Immediate Biomechanical Implications of Transfer Component Skills Training on Independent Wheelchair Transfers

Chung Ying Tsai, Michael L. Boninger, Jennifer Hastings, Rory A. Cooper, Laura Rice, Alicia M. Koontz

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Objective: To evaluate the immediate effects of transfer training based on the Transfer Assessment Instrument (TAI) on the upper limb biomechanics during transfers. Design: Pre-post intervention. Setting: Biomechanics laboratory. Participants: Full-time manual wheelchair users (N=24) performed 5 transfers to a level height bench, while their natural transfer skills were scored using the TAI, and their biomechanical data were recorded. Intervention: Participants with 2 or more component skill deficits were invited to return to receive personalized transfer training. Main Outcome Measures: TAI part 1 summary scores and biomechanical variables calculated at the shoulder, elbow, and wrist joints were compared before and immediately after transfer training. Results: Sixteen of the 24 manual wheelchair users met the criteria for training, and 11 manual wheelchair users came back for the revisit. Their TAI part 1 summary scores improved from 6.31±.98 to 9.92±.25. They had significantly smaller elbow range of motion, shoulder resultant moment, and rates of rise of elbow and wrist resultant forces on their trailing side during transfers after training (P<.05). On the leading side, shoulder maximum internal rotation and elevation angles, and shoulder resultant moments and rates of rise of shoulder resultant force and moment decreased after training (P<.04). Conclusions: The TAI-based training showed short-term beneficial biomechanical effects on wheelchair users' upper limbs, such as better shoulder positioning and lower joint loadings. If the skills are practiced longer-term, they may help protect the upper limbs from developing pain and injuries.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1785-1792
Number of pages8
JournalArchives of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation
Issue number10
StatePublished - Oct 2016


  • Activities of daily living
  • Rehabilitation
  • Shoulder pain
  • Spinal cord injuries
  • Training support
  • Wheelchairs

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physical Therapy, Sports Therapy and Rehabilitation
  • Rehabilitation


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