NYC doctors: Heavy bags can cause damage when carried improperly—August 22, 2013

From Paris Hilton’s fashionable bags that are big enough to tote around her dog, to the over-sized satchels seen on the Kardashian girls, posh purses are plumping up.

However, filling these fancy clutches to the top can turn a fashion statement into a health hazard.

According to Dr. Sabrina Strickland, board-certified in sports medicine and orthopedic surgery at Hospital for Special Surgery in New York City where she treats orthopedic conditions of the shoulder, knee and elbow, when it comes to carrying personal possessions, one should always aim for symmetry.

“If you have to shrug your shoulder, or lean away from the bag, you’re putting more strain on your neck and the muscles that surround your shoulders,” Strickland said.

One way to protect your neck, shoulders and back is to balance the weight.

“Put both backpack straps on your shoulders, or, if you have a lot of heavy stuff, divide it into two bags and carry one in each hand,” she said. “That way, you’ll walk more straight.”

Strickland said it’s also dangerous to carry a small handbag in the crook of your elbow.

“It’s bad to keep your arm in one position,” she said. “There’s never a work out where you keep your elbow in a bent position. It puts too much strain on the elbow. It’s better to put it into a more natural position.”

The best solution for avoiding neck and shoulder pain from a heavy bag is to lighten the load.

“Big bags are for style, not for carrying stuff,” Strickland said.

But if it has to be a large bag, Strickland said to simply “not fill it.”

This article originally appeared at


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