Pediatrics

School Bag

By PSSM Staff

This blog is going to address carrying a heavy schoolbag, but really the information can be carried to carrying a heavy bag in general.

Carrying a heavy schoolbag can lead to many issues in children, specifically when it comes to the musculoskeletal system. If your child tends to wear her schoolbag to one side, then the bag is putting too much pressure on one side of the body causing a tilting of the spine.

Any outside weight added to the body causes our balance to change. This means that our bodies will automatically make corrections to our posture, so we do not end up falling over. These corrections may seem to be beneficial for remaining standing, but they are not beneficial for our musculoskeletal system.

Down the center of the back is the spine. The spine consists of vertebrae, or bones stacked on top of each other; it’s here where muscles and ligaments attach to cause movement. The spine also has disks in between each bone that help provide cushioning. A heavy schoolbag puts stress on the spine and all of the bone, muscles, ligaments, tendons, and even disks!

Imagine how a heavy schoolbag can put children at risk while their bones, muscle, ligaments, and bodies are still developing.

It is beneficial to ask your child if they are having any shoulder, neck, or back pain. Ask your child if they feel numbness, tingling, or weakness in their hands.

In the long term, the child could end up with a “hump back” also known as kyphosis.

Here is what you should look out for while buying a schoolbag.

  • Buy a sturdy, bag with wide, padded shoulder straps. This will help reduce pressure on the neck and shoulder area.
  • Buy a bag with adjustable straps which can be altered as the child grows.
  • Check your child’s posture after she has put the bag on. If you notice your child leaning forward or slouching, check if the bag is too heavy or if it has been packed incorrectly.
  • Make sure your child is only carrying the items they need for school that day – remove any unnecessary books and equipment.

Spring and Summer Season Injuries and Conditions

By Adam Jellison

Are you someone who tends to be more active when the weather gets warmer?  Well, you’re not alone, especially after the winter that we’ve had here in the Mid-Atlantic.  And between the summer time sports mishaps and the sandals snafus, this heavily anticipated change in weather is the time when we tend to see large increases in orthopedic injuries.

The majority of individuals attempt to go from being completely sedentary over the winter months to no holds barred, full throttle spring and summer activities.  This trend has all the makings of accident or injury.

Spring and summer season injuries and conditions can arise from an array of different traumas or repetitive activities.  List below are several examples:

  • Ankle sprain and knee tendonitis or cartilage/meniscus injury due multiple reasons, from twisting the foot or leg, falling, sports injuries and even wearing unstable footwear such as flip-flops or clogs.
  • Plantar fasciitis and stress fractures of the foot from high-impact activities like jumping, track, basketball, etc;  all while wearing improper and/or unsupportive footwear.
  • Golfer’s and tennis elbow, which are repetitive-stressor based activities.
  • Shoulder tendinopathy due to overuse while completing household activities such as gardening, mulching, painting, digging, hammering, etc.
  • Wrist, arm and shoulder fractures from various falls.

If you or your loved ones do end up taking a fall or experiencing pain after a warm weather activity, I suggest you do the following:

  1. Immediately stop the provoking activity, and do not attempt to play or work through the pain.
  2. Follow protocols consistent with the pneumonic PRICE – “protection, rest, ice, compression, elevation.”
  3. If 36-48 hours pass and the pain has not improved, schedule a visit to see a physician.

There are several specific warning signs that are good indicators that you may need immediate care – obvious deformity, joint instability, decreased range of motion and persistent joint swelling.

With all of this in mind, hop off of the couch and start enjoying this nice weather.  It is long overdue!