Wheelchair martial arts practitioners have similar bone strength, sitting balance and self-esteem to healthy individuals

S.S. Fong, Sheung Mei Shamay Ng, A.O. Li, Xia Guo

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic research


Objective: The aim of this study was to compare the radial bone strength, sitting balance ability and global self-esteem of wheelchair martial arts practitioners and healthy control participants.||Design: Cross-sectional study.||Methods: Nine wheelchair martial art practitioners with physical disabilities and 28 able-bodied healthy individuals participated in the study. The bone strength of the distal radius was assessed using the Sunlight Mini-Omni Ultrasound Bone Sonometer; sitting balance was quantified using the modified functional reach test (with reference to a scale marked on the wall); and the self-administered Rosenberg self-esteem (RSE) scale was used to measure the global self-esteem of the participants. The velocity of the ultrasound wave (speed of sound, m/s) traveling through the outer surface of the radial bone was measured and was then converted into a T-score and a Z-score. These ultrasound T-score and Z-score that represent bone strength; the maximum forward reaching distance in sitting (cm) that represents sitting balance; and the RSE total self-esteem score that indicates global self-esteem were used for analysis.||Results: The results revealed that there were no statistically significant between-group differences for radial bone-strength, maximum forward reaching distance, or self-esteem outcomes.||Conclusions: The wheelchair martial arts practitioners had similar radial bone strength, sitting balance performance and self-esteem to able-bodied healthy persons. Our results imply that wheelchair martial arts might improve bone strength, postural control and self-esteem in adult wheelchair users. This new sport−wheelchair martial arts−might be an exercise option for people with physical disabilities.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)27-32
Number of pages6
JournalPhysical therapy rehabilitation science
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2014


  • Health
  • Martial arts
  • Self concept
  • Sports for persons with disabilities


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