William is a 49 y.o. male diagnosed with Frederick’s ataxia at the age of 21. He has been using a manual wheelchair for the past fourteen years. William works one day a week at Target and works out weekly at a gym performing upper body strengthening exercises. William owns two manual wheelchairs – one for in home use and the other he keeps in his car for work, recreation and travel.
The facility where William performs his exercise regime is located on the second floor and requires wheeling up a steep incline to get to the elevator. William’s chief complaint was feeling fatigued by the time he had completed travel from his car to the front door of the gym facility. “…my shoulder had gotten a work out even before I had a chance to do my exercises at the gym”. William’s only mechanical assistance on inclines was the use of “Hill Climbers”.
In the area that William lives and works, he encounters curb cut-outs on a daily basis. Most curb cut outs were too steep for him to maneuver, often times he required assistance from another person to push him up the cut out. William pursued Magic Wheels because of his interest in finding a wheel that permitted ease with inclines, reduced fatigue with long distance wheeling and did not require him to transition from a manual chair to a powered chair. Starting in March 2007, William began using Magic Wheels on one of his Quickie wheelchairs for mobility outside of the home.
William’s main form of transportation is via his car. He is happy to report that having the Magic Wheels has not impacted his ability to fold and store his wheelchair in his car.
Since the use of Magic Wheels, William has been able to wheel independently in his environment 90% of the time. His greatest surprise was the versatility of the Magic Wheels, “It doesn’t matter what incline I wheel on, the second gear works in getting me up the hill”. He feels that his effort in wheeling on the incline to the gym has been reduced by 75%. With the use of Magic Wheels, William is now able to maintain an upright posture when wheeling. He no longer requires trunk flexion to generate momentum with wheeling forward. In essence, William can maintain a posture that reflects normal spinal curves while wheeling.
Magic Wheels have reduced the energy expenditure required for William to transport to his gym permitting him to complete his general upper strengthening fitness program in entirety. Further, the reduced effort in pushing permits him to sit upright reducing the risk of potential low back pain complications and risk of falling forward from his chair.
Karen Lynn Gordes, PT, DScPT
ACCE, Assistant Professor
University of Maryland, School of Medicine
Department of Physical Therapy & Rehabilitation Science
Baltimore, MD 21201