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Evaluation of selected sidewalk pavement surfaces for vibration experienced by users of manual and powered wheelchairs.
J Spinal Cord Med. 2004; 27(5):468-75.JS

Abstract

BACKGROUND

Obstacles such as bumps, curb descents, and uneven driving surfaces cause vibrations that affect the wheelchair, and in turn, the wheelchair user. Chronic exposure can cause low-back pain, disk degeneration, and other harmful effects. Little research has been conducted to assess the vibrations experienced by wheelchair users.

OBJECTIVE

The purpose of this study was to conduct an evaluation of the vibration exposure during electric-powered wheelchair driving and mechanical energy requirements for manual wheelchair propulsion over selected sidewalk surfaces. The goal was to determine the criteria for a wheelchair-pedestrian access route that does not require excessive propulsive work or expose wheelchair users to potentially harmful vibrations.

METHODS

Ten unimpaired individuals participated in this study. Six sidewalk surfaces were tested. Measured variables included power of the acceleration per octave, mechanical work to propel over surfaces, peak acceleration, and frequency at which peak acceleration occurs.

RESULTS

For both the manual and electric-powered wheelchair, at 1 m/s, significant differences were found in peak accelerations between the seat and footrest (P < 0.0001) and between the sidewalk surfaces (P = 0.004). The greatest risk for injury caused by shock and vibration exposure occurs at frequencies near the natural frequency of seated humans (4-15 Hz). The values for work required to propel over the surfaces tested were not statistically significantly different. Besides appearance and construction, the only distinguishing characteristic was surface roughness caused by the joints.

CONCLUSION

When treating the poured concrete sidewalk as the standard, surfaces 2, 3, 5, and 6 compared most favorably in terms of vibration exposure, whereas surface 4 produced mixed results. Surfaces 2, 3, 5, and 6 yielded results that were similar to the poured concrete sidewalk and could be considered acceptable for wheelchair users. In conclusion, surfaces other than the traditional poured concrete can be used for pedestrian access routes without adding vibration exposure or reducing propulsion efficiency.

Authors+Show Affiliations

Department of Rehabilitation Science and Technology, University of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA. rcooper+@pitt.eduNo affiliation info availableNo affiliation info availableNo affiliation info availableNo affiliation info availableNo affiliation info availableNo affiliation info available

Pub Type(s)

Comparative Study
Journal Article
Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.

Language

eng

PubMed ID

15648802

Citation

Cooper, Rory A., et al. "Evaluation of Selected Sidewalk Pavement Surfaces for Vibration Experienced By Users of Manual and Powered Wheelchairs." The Journal of Spinal Cord Medicine, vol. 27, no. 5, 2004, pp. 468-75.
Cooper RA, Wolf E, Fitzgerald SG, et al. Evaluation of selected sidewalk pavement surfaces for vibration experienced by users of manual and powered wheelchairs. J Spinal Cord Med. 2004;27(5):468-75.
Cooper, R. A., Wolf, E., Fitzgerald, S. G., Kellerher, A., Ammer, W., Boninger, M. L., & Cooper, R. (2004). Evaluation of selected sidewalk pavement surfaces for vibration experienced by users of manual and powered wheelchairs. The Journal of Spinal Cord Medicine, 27(5), 468-75.
Cooper RA, et al. Evaluation of Selected Sidewalk Pavement Surfaces for Vibration Experienced By Users of Manual and Powered Wheelchairs. J Spinal Cord Med. 2004;27(5):468-75. PubMed PMID: 15648802.
* Article titles in AMA citation format should be in sentence-case
TY - JOUR T1 - Evaluation of selected sidewalk pavement surfaces for vibration experienced by users of manual and powered wheelchairs. AU - Cooper,Rory A, AU - Wolf,Erik, AU - Fitzgerald,Shirley G, AU - Kellerher,Annmarie, AU - Ammer,William, AU - Boninger,Michael L, AU - Cooper,Rosemarie, PY - 2005/1/15/pubmed PY - 2005/3/2/medline PY - 2005/1/15/entrez SP - 468 EP - 75 JF - The journal of spinal cord medicine JO - J Spinal Cord Med VL - 27 IS - 5 N2 - BACKGROUND: Obstacles such as bumps, curb descents, and uneven driving surfaces cause vibrations that affect the wheelchair, and in turn, the wheelchair user. Chronic exposure can cause low-back pain, disk degeneration, and other harmful effects. Little research has been conducted to assess the vibrations experienced by wheelchair users. OBJECTIVE: The purpose of this study was to conduct an evaluation of the vibration exposure during electric-powered wheelchair driving and mechanical energy requirements for manual wheelchair propulsion over selected sidewalk surfaces. The goal was to determine the criteria for a wheelchair-pedestrian access route that does not require excessive propulsive work or expose wheelchair users to potentially harmful vibrations. METHODS: Ten unimpaired individuals participated in this study. Six sidewalk surfaces were tested. Measured variables included power of the acceleration per octave, mechanical work to propel over surfaces, peak acceleration, and frequency at which peak acceleration occurs. RESULTS: For both the manual and electric-powered wheelchair, at 1 m/s, significant differences were found in peak accelerations between the seat and footrest (P < 0.0001) and between the sidewalk surfaces (P = 0.004). The greatest risk for injury caused by shock and vibration exposure occurs at frequencies near the natural frequency of seated humans (4-15 Hz). The values for work required to propel over the surfaces tested were not statistically significantly different. Besides appearance and construction, the only distinguishing characteristic was surface roughness caused by the joints. CONCLUSION: When treating the poured concrete sidewalk as the standard, surfaces 2, 3, 5, and 6 compared most favorably in terms of vibration exposure, whereas surface 4 produced mixed results. Surfaces 2, 3, 5, and 6 yielded results that were similar to the poured concrete sidewalk and could be considered acceptable for wheelchair users. In conclusion, surfaces other than the traditional poured concrete can be used for pedestrian access routes without adding vibration exposure or reducing propulsion efficiency. SN - 1079-0268 UR - https://www.unboundmedicine.com/medline/citation/15648802/Evaluation_of_selected_sidewalk_pavement_surfaces_for_vibration_experienced_by_users_of_manual_and_powered_wheelchairs_ DB - PRIME DP - Unbound Medicine ER -