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Manual Wheelchair Configuration and Seating Considerations in the Spinal Cord Injury Population


Purpose of Review

To assess findings of selected articles investigating the effects of wheelchair configuration, back selection, and cushion selection for the active manual wheelchair user with spinal cord injury.

Recent Findings

Manual wheelchair configuration, cushion selection, and backrest setup have far reaching impacts on the user’s health and functional ability. Pressure ulcers, orthopedic deformities, and upper extremity pain may by avoided with a thoughtfully prescribed manual wheelchair and custom configuration.


A properly configured wheelchair may prevent the development of secondary consequences of spinal cord injury, reduce overall medical costs, improve quality of life, and increase participation for manual wheelchair users living with spinal cord injury.

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Fig. 1


Papers of particular interest, published recently, have been highlighted as: • Of importance •• Of major Importance

  1. National Spinal Cord Injury Statistical Center. Facts and figures at a glance. Birmingham: University of Alabama at Birmingham; 2018.

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  27. Rehabilitation Engineering & Assistive Technology Society of North America. RESNA position on the application of ultralight manual wheelchairs. Arlington; 2012.

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Correspondence to Erin Michael.

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Human and Animal Rights and Informed Consent

This article does not contain any studies with human or animal subjects performed by any of the authors.

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This article is part of the Topical Collection on Spinal Cord Injury Rehabilitation

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Budai, M., Farrell, E. & Michael, E. Manual Wheelchair Configuration and Seating Considerations in the Spinal Cord Injury Population. Curr Phys Med Rehabil Rep 6, 204–211 (2018).

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  • Wheelchair configuration
  • Spinal cord injury
  • Manual wheelchair
  • Seating and positioning
  • Wheelchair set-up