How to Select the Right School Bag & Shoes

With my kids going back to school this week, I was interested to read ‘How to choose the right school bag and shoes according to an expert’ which quoted some great advice from Australian Paediatric Physiotherapist Julianne Pegler.

It is a timely reminder that kids spend over 1500 hours in their school shoes, and of course we all know how much stuff they carry in their school bags too.  No wonder we are seeing more students with back pain in the clinic.

The summary from the article was really useful and so I wanted to share with you all too.

Julianne shared her best tips for choosing a back pack:

  • Choose a backpack with wide shoulder straps that sit well on the shoulder
  • Ensure waist and chest straps help transfer some of the load to the hips and pelvis
  • A padded back-support will allow the pack to fit ‘snugly’ on the back
  • Ensure the backpack fits the child; don’t buy a big pack to ‘grow’ into—the pack should not extend higher than the child’s shoulders when sitting
  • Be aware that moderately weighted backpacks are not detrimental to kids’ back health
  • Avoid swinging backpacks around

And when it comes to shoes, Julianne recommends parents follow these guidelines:

  • Make sure the shoe has a firm heel counter, which is designed to hold the foot in place. Without a firm support around the ankle, the shoe isn’t able to support the foot properly.
  • Make sure the shoe has good torsional stability. Hold both ends of the shoe and twist in opposite directions. There should be minimal movement. Torsional stability protects the foot from rolling in or out too far.
  • Make sure the shoe bends in the right place. Squeeze both ends of the shoe together; it should bend at the toes where the foot naturally bends. If it bends in the middle it can cause extra stress underneath the foot.
  • Make sure the shoe fits correctly – too much or too little space will affect comfort and potentially cause blisters or the foot to move too much within the shoe.

I hope you all find that helpful, and good luck with getting the kids back to school!

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