This is a post that I have wanted to write for a while.
I was recently chastised for having my hands in the wrong position when moving around. I would like to make it clear that it was by accident, but I do appreciate the note.
It seems like a strange thing. Why would it matter where you put your hands? Should it not be okay to have your hands anywhere as long as it is comfortable?
SURPRISE! It matters a lot. Or, it does if you want to keep your arms in use for a long time, anyway. Please, allow me to educate. I would like to add that this is all experience based, though I will be following up with people with a physio background to make sure that I don’t make egregious errors.
Imagine the wheel is the face of a clock. To propel yourself forward, your hands should be at 945-10. Why so far back? If you keep pushing from 11-1, you are not allowing the full motion of your arms to play out. You are forcing them to start part way through a natural motion and, therefore, will wear out your shoulder joint faster than if you start further back.
This is something that was mentioned to me early in my wheelchair experience, and I thought I was doing a fine job of it. However, I met with an occupational therapist the other day and she pointed out that I start my push too far forward.
Now, I was doing that in the apartment. It is hard to say that I do that when out and about, as it is easier to gain speed when pushing from further back. Having your hands closer to twelve makes it easier for small maneuvers and quick turns. This does not excuse where you have your hands. The possibility of muscle and join damage is present, anyway.
Advantages of having your hands at the right spot? As I mentioned before, speed. There is the vane advantage of improving pectoral muscles. This all does not ignore NOT NEEDING SHOULDER SURGERY!
Last happy update for a month! So, I will leave you with a warning. The next four updates are far from happy. I think the posts are important, but I realize the potential impact they can leave on a person. If you are one who has a hard time with dark ideas and depressing facts, I understand if you don’t check back in. Normal updates start back in June. If this warning has not scared you away, I hope you find the following four updates and funny as I do!