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When students carry too much weight in their backpacks, several orthopedic-related injuries may occur. With this in mind, here are a few tips from Orthopedic Associates of Port Huron to consider throughout the school year:

Carry it properly. Use the straps on both shoulders to balance the load, and avoid using just one strap, which places all of the pressure on one shoulder. Consider using the waist strap if available, which helps direct the load to the stronger waist and hip muscle groups.

Don’t overload it. Over time, too much weight can cause significant stress on yourshoulders and back. Overloaded backpacks can cause small children to lose their balance, fall, and injure themselves. A good rule of thumb is to keep your backpack at 10 percent or less of your body weight.

Don’t ignore pain. Children’s complaints about back pain are often mistaken for growing pains. Carrying a heavy backpack incorrectly can cause or contribute to muscle strains and even scoliosis. Parents, seek medical attention if your child complains about recurring pain.

Carry your books. If you need to take a lot of books to class, carry a book or two in your arms to alleviate the load and disperse the weight.

“Be cautious lifting your backpack. As with any heavy object, use your legs and keep your back straight when lifting your backpack over your shoulders,” says Dr. Scott M. Kowalski, physical medicine and rehabilitation specialist at Orthopedic Associates of Port Huron. “Parents should also help small children, especially if they are carrying heavier bags.”

To consult with one of our doctors at Orthopedic Associates of Port Huron, please call (810) 985-4900 or click on the Appointment Request button.