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The effect of mobility aid on the total heart beat index of paralympics athletes when traversing complex terrains

Papdosifos, N; Boampong, D; Weiler, R; Smitham, P; Tyler, N; Holloway, C; Grange, S; (2012) The effect of mobility aid on the total heart beat index of paralympics athletes when traversing complex terrains. Journal of Joint and Bone Surgery , 94-B (Supp XXXVI) 115 - 115.

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Abstract

Introduction In the US over half a million people are prescribed crutches each year. More than 750,000 wheelchair users exist in the UK and wheelchair and crutch users commonly develop shoulder pathology. The purpose of this study was to determine the influence of complex topographies on heart rate (HR) and thus energy expenditure, using a wheelchair and differing crutch designs on the exertional body stress. Method Two Paralympics Athletes from the GB amputee football squad were assessed in a Lomax Active wheelchair and 5 different types of crutches in a randomly allocated order over a course representing everyday complex terrains at the Pedestrian Accessibility and Movement Environment Laboratory (PAMELA), University College London. In addition results were compared over the same course with the athletes using their own personal pair of crutches. The PAMELA course consisted of a mixture of 4% and 2.5% cross falls (transverse) and a simulated road crossing, sprint, slalom and a slow straight. Results Initial findings show both athletes needed to work harder, thus spend more energy (13% more) to cope with the wheelchair tasks (2.6) than with the crutches(2.3). The Total Heart Beat Index (THBI) revealed that trying to ambulate with the crutches was more difficult in 4% cross fall (3.3) than on the longitudinal slopes (3.2), followed by 2.5% cross fall (2.85), slalom (2.1) and sprint (1.8). For the same tasks executed using a wheelchair the 2.5% gradient was shown to be the higher energy demanding (3.8), followed by the 4% (3.5), slopes (2.9), slalom (2.2) and sprint (2.1). Both participants reached a lower THBI (2.2) during the same task when using their own crutches. Conclusion The results of this study imply that ambulation with crutches puts less burden than wheelchair. This might be due to the time these athletes spend with crutches, either in training or activities of daily living. Furthermore, the physical strain which they underwent during the complex terrains was clearly reflected on their heart rate. The setting of longer distances to collect more consistent HR data should be the focus of further research. The comparison in performance between athletes and the general population should also be investigated.

Type:Article
Title:The effect of mobility aid on the total heart beat index of paralympics athletes when traversing complex terrains
Keywords:Paralympics, Total Heart Beat Index (THBI), Lomax active wheelchair, Crutches, Amputee
UCL classification:UCL > School of BEAMS > Faculty of Engineering Science > Civil, Environmental and Geomatic Engineering

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