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.Biomed Res Int. 2015; 2015:636319.BR
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.