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Woman carrying a heavy purse.

Is your handbag hurting you?

Carrying a heavy purse can be hazardous to your health. Whether you cart around a leather tote, a large satchel or a designer hobo, filling your purse to the brim can wreak havoc on your muscles and joints.

Ruth Gronde, an ergonomic therapist at Piedmont, says carrying a heavy bag incorrectly or for a long period of time can lead to back, neck and shoulder pain and even serious injury.

Don’t be a fashion victim

“Big bags are pretty fashionable now and unfortunately, we tend to fill up the space we have,” she explains. “Fashion doesn’t necessarily make us carry bags that are proportionate to our body size or purpose.”

If you plan to carry a bag for a long period of time – say you’re running errands for several hours on a weekend afternoon – switch to a smaller cross-body purse, fanny pack or even a backpack.

Tips to prevent injuries

If you do choose to heft around a large shoulder bag, Gronde offers the following tips:

  • Only pack essentials. Minimize what you’re putting into your purse. Though it can hold a great deal, don’t be tempted to fill it up.
  • Switch it up. Alternate the shoulder on which your carry your purse throughout the day. Try to switch sides every few minutes.
  • Avoid the offending problem.  Don’t keep carrying a heavy purse on your right shoulder if you are having pain. Seek medical attention if the pain isn’t getting better after a few days or if it is severe.

For more helpful, healthful tips, click here.  

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