‘W’ Sitting Position in Children

September 25, 2017

  Are your kids Wsitting? Keep an eye out these school holidays! School holidays are almost here so for many of us, life is about to get just that little bit more hectic! It also gives us that little more time to see our kids in action – laughing, playing… and sitting! And sitting can be a biggie, because there’s a type of sitting that is actually detrimental to your children’s posture and can affect their development! It’s called ‘W’ sitting.  

What is Wsitting?

‘W’ sitting gets its name because the legs make a shape of a ‘W’ when your kids sit like this. It’s when their bottom is on the floor with the knees flat out in front and the legs are tucked back and out to the sides. Now at this point you may be thinking that you’ve seen your kids do this quite a few times. If you have – don’t panic! Kids do this because they feel stable in this position as their muscles don’t have to work so hard to keep them upright and balanced as they sit, especially when they’ve got more important things to worry about like playing with their toys!  

Wont they just grow out of it?

Unfortunately, the reality is that if this sitting position isn’t addressed and corrected, it can lead do a serious of postural and developmental issues that can affect the hips, legs, knees, feet, core and back muscles and the ability to co-ordinate all of these together! ‘W’ sitting is a big cause and contributing factor to in-toed walking and knock-kneed walking.  

So it affects their bones and muscles?

Yes. If you visualise that position and the way the thigh rotates inwards (internally rotates), think about how that position is affecting the growing hip joint and the surrounding muscles and tissues. It’s the same issue with the legs internally rotating and often the foot turning outwards (externally rotating). The affected muscles of the lower limbs can then tighten or weaken accordingly and create further issues. The core muscles also suffer. Because it is the position of the legs providing stability when ‘W’ sitting and not the core muscles of their abs and pelvis, these muscles don’t get engaged or strengthen at a normal developmental rate and may remain weaker than you’d expect.  

So how should they sit instead?

The best way to discourage ‘W’ sitting is to encourage cross-legged sitting, and continuing to do so consistently until the habit is broken! At Perform Podiatry, we’re parents too so we know it can be tricky! But also very important so they can keep reaching their developmental milestones at a normal and healthy rate. If you’re worried about this or anything else to do with your kids then don’t hesitate to bring them in! We are proud to be experts in kids lower limb health (as well as proud parents!) and would love to see your kids happy, healthy and playing at their best! We’re part of the OneHealth building in Remuera – give us a call on 09 523 2333