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Rehabilitation Research and Practice
Volume 2016 (2016), Article ID 6842324, 11 pages
Research Article

Effects of Seated Postural Stability and Trunk and Upper Extremity Strength on Performance during Manual Wheelchair Propulsion Tests in Individuals with Spinal Cord Injury: An Exploratory Study

1Pathokinesiology Laboratory, Centre for Interdisciplinary Research in Rehabilitation of Greater Montreal, Institut de Réadaptation Gingras-Lindsay-de-Montréal (IRGLM), Montreal, QC, Canada H3S 2J4
2School of Rehabilitation, Université de Montréal, Montreal, QC, Canada H3C 3J7
3Toronto Rehabilitation Institute, University Health Network, Lyndhurst Centre, Toronto, ON, Canada M4G 3V9
4Department of Physical Therapy, Faculty of Medicine, University of Toronto, Toronto, ON, Canada M5G 1V7

Received 21 January 2016; Revised 17 April 2016; Accepted 23 June 2016

Academic Editor: Stephen Sprigle

Copyright © 2016 Dany H. 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.


Objectives. To quantify the association between performance-based manual wheelchair propulsion tests (20 m propulsion test, slalom test, and 6 min propulsion test), trunk and upper extremity (U/E) strength, and seated reaching capability and to establish which ones of these variables best predict performance at these tests. Methods. 15 individuals with a spinal cord injury (SCI) performed the three wheelchair propulsion tests prior to discharge from inpatient SCI rehabilitation. Trunk and U/E strength and seated reaching capability with unilateral hand support were also measured. Bivariate correlation and multiple linear regression analyses allowed determining the best determinants and predictors, respectively. Results. The performance at the three tests was moderately or strongly correlated with anterior and lateral flexion trunk strength, anterior seated reaching distance, and the shoulder, elbow, and handgrip strength measures. Shoulder adductor strength-weakest side explained 53% of the variance on the 20-meter propulsion test-maximum velocity. Shoulder adductor strength-strongest side and forward seated reaching distance explained 71% of the variance on the slalom test. Handgrip strength explained 52% of the variance on the 6-minute propulsion test. Conclusion. Performance at the manual wheelchair propulsion tests is explained by a combination of factors that should be considered in rehabilitation.