Tamara A. Topoleski, M.D.

As your child heads back to school in Orlando this August, it’s important to take a few precautions to help reduce the risk of an unnecessary orthopaedic injury. Remembering these simple tips from Tamara A. Topoleski, M.D., a pediatric orthopaedic specialist at Orlando Orthopaedic Center can keep your future scholar healthy throughout the year, while also preventing future bone growth complications.

Backpack Safety

Is your child’s backpack too heavy? Odds are if you think it may be, it probably is. Did you know, according to the Consumer Product Safety Commission, injuries from heavy backpacks result in more than 7,000 emergency room visits per year?

A heavy backpack puts unnecessary strain on your child’s back, which can result in temporary back pain or a permanent injury. See what your child is carrying to school and remove any unnecessary items like toys or things from home that can be weighing down their load.

Ortho Tip: It is suggested that a student’s backpack weigh no more than 15 percent of their body weight.


Properly Fitting Shoes

When choosing that cool new pair of back-to-school shoes, remember one rule: you should not sacrifice comfort and support for the style.

orthopaedic injuries

Choosing the right pair of shoes is critical to avoiding foot and ankle injuries at school.

Not only should shoes fit well, but they should also provide your child’s feet with proper support.

Poorly fitting shoes can cause toe problems, calluses, hammertoes, ingrown toenails, bunions and improper bone growth in the foot. The wrong shoe not only affects their foot, but it can also be detrimental to their developing ankles, lower legs, hips, and spine.

Ortho Tip: If new shoes need to be “broken in,” it means either they were not properly designed or not properly fitted for your child’s feet.

Good Posture

We have all been told to “sit up straight,” and for good reason! Good posture has several benefits including a reduced chance of back and neck pain, less wear on the bones, and more efficient use of muscles.

Good posture also allows your child’s weight to be evenly distributed throughout the whole body so that none of the joints are stressed more than others – which can help prevent your child from developing arthritis.

Once your little one develops consistently good posture, their muscles will not be strained as much throughout the day, meaning their body will use less energy and they will be less fatigued when they get home from school.

Consider encouraging them to use that extra energy to engage in some physical activity before supper and complete their homework.

Ortho Tip: When teaching good posture, make sure to tell your child to keep their shoulders held back and relaxed. This helps force the spine into a straighter line. Remember also to have them pull in the abdomen, straightening the torso.