Physical and Health Education

postural defects and causes

The abnormal way of holding or carrying the body during the performance of various activities due to deviation from the normal axis of the bones, joint stiffening, loss of muscle tone, and disc degeneration leads to postural defects.

Aiding factors of Postural defects

  1. Heredity: Some postural defects can be inherited from the father or mother.
  2. Muscular weakness: When muscles are weak or the tone is lost, the body may become slouched.
  3. Occupation or bad habit: An occupation that demands sitting always without exercise may cause the body to bend.
  4. Injury, diseases and infection: Some injuries and diseases such as tuberculosis can lead to defect in posture.
  5. Defective sense organ: Organs like the eye, the ear etc.  This may cause the person to bend forward.
  6. Rapid growth: Some growth may be so rapid that the bones become too tiny and curved due to the body weight
  7. Overweight:  When one is obese the weight may result in flat foot.
  8. Accident: A ghastly accident can lead to the amputation of the limb.
  9. Poor diet: When the diet is too poor some nutritional diseases such as kwashiorkor may develop
  10. Limitation: This is especial common with children that are fond of putting their hand in their pockets always, this may lead to kyphosis.
  11. Other factors may include; poor environmental conditions such as poor lighting, too low or too high seats (unsuitable furniture)
    weak postural muscles
    abnormally tight muscles
    high-heeled shoes.
    poor work environment
    incorrect working posture,
    unhealthy sitting and standing habits

Types of Postural defects

  • Scoliosis
  • Kyphosis
  • Sunken chest
  • Genu valgum(k-leg)
  • Lordosis
  • Abdominal ptosis
  • Flat foot
  • Genu varum(bow-leg)

Kyphosis (round should)

Kyphosis is a defect of the spine due to deficiency of Vita min D which is essential for the building of strong bones. The upper spine due to deficiency of vitamin D which is essential for the building of strong bones. The upper spine become excessively curved as a result of squeezed chest muscle. When the soft part of the spine bone is weakened by lack of vitamin D, it falls back and the shoulders become bow-shaped due to the actions of the chest muscles. Kyphosis, or hunchback, is an unbalanced posture that can cause neck and back pain. The head is pushed forward, in front of your gravitational center. The upper back is rounded, accentuating the thoracic curve. According to the Maryland Spine Center (MSC), this condition can develop from unhealthy posture habits, bone and joint degeneration and spinal deformity. Severe cases diagnosed as Scheuermann’s kyphosis create a noticeable hump in the upper back.

Causes of kyphosis

  • Carrying heavy loads on the back
  • Sitting an infant too early
  • Weak chest/back muscles
  • Accident
  • Diseases
  • Lack of physical exercise/activities


Lordosis refers to excessive lateral curvature of the lumbar region. This is due to exaggerated tilt of the pelvis in congenital hip dislocation .Also, weak abdominal muscles due to pressure exerted on it by the excess fat in the abdomen. Lordosis is a back posture that exaggerates the lumbar curve into a position often termed swayback. Standing with locked knees contributes to this unhealthy posture that aligns the head behind your center of gravity. Shoulders may also be pulled back too tightly. The MSC reports behavioral and developmental causes for this condition that may create neck or back pain.


Scoliosis is the sideways curvature of the spine due to poor standing or sitting postural habit or malfunction of the vertebral. Scolosis is common in children or adolescents that imitate or form the habit of their hand in the pocket always. Structural scoliosis may be grouped into congenital, neurological, muscular and thoracic. It is congenital when the bone is present at birth, thoracic scollosis is due to damage to the tissues of the lung.

Flat Foot

Flat foot is a situation where the arc of the foot is lost. It is common among children, but get corrected as they grow. There are three types of flat foot –mobile, rigid and –spastic flat foot.

Other Abnormal Postures

Unhealthy, rigid back postures associated with head injuries are more extreme and require immediate medical attention. Decorticate posture is a body position in which the arms and hands are curled inward, and the legs are held straight outward.

Decerebrate posture leaves arms and legs extended, toes pointed downward and head pushed backward. The MSC relates that these may indicate a brain tumor or stroke.


Explain 3 factors that aid postural defect.

Mention 4 postural defects.

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