Bill always knew he had had poor posture because, for the past 14 years, his mom often reminded him to “sit up straight.” What they didn’t know at the time was that Bill couldn’t physically sit up straight despite his best efforts.
Bill has been an avid competitive tennis player since he was 7 years old. He didn’t wonder if poor posture impacted his ability to play tennis, but now he thinks it probably did in some ways.
An Unknown Problem
At age 14, during a preseason physical, a severe curve was detected in Bill’s upper back. The advance of the curvature was causing the skin on his spine to develop stretch marks. Not realizing how severe his spinal curvature was, Bill initially thought the stretch marks were calluses from carrying his school backpack.
He was referred to Suken A. Shah, MD, a pediatric orthopedic surgeon at the Spine and Scoliosis Center at Nemours/Alfred I. duPont Hospital for Children in Wilmington, Del. Dr. Shah diagnosed him with Scheuermann’s kyphosis, a condition in which the vertebrae grow unevenly and become “wedge” shaped. People with this condition experience a loss of height and, depending on the location of the curve, may have a visual “hunchback” or “roundback.”