An orthopedic surgeon warns of the risks of a heavy carry on bag and offers some tips.
Many over-50 travelers don’t realize that they may be placing themselves at risk of significant shoulder injury when they attempt to juggle heavy carry on bags into awkwardly configured overhead compartments on airplanes.
I’m as guilty as the next person. Even seasoned travelers succumb to the temptation to stuff as much as possible into hand luggage for some very practical reasons:
-Traveling with one bag is easier than traveling with two.
-It reduces the hassle of waiting for checked bags upon arrival at your destination
-It minimizes the risk of lost bags.
-Distributing weight (e.g. heavy objects, such as shoes or straightening irons) into carry on bags (which usually aren’t weighed) can help avoid extra fees for overweight checked bags.
Consultant orthopedic surgeon Simon Moyes of London Bridge Hospital reports seeing an increasing number of shoulder injuries occurring as a result of travelers trying to maneuver carry ons into tightly-packed overhead bins.
“These patients usually develop tendon injuries as they are performing movements they are not used to, with weights they are not used to,” Moyes writes in a press release. “This will produce a condition known as post traumatic impingement syndrome (a ligament tear) and/or rotator cuff tearing.
How do you know if this has occurred? Moyes says you’ll usually feel an acute pain over the lateral deltoid (shoulder muscle) that radiates down the arm, which doesn’t get better on its own.
6 Takeaway Tips:
- Don’t start off with a carry on that’s heavy when empty. Invest in a lightweight model.
- Be conscious when you pack your carry on, being careful not to make it too heavy.
- Be especially careful when lifting the bag overhead.
- If there’s no space in the overhead bin and you need to maneuver other peoples’ bags, ask for their help.
- If you aren’t in the best of shape, see if cabin crew can assist you.
- If you experience symptoms after lifting your bag, have them evaluated by a medical specialist.