Backpacks are a practical way for people to carry books and other supplies. They are designed to distribute the weight of these items among the body’s muscles, says the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons. But when used incorrectly, backpacks can harm muscles and joints.
To prevent injury when using a backpack, the academy suggests:
- Always use both shoulder straps.
- Tighten the straps to keep the load closer to the back.
- Organize items so that heavy things are low and toward the bag’s center.
- Only carry items that are required for the day.
- Lift properly by bending at the knees when picking up a backpack.
- Consider using a crossbody bag as an alternative.