Up to 70 percent of manual wheelchair pushers develop chronic shoulder injury and pain, affecting their quality of life and reducing their ability to perform activities of daily living.
The problem with push-wheeling is that it relies on just two muscles to do all the propulsion work causing them to become overused and tight, destabilizing the shoulder joint. Rowheeling distributes the propulsion work over a greater number of large muscles, resulting in less fatigue and overuse of individual muscles. Rowheeling muscles stabilize the shoulder joint and retract the scapula, improving posture and reducing the risk of Shoulder Impingement Syndrome.
One of the more immediate benefits users will experience when first using Rowheels REV wheels is an improvement in posture. The nature of the pulling motion is conducive to proper positioning of shoulders and back as it actively engages and strengthens the main back muscles that retract the scapula (shoulder blades), which minimizes the harmful effects associated with the all too common “sunken chest ” posture of wheelchair users.
"The (Rowheels) rowing motion makes wheelchair users sit up straight, allowing the diaphragm to function properly and significantly improve breathing."
-J. Justus, SCI Nurse Educator - Zablocki VA
Handrim force data showed that Rowheeling can reduce the large compressive forces present at the beginning of every pushing stroke. These forces are known to contribute to the occurrence of Carpal Tunnel Syndrome.
• Shoulder Impingement Syndrome is a condition caused by the repetitive impingement or “pinching” of the rotator cuff tendons. Over time, the rotator cuff tendons & surrounding tissue become inflamed, swollen and fraying or tearing can occur. Overuse of the chest and shoulder muscles involved in pushing a chair tend to de-stabilize the shoulder joint, putting users at a high risk for shoulder impingement.
• Results from the Rancho Los Amigos (RLA) National Rehabilitation Center clinical study comparing rowheeling and push-wheeling conclusively showed that rowheeling generates negligible (pulling up an incline) or negative (pulling on level ground) impingement forces by pulling the shoulder in the opposite direction.
"Rowheels present a unique solution to a common problem for wheelers--shoulder imbalance and damage."
THE ROWHEELS EFFECT
ROWHEELING VS PUSH-WHEELING
RANCHO LOS AMIGOS (RLA) STUDY RESULTS
TRICEPS (LONG HEAD)
Strengthen upper back and shoulder muscles neglected or underused when push wheeling. These and other muscles are actively engaged in row wheeling and play a vital role in maintaining shoulder health, proper posture and facilitating self-transfers.
• This muscle helps to pull your upper arm back. Under-used and over-stretched in push-wheeling, strengthened it helps improve your posture.
EMG data in charts are from a Rancho Los Amigos National Research Center clinical study comparing rowheeling to push-wheeling muscle activity in wheelchair users. EMG results are for inclined/graded propulsion.
The idea of minimizing "effort" in manual wheelchair propulsion has long been considered important mainly because push wheeling mechanics are bad for shoulder health. Because Rowheeling uses fundamentally different bio-mechanics, recruiting several large upper body muscles and using longer propulsion cycles (all good for your upper body), this may no longer be the case and a moderate increase in a users cardio-pulmonary output could result in long-term improvements in stamina, endurance and overall cardiovascular health.
"... reverse wheeling might reduce the morbidity from overuse syndromes that develop from conventional forward wheelchair propulsion and might also serve as a tool for increasing the function of what might otherwise be relatively underused muscles."
"...this type of movement (rowheeling) is strongly advocated for wheelchair court sport athletes training program to not only stress the cardiovascular system, but to also protect against injury by developing the antagonist muscles used during FOR (pushing) wheelchair propulsion in a sports-specific manner."
"This (Rowheeling) may substantially protect the subacromial structures from impingement to prevent injury & pain, and preserve mobility, independence, and participation for individuals living with paraplegia."
-Pathokinesiology Lab, Rancho Los Amigos Nat'l Rehab Center (2017)
% of Max Voluntary
% of Cycle
2895 COMMERCE PARK DR.
FITCHBURG, WI 53719
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THE RIGHT WAY TO ROLL.