Context/objective: To examine personal (athletic classification, age, sex, body mass index, duration of disability, tactile sensation of lower extremities) and wheelchair (kneeling plate angle) factors associated with increased pretibial skin pressures in elite wheelchair racers. Design: Cross-sectional study. Setting: University-based laboratory in Champaign, USA. Participants: A convenience sample of elite wheelchair races with traumatic spinal cord injury and spinal disease were recruited for participation. Interventions: Interface pressure mapping was used to examine athletes’ average and peak pretibial skin pressures in their own racing wheelchairs during static and dynamic (propulsive) conditions on a dynamometer. Outcome measures: The study examined associations between personal and wheelchair factors and pressure, differences in pressure between static and dynamic conditions, and the influence of athletic classification (T53 vs. T54) on kneeling plate angle preference and skin pressure magnitudes. Results: Increased kneeling plate angle was moderately associated with dynamic pressures. T53 athletes utilized more vertical kneeling angles and experienced larger average and peak pressures during propulsion. Duration of disability was negatively associated with all measures of pressure. Overall, mean dynamic peak pressure was significantly greater than mean static peak pressure. Conclusion: This pilot study represents a first step in understanding the influence of user interface on potentially injurious skin pressures in wheelchair racers. Vertical kneeling plate configurations were associated with increased pressures while increased years with disability was associated with lower pretibial pressures. In addition, T53 athletes with less trunk function may be at a greater risk for experiencing larger interface pressures than T54 athletes.
- Pressure ulcers
- Spinal cord injuries
- Sports for persons with disabilities
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Clinical Neurology