Introduction.Efficient locomotion in a wheelchair is of great importance for the life quality of people with diseases that make them unable to walk, and also in many sport disciplines for the handicapped. The aim of this study was to compare the grip strength with the force of propulsion of a constrained wheelchair for different positioning of the hand on the wheel, and to observe the influence of grip strength and static propulsion force of the wheelchair on the results of a test ride on a given box-shaped path. Materials and methods. 84 healthy subjects took part in the test (52 female and 32 male), each being a Physiotherapy student of the Joseph Rusiecki Academy in Olsztyn. The grip strength measurement was conducted using a tensometric dynamometer in a sitting position. The propelling force was measured in static conditions with a dynamometer in three different hand positions on the push rim. The ability to move efficiently on a wheelchair was assessed on a “box” shaped track with measured completion times. Results. It was observed that women have lower grip strength of both hands than men and that their middle phalanx is shorter. In both groups a significant correlation was observed between grip strength and anthropometric parameters: body height, body weight, length of middle phalanx and between grip strength of the left and right hands. It has been found that grip strength is significantly correlated with the propulsion force of the wheelchair in almost all positions of the hand on the wheel. There was no significant correlation between the force generated with the left hand on the middle of the rim and the grip strength measured with a dynamometer. Men also achieved better results during the “box” test. A significant positive correlation was observed between body mass of both male and female subjects and the time of completing the “box” test. No correlation was found between the time of completing the “box” test and the propulsion force measured in constrains. Conclusions. Men achieve higher values of propulsion force than women in all cases of hand positioning on the wheel. Both men and women achieve highest values of propulsion force when positioning the hands in front of the rim. In all measured positions the average propulsion force was higher for men. In the case of healthy people who are not accustomed to using a wheelchair, the time of completing the “box” test depended mostly on their technical abilities and not their physical strength.
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