Center of Gravity: What does it really mean?


Date: 2/23/22

Speaker: Christie Hamstra, PT, DPT, ATP

Beginner Level, Seating and Positioning, ATP/SMS Prep Content

Sponsored by Motion Composites


What does center of gravity really refer to and how does it impact the function of a manual wheelchair? We will review evidence related to COG selection, adjustment, and optimal manual wheelchair performance, and discuss the clinical significance in optimizing functional performance. We will define COG as it relates to wheelchair configuration and also to the person in the chair, examine the impact of changes in COG and discuss clinical rationale and treatment approaches to maximize function, safety and maintain upper extremity health for manual wheelchair users. Case reports and practical examples will be reviewed.

Christie is a Clinical Education Specialist with Motion Composites and has experience as both a Physical Therapist in seating clinic and ATP as a supplier in seating and mobility and wheelchair prescriptions. Christie received her Master of Science in Physical Therapy from Andrews University, and a transitional Doctor of Physical Therapy from Oakland University, and yearly teaches complex rehab technology to current students. As Christie has worked in many settings, she enjoys sharing her expertise and passion with fellow clinicians. Christie has provided education in multiple areas of the United States and Canada and has presented at The European Seating Symposium.

Learning Outcomes:

Participants will be able to identify the optimal rear wheel position of a manual wheelchair relative to the client’s upper extremity static position.

Participants will be able to describe any three manual wheelchair configuration changes that may impact center of gravity.

Participants will be able to describe three education requirements for clients and caregivers related to wheelchair skills and center of gravity.