Bracing for Back to School

Tips to making the school year a little easier while wearing an orthotic back brace.

Summer is over, which means it’s school time. This can be just as scary as it is exciting when you have a back brace. Here are a few tips from Annabelle Smith, who is a patient at the National Scoliosis Center, to help to make the school year a little easier.


Clothes: Loose-fitting shirts and blouses are some of the best ways to keep cool in the summer and still provide coverage. Thicker fabrics, like sweaters or sweatshirts, are also great at hiding your brace. Wearing a jacket or cardigan over tighter clothes is always a great option, too!

Telling Friends: Your friends might have questions, so it’s best to be prepared to explain what scoliosis is and why you wear a brace. Keep a picture of your brace on your phone and have a “script,” so you can easily explain these things to anyone who asks.

Keeping Cool: Stay hydrated! You’re going to sweat in your brace, especially during the summer months, so bring a water bottle to school and make sure you’re drinking plenty throughout the day. Wearing something beneath the brace, whether it’s a cami, brace sock, or something else, will keep the sweat from sitting on your skin and allows you to change into something fresh on particularly hot days.

Physical Education (P.E.) Class: If you’re in middle or high school, chances are you’ll have to change for P.E.. The first step is to contact your school nurse and P.E. teacher to let them know about your brace. 

When it comes time for class, you can choose to change in the nurse’s office or in the locker room.  If you’re still uncomfortable changing in the locker room, though, you can always change in private and join everyone else as soon as you’re done!

Once you’ve changed, be sure to store your brace somewhere safe. It’s not always safe to leave it on the floor or try to put it in your locker, so ask if you can keep your brace in your P.E. teacher’s office or in the nurse’s office during class.

Getting Around: Make sure you give your back a break. Keeping your backpack light, using standing desks when available, and even carrying around a cushion are great ways to stay comfortable while at school.

Have Fun!: Last but not least, remember to have fun! Your brace won’t stop you from doing anything, so don’t be afraid to try out for sports teams, join the orchestra or the band, or stay after school for clubs.

School playground season is here! Let's get them ready for recess!

Our team of pediatric specialized orthotists will evaluate your child's bracing / orthotic needs and tailor a plan for another successful year.  Let us determine if your child needs a new brace with an updated cool transfer pattern or just a review and re-order.

Visit to complete our easy-to-use online appointment request form or call us at 412-622-2020 to make an appointment at one of our 19 convenient locations.

Check out our pediatric resources page which includes a wide array of colorful orthotic transfer patterns for your child to choose from.

Good luck to all of our patients on their upcoming school year!

About Union O & P

Union Orthotics & Prosthetics Co. is a family-owned and operated company with over 100 years of service in Pittsburgh and Western Pennsylvania. We have always been dedicated to providing the highest quality of patient care with a professional and compassionate approach. Our services and techniques are continuously being upgraded to achieve the highest standard of excellence. Union O & P is proud to provide patients with resources to stay active and connected with the community.


Union Orthotics & Prosthetics Co. and De La Torre Orthotics & Prosthetics Co. now offer 19 locations throughout Pittsburgh and Western Pennsylvania. Services may vary by location.

* Image source: National Scoliosis Center