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UBC Theses and Dissertations

The effects of camber on energy cost in the experienced and inexperienced wheelchair user Perdios, Angeliki


Background: Wheelchair camber is the inclination of the rear wheels from vertical when viewed from the front. The proven benefits of rear-wheel camber are varied. In terms of energy cost and manoeuvrability, camber may appear to influence wheeling efficiency to a large extent. The few studies that have examined the energy cost of camber during wheeling have had differing results with most studies reporting an improvement in wheeling efficiency and overall ease of mobility. To date, this is the only study that has examined the effects of rear-wheel camber on energy cost in the experienced disabled individual during over ground steady state wheeling. Purpose: The purpose is to determine if there is a difference in energy cost between 0⁰, 3⁰ and 6⁰ of camber in disabled experienced wheelchair users during over ground wheeling. A secondary purpose was to determine if these differences were consistent across all three groups. Method: Three groups of subjects were examined: experienced disabled wheelchair users (T6 lesion and below) (DIS), able-bodied individuals with experience at manual wheeling (EXP), and able-bodied individuals with no experience at manual wheeling (IN). Subjects were tested using 0⁰, 3⁰ and 6⁰ of camber during steady state manual wheeling in slalom over a smooth hard surface. Data on heart rate, rating of perceived exertion (RPE), the visual analog scale for comfort (VAS) and a user preference questionnaire were collected for subjects in all three groups. Expired gas analysis and heart rate variability (HRV) were also collected for the DIS group Results: No significant difference in measures of energy cost, RPE, or VAS was shown for camber angle or group. Six degrees of camber emerged as the angle most preferred in terms of stability on a side-slope, hand comfort on the pushrim, manoeuvrability and overall preference. Discussion: All subjects, regardless of wheeling ability or injury status, showed no physiological preference for either 0⁰, 3⁰ and 6⁰ of camber. Specific questions about camber and stability, comfort and manoeuvrability showed there was a preference for 6⁰ of camber across all groups.

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