Effects of Different Backpacks, Weight and Location on Static and Dynamic Stability in Children

N.R. Talbott, A. Bhattacharya, and K. Davis (USA)


postural stability, balance


Students who carry backpacks often describe falls and feelings of falling while wearing the backpack. These sensations of instability may be related to biomechanical changes associated with the type of backpack worn or the placement of the backpack on the spine. The purpose of this study was to determine if measures of stability change with different types of backpacks and with backpacks placed on different locations on the spine. Forty full time students participated in the study. Utilizing a six camera motion analysis system with a strain gauge force plate, data was recorded while standing and while performing a dynamic task as the type of backpack, the location of the backpack and the load in the backpack were varied. Sway length and sway area were calculated from the force plate measurements. Results indicated that during static and dynamic tests, sway length and sway area were significantly greater with an increase in backpack weight. The type of backpack and the location of the backpack on the back were not significant. Other factors, including the history of pain associated with backpack wear and history of backpack related falls, might be of greater importance to postural stability than the type or location of the backpack.

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