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Manual Wheelchair Downhill Stability: An Analysis of Factors Affecting Tip Probability

Resource type
Date created
2018-11-06
Authors/Contributors
Abstract
Background For people who use manual wheelchairs, tips and falls can result in serious injuries including bone fractures, concussions, and traumatic brain injury. We aimed to characterize how wheelchair configuration changes (including on-the-fly adjustments), user variables, and usage conditions affected dynamic tip probability while rolling down a slope and contacting a small block.Methods Rigid body dynamic models of a manual wheelchair and test dummy were created using multi-body software (Madymo, TASS International, Livonia, MI), and validated with 189 experiments. Dynamic stability was assessed for a range of seat angles (0 to 20° below horizontal), backrest angles (0 to 20°), rear axle positions (0 to 20 cm from base of backrest), ground slopes (0 to 15°), bump heights (0 to 4 cm), wheelchair speeds (0 to 20 km/hr), user masses (50 to 115 kg), and user positions (0 to 10 cm from base of backrest). The tip classifications (forward tip, backward tip, rolled over bump, or stopped by bump) were investigated using a nominal logistic regression analysis.Results Faster wheelchair speeds significantly increased the probability of tipping either forward or backward rather than stopping, but also increased the probability of rolling over the bump (p < 0.001). When the rear axle was positioned forward, this increased the risk of a backward tip compared to all other outcomes (p < 0.001), but also reduced the probability of being stopped by the bump (p < 0.001 compared to forward tip, p < 0.02 compared to rolling over). Reclining the backrest reduced the probability of a forward tip compared to all other outcomes (p < 0.001), and lowering the seat increased the probability of either rolling over the bump or tipping backwards rather than tipping forward (p < 0.001). In general, the wheelchair rolled over bumps < 1.5 cm, and forwards tipping was avoided by reducing the speed to 1 km/hr.Conclusions The probability of forward tipping, corresponding to the greatest risk of injury, was significantly reduced for decreased speeds, smaller bumps, a reclined backrest, and a lower rear seat height. For wheelchairs with dynamic seating adjustability, when travelling downhill, on-the-fly adjustments to the seat or backrest can increase the likelihood of safely rolling over a bump.Background For people who use manual wheelchairs, tips and falls can result in serious injuries including bone fractures, concussions, and traumatic brain injury. We aimed to characterize how wheelchair configuration changes (including on-the-fly adjustments), user variables, and usage conditions affected dynamic tip probability while rolling down a slope and contacting a small block.Methods Rigid body dynamic models of a manual wheelchair and test dummy were created using multi-body software (Madymo, TASS International, Livonia, MI), and validated with 189 experiments. Dynamic stability was assessed for a range of seat angles (0 to 20° below horizontal), backrest angles (0 to 20°), rear axle positions (0 to 20 cm from base of backrest), ground slopes (0 to 15°), bump heights (0 to 4 cm), wheelchair speeds (0 to 20 km/hr), user masses (50 to 115 kg), and user positions (0 to 10 cm from base of backrest). The tip classifications (forward tip, backward tip, rolled over bump, or stopped by bump) were investigated using a nominal logistic regression analysis.Results Faster wheelchair speeds significantly increased the probability of tipping either forward or backward rather than stopping, but also increased the probability of rolling over the bump (p < 0.001). When the rear axle was positioned forward, this increased the risk of a backward tip compared to all other outcomes (p < 0.001), but also reduced the probability of being stopped by the bump (p < 0.001 compared to forward tip, p < 0.02 compared to rolling over). Reclining the backrest reduced the probability of a forward tip compared to all other outcomes (p < 0.001), and lowering the seat increased the probability of either rolling over the bump or tipping backwards rather than tipping forward (p < 0.001). In general, the wheelchair rolled over bumps < 1.5 cm, and forwards tipping was avoided by reducing the speed to 1 km/hr.Conclusions The probability of forward tipping, corresponding to the greatest risk of injury, was significantly reduced for decreased speeds, smaller bumps, a reclined backrest, and a lower rear seat height. For wheelchairs with dynamic seating adjustability, when travelling downhill, on-the-fly adjustments to the seat or backrest can increase the likelihood of safely rolling over a bump.
Document
Published as
Thomas, L., Borisoff, J. & Sparrey, C.J. Manual wheelchair downhill stability: an analysis of factors affecting tip probability. J NeuroEngineering Rehabil 15, 95 (2018). DOI: 10.1186/s12984-018-0450-3.
Publication title
J NeuroEngineering Rehabil
Document title
Manual Wheelchair Downhill Stability: An Analysis of Factors Affecting Tip Probability
Date
2018
Volume
15
Issue
95
Publisher DOI
10.1186/s12984-018-0450-3
Copyright statement
Copyright is held by the author(s).
Scholarly level
Peer reviewed?
Yes
Language
English
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