This is a part of the Hot Topic podcast series from the Model Systems Knowledge Translation Center on Exercise and Fitness After Spinal Cord Injury Amanda Harrington, M.D., Medical Director, discusses Strengthening and Protecting the Shoulders.

The human body was designed to walk on our legs, and our legs tend to keep us upright; and they’re designed for that wear and tear over time. People with spinal cord injuries have to put increased wear and tear on the arms, particularly those that are pushing a manual wheelchair. So you’re at higher risk for long-term shoulder, elbow, wrist dysfunction, because of years of manual wheelchair use.

So protecting the shoulders and making sure that there’s not shoulder injury is really important down the road … because if someone with a spinal cord injury ends up with a bad shoulder problem, they’re going to have significant limitations in their ability to transfer, in their ability to push a manual wheelchair, and in their ability to participate in exercise and fitness activities. We find that by strengthening the shoulders and by having a healthy strengthening program that you can better protect the shoulders over the long term.

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