 2015 Dany Gagnon et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


The main objective was to quantify the effects of five different slopes on trunk and shoulder kinematics as well as shoulder kinetic and muscular demands during manual wheelchair (MWC) propulsion on a motorized treadmill. Eighteen participants with spinal cord injury propelled their MWC at a self-selected constant speed on a motorized treadmill set at different slopes (0°, 2.7°, 3.6°, 4.8°, and 7.1°). Trunk and upper limb movements were recorded with a motion analysis system. Net shoulder joint moments were computed with the forces applied to the handrims measured with an instrumented wheel. To quantify muscular demand, the electromyographic activity (EMG) of the pectoralis major (clavicular and sternal portions) and deltoid (anterior and posterior fibers) was recorded during the experimental tasks and normalized against maximum EMG values obtained during static contractions. Overall, forward trunk flexion and shoulder flexion increased as the slope became steeper, whereas shoulder flexion, adduction, and internal rotation moments along with the muscular demand also increased as the slope became steeper. The results confirm that forward trunk flexion and shoulder flexion movement amplitudes, along with shoulder mechanical and muscular demands, generally increase when the slope of the treadmill increases despite some similarities between the 2.7° to 3.6° and 3.6° to 4.8° slope increments.