5 tips for back to school injury management – A Physiotherapist’s Perspective

As children begin another school year and parents get ready to breathe a sigh of relief after the summer madness, as Physios, there are certain patterns of injury that we see at this time of year in children and adolescents that attend our clinic.

1. School bags

We get a lot of questions from worried parents wondering if their child’s heavy school bag will lead to lower back pain or neck pain. Check out our full article here which explains that the weight of the bag has little to do with onset of back pain. Rather, the child’s activity levels or fitness levels are much more important in determining whether a child experiences back pain or not.

2. Return to / Increases in activity

At this time of year, many children will either start a new sport in school or return to a sport after the summer break. Like all people, when we introduce a new activity into our routines, it is best to start slow and build up the volume and intensity in a graded pattern. This will help reduce the risk of overloading our joints, ligaments, tendons and muscles.

3. Traction Apophysitis

This is a particular issue with children in the 10–14-year-old bracket. It is at this stage of life that we grow at our fastest rate. This normally happens from about the age of 10-12 years in females and 12- 14 years in males. During this period of rapid growth, tight tendons can pull on growing bones. This can lead to pain at their interface. Osgood–Schlatters (knee) and Severs Disease (heel) are common complaints that fall into this category. These types of issues certainly need to be respected but are often easily managed through prudent load management and Physiotherapy input.

4. New shoes

A new school year equals new shoes for many. We have previously published our guide to selecting the correct shoe for your child here. One of the most important factors is getting your child’s foot measured to get a correct fit.

5. Change in routines / sleep patterns

With some starting school for the first time, others jumping from Primary to Secondary and some entering exam years, this can be a time of flux for our children. Adding this stress to an already busy sporting or extracurricular schedule can mean many are very tired in the first few weeks of school. Pacing our children through this period will help greatly in avoiding excessive fatigue and load on their bodies.

PMC Physiotherapy Dunboyne recommendation

If your child is complaining of any pain or a niggling injury, contact one of our physios at PMC Physiotherapy Dunboyne and get it checked out. We will carry out a thorough examination of your child and propose a comprehensive treatment plan to get them back to play as quickly and as safely as possible.


PMC Physiotherapy Clinic, Unit 36, Dunboyne Business Park, Dunboyne, Co Meath

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