A Comparison of Front and Rear Wheel Shock Magnitudes for Manual Tilt-in-Space Wheelchairs with and Without Suspensions

  • Molly Hischke
  • Raoul F. ReiserEmail author
Conference paper
Part of the Advances in Intelligent Systems and Computing book series (AISC, volume 818)


When encountering an obstacle, both the front and rear wheels encounter a shock that may be unhealthy to the wheelchair user. Furthermore, depending on the obstacle there may be two peaks at each wheel - one when the wheel first encounters the obstacle and one when it leaves the obstacle. Limited research reports on these multiple peak accelerations at each wheel when investigating shock and vibration exposures in wheelchair users. There is also limited information comparing the front wheel impact to those at the rear wheel. One of the few studies available suggests the front wheel incurs greater shock than the rear wheel. However, this study had the wheelchair mounted on a treadmill for one of their obstacles. Although a treadmill controls for speed, the participants were not operating the wheelchair as they would during daily use. Using an attendant propelled tilt-in-space wheelchair, the present study investigated the initial impact at the front wheel versus the rear wheel, and the final impact at the front wheel versus the rear wheel. The obstacles included a door threshold, 2 cm descent, and 2 cm ascent. Front and rear wheel un-weighted and frequency- weighted (per the ISO 2631-1 standards) peak accelerations were significantly higher depending on the obstacle the wheelchair was traversing (door threshold, 2 cm descent or 2 cm ascent).


Shock Whole-body vibrations Acceleration 


  1. Brault M (2010) Americans with disabilities. U.S. Census Bureau. Accessed 10 Dec 2016
  2. Physical and Mobility Impairments: Information and News. Disabled World. Accessed 3 Mar 2015
  3. Zimmermann CL, Cook TM, Goel VK (1993) Effects of seated posture on erector spinae EMG activity during whole body vibration. Ergonomics 36:667–675CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Bovenzi M (1996) Low back pain disorders and exposure to whole-body vibration in the workplace. Semin Perinatol 20:38–53CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Ebe K, Griffin MJ (2000) Qualitative models of seat discomfort including static and dynamic factors. Ergonomics 43:771–790CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. VanSickle DP, Cooper RA, Boninger ML, DiGiovine CP (2001) Analysis of vibrations induced during wheelchair propulsion. J Rehabil Res Dev 3:409–421Google Scholar
  7. Maeda S, Futatsuka M, Yonesaki J, Ikeda M (2003) Relationship between questionnaire survey results of vibration complaints of wheelchair users and vibration transmissibility of manual wheelchair. Environ Health Prev Med 8:82–89CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Requejo PS, Kerdanyan G, Minkel J et al (2008) Effect of rear suspension and speed on seat forces and head accelerations experienced by manual wheelchair riders with spinal cord injury. J Rehabil Res Dev 45:985–996CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Milosavljevic S, Bagheri N, Vasiljev RM et al (2011) Does daily exposure to whole-body vibration and mechanical shock relate to the prevalence of low back and neck pain in a rural workforce. Ann Occup Hyg 56:10–17Google Scholar
  10. Mansfield NJ, Mackrill J, Rimell AN, MacMull SJ (2014) Combined effects of long-term sitting and whole-body vibration on discomfort onset for vehicle occupants. ISRN Autom Eng 2014:1–8CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Bovenzi M, Schust M, Menzel G et al (2015) A cohort study of sciatic pain and measures of internal spinal load in professional drivers. Ergonomics 58:1088–1102CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. International Organization for Standardization (ISO) (1997) Mechanical vibration and shock- Evaluation of human exposure to whole-body vibration- Part 1: General requirements. ISO, GenevaGoogle Scholar
  13. Wolf EJ, Cooper RA, DiGiovine CP et al (2004) Using the absorbed power method to evaluate effectiveness of vibration absorption of selected seat cushions during manual wheelchair propulsion. Med Eng Phys 26:799–806CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Wolf EJ, Cooper RA, Pearlman J et al (2007) Longitudinal assessment of vibrations during manual and power wheelchair driving over select sidewalk surfaces. J Rehabil Res Dev 44:573–580CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Garcia-Mendenz Y, Pearlman JL, Boninger ML, Cooper RA (2013) Health risks of vibration exposure to wheelchair users in the community. J Spinal Cord Med 36:365–375CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Dicianna BE, Margaria E, Arva J, et al (2008) RESNA Position on the application of tilt, recline, and elevating legrests for wheelchairs. Assistive Technol 21:1–19Google Scholar
  17. Kwarciak AM, Cooper RA, Fitzgerald SG (2008) Curb descent testing of suspension manual wheelchairs. J Rehabil Res Dev 45:73–84CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Requejo PS, Maneekobkunwong S, McNitt-Gray J et al (2009) Influence of hand-rim wheelchairs with rear suspension on seat forces and head accelerations during curb descent landings. J Rehabil Med 41:459–466CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Wheelchair Suspension/Shock Absorption (2009). Accessed 18 May 2017
  20. Instruction Manual: QX-1L (2017). Accessed 9 Aug 2017
  21. Cooper RA, Wolf E, Fitzgerald SG et al (2003) Seat and footrest shocks and vibrations in manual wheelchairs with and without suspension. Phys. Med Rehabil 84:96–102CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Kwarciak AM (2003) Performance analysis of suspension manual wheelchairs. Master’s thesis, University of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh, PennsylvaniaGoogle Scholar
  23. Gregg MT, Derrick TR (1998, June) Wheelchair vibrations using shock-absorbing front castor forks. Frog Legs Inc. Accessed 15 Feb 2017
  24. Cooper RA (1995) Rehabilitation engineering applied to mobility and manipulation. Taylor & Francis Group, LLC, New YorkGoogle Scholar
  25. Frank AO, De Souza LH (2017) Clinical features of children and adults with a muscular dystrophy using powered indoor/outdoor wheelchairs: disease features, comorbidities and complications of disability. Disabil Rehabil 40:1–7Google Scholar
  26. Hischke M, Reiser RF (in press) Effect of rear wheel suspension on tilt-in-space wheelchair shock and vibration attenuation. Phys Med RehabilGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Colorado State UniversityFort CollinsUSA

Personalised recommendations