Kids school bags

On a daily basis, your child may lug more than five kilograms to and from school in their backpack. This concerns our practice as there is a connection between loads carried and reports of unhealthy spinal symptoms including lower back, shoulder and neck pain. By getting your child to see one of our physiotherapists for a check up, we can determine whether your child’s spine is not at risk of injury and suggest actions such as flexibility and muscle control to help maximise their spine’s health. To keep your child’s spine in good health use the following tips in addition to speaking to one of our physiotherapists. Tip 1 Choose the right backpack that … Fits the body comfortably Doesn’t extend above the shoulders when seated Has shoulder straps that are broad, well padded and adjustable Has straps attached to the top of the pack at separate points Has a waist strap to keep the load in place when moving Has separate compartments to allow heavy items to be packed close to the body Is padded where it touches the back and made of firm material to prevent the load from sagging backwards. Tip 2 Pack smart Lighten loads – don’t let your child carry too many heavy books on the same day Plan ahead – to avoid your child carrying lots of equipment at the same time, like sports gear, musical instruments or art materials Pack the heaviest items – such as a lap top – closest to the body and the lighter, softer items further out. Tip 3 Carry smart When packed, make sure the backpack doesn’t sag or pull backwards Insist your child uses both shoulder straps when wearing the backpack Ensure the backpack’s waist strap is used to keep the load in place when your child is walking or cycling Don’t let your child carry the backpack for too long – advise them to take breaks and put it down.

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Knock knees, flat feet, fallen arches – Should I be concerned about these with my child?

As children grow from babies through toddlers, young children, the dreaded teens and finally to adults they go through many growth stages. During different stages of growth their body is placed under varying stresses. There are a number of factors or biomechanical issues that are good to have checked out by a physio to help ensure your children stay pain and injury free.

Babies-toddlers: during this stage there are a number of milestones which are most often the largest concern. These include the recommended time to sit, crawl, walk and develop higher functions likes socialising and language. It is important to realise that all children develop at differing rates, and some may bottom shuffle instead of crawling or skip it altogether and go straight to walking. If you have concerns at this stage speak with your GP/paediatric nurse or physio. Odds are your child just has quite reached that stage yet.

Toddler-young children: during this stage changes in the alignment of the lower limb and growth spurts can result in a variety of problems. Many children will often suffer ‘growing pains’, flat feet, knock or bowed knees and clumsiness with sport and running. If you notice any of these it is important to have them checked to ensure that growing pains are not muscle/tendon injuries and that foot issues are within normal limits. Unchecked these can go on to generate further problems.

Teens: Once again an important area due to massive growth spurts and changes to the general structure of their body as puberty takes hold. It is also at this stage that we often see dramatic increases in the duration and intensity of activity.

Common problems during this stage for girls include frontal knee pain, ankle sprains, calf tears and shin splints.

For boys common issues include shoulder instabilities, sprained ankles and knees, tendon attachment inflammation (Osgood-schlatters etc) and shin splints.

During the school term between work, sports and after school events it can be hard to find time to get these niggling injuries or pains checked but it is important that these issues are sorted out SOONER rather than later and that the appropriate treatment and rehab programmes can be started.

For a Free assessment voucher or quick chat to see if your child is appropriate for a full assessment give us a call on 5761860 or email buretaphysio@xtra.co.nz for more information.