East Coast Podiatry
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Last Updated: 13 Jan 2021

Children’s Postural Issues

Does your child have poor posture?

First impressions are incredibly important. Poor posture is always noticed and remembered. You may forget a person’s clothes, words or facial features but not their posture. Telling your child to sit up straight or not to slouch is only the first step, but slouching is not always the root cause of poor posture.

Every movement, regardless of whether it is performed while lying down, sitting or standing, exerts pressure and force on the joints, ligaments, bones and muscles. This force alters the biomechanical structure of the child leading to deformity and early joint damage/wear and tear. When your body is properly aligned, the bones, not muscles support our weight, reducing overall effort and strain.

What begins as merely a visual posture imbalance can lead to spinal degeneration, muscular dysfunction patterns, and chronic pain if left uncorrected.

As a child grows in height and maturity, parents may notice that biomechanical changes occur; the gait pattern, foot shape and sitting posture may change. Differences between each side of the body occur, and it should not come as a surprise that the bones of the body do not develop symmetrically or at the same time. This is why regular check-ups and investigations into pain should be conducted, rather than being brushed aside as growing pains.

Child with back Postured

Common causes of posture imbalance can include:

  • Scoliosis
  • Muscle tightness
  • Pelvic tilt
  • Pelvic rotation
  • Leg length difference
  • Bone changes in the lower legs (osteoarthritis or osteonecrosis)
  • Stunted growth
  • Malalignment syndrome
  • Congenital deformities
  • Hypermobility
  • Flat foot
Paediatrics Spine Diagram

Proper posture is critical for a healthy adulthood

Many long-term clinical studies show postural imbalances can lead to spinal degeneration due to the extensive and persistent compression of the spinal cord, as well as a breakdown of the cartilage within the spine. Over a lifetime, degenerative spine conditions can cause physical symptoms such as neck and back pain, physical deformity or limited motion, fatigue, or nerve injuries such as sensory loss or weakness.

Paediatric Posture Hunched Back

Common postural faults among children are:

  • Carrying heavy backpacks daily
  • Sitting for prolonged periods of time at school without taking posture breaks
  • Slumping their head and shoulders forward and rounding their upper back while seated
  • Doing homework on the bed
  • Looking at a phone or handheld device for prolonged periods
  • Sleeping with one leg up or in a twisted position
  • Sitting in front of a TV or computer with a slumped posture
  • Lack of exercise

If you continue to observe postural imbalances in your child despite improvements to their posture, you should consult a healthcare professional. International guidelines indicate that children should be checked from the age of 6 for scoliosis and rotational musculoskeletal concerns. This is a baseline check that is meant to be repeated yearly in order

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