Orthopaedic injuries can happen to anyone at any age. However, they are very much common among young athletes. Parents and grandparents with your children back to school, it’s important to focus on healthy practices to minimize the risk of injuries.

Healthy practices that can be very useful:

• Maintaining a healthy weight
Weight gain can be a significant contributor to orthopedic strain and injuries. A diet high in processed food, a sedentary lifestyle, and insufficient sleep can all contribute to weight gain.

You don’t have to spend a ton of time in the kitchen or in the gym to maintain a healthy lifestyle.

The key to healthy eating is to make sure you have a good source of lean protein, fiber, carbohydrates, and healthy fats. What’s more important is that you make sure that your children are moving all throughout the day. If they are stuck for hours at a desk working on homework, set a timer every 15 minutes or so as a reminder to get up, walk around, and do some stretches. That alone can make a difference.

• Choose comfortable and good-fitting shoes
Fashion is important to many children and teens, but if the aesthetically pleasing shoes are giving them unnecessary stress and strain on their knees and back, then forget it! Help your young ones make the smart choice when it comes to the right shoes.

A wrong pair of shoes can make you more prone to injuries such as falls, slips, and rolled ankles.

• Distribute the load on your back
Books can be so heavy. When carrying them in a bag, remind your young ones that it would be smart to make sure the weight is distributed evenly so as to avoid pain and injuries.

Slinging the bag on one side or carrying books in a traditional book bag can lead to unnecessary strain on the shoulders and neck.

If using wheeled bags isn’t an option, then help your young one find a backpack and ensure that he or she wears the backpack straps on both shoulders.

• Observe proper posture
Children and teens need to be reminded of many things, and avoiding slouching is just one of the things they may forget to do.

Slouching or hunching over is one of the biggest contributors to shoulder pain and neck strain. Remind them to work on improving their posture, it will save them from long-term pain and problems in the future.

You may also want to look into the ergonomics of your workstation. You would want to make sure that it’s not straining your neck, shoulders, and back.

Parents, a pediatric orthopaedic specialist can look into your child’s injury or questionable pain and recommend appropriate treatment options.

South Florida Orthopedics & Sports Medicine has a dedicated pediatric orthopaedic surgeon, Dr. Mark Moran who is committed to improving your young ones’ musculoskeletal health. Learn more about Dr. Moran by visiting his page. For appointments, please call (772) 288-2400.