Hello!

As a podiatrist I am constantly seeing the negative affects of W sitting in kids.

So what is W sitting?

The ‘W’ sit is when children sit on their bums with their knees bent and their feet are out on either side of their hips – making the shape of a W with their legs.

What is the problem with W sitting?

You will often see kids sitting in this position when playing on the floor and they often choose this position because it feels stable. While it may look innocent enough, there are some long-term health consequences that can arise from this sitting position. Over time it can result in a conditions commonly called ‘out-toeing’ or ‘in-toeing’. These refer to the toes pointing inwards or outwards, rather than forwards in a neutral position. In severe cases it can cause a twist in the leg bones and cause permanent bone deformity.

How should my child sit instead?

W sitting is fine for your child if it’s only for short periods of time. The problem occurs when the child sits like this for the majority of their floor time. I would highly recommend all parents observe their children sitting and playing on the floor, if they have a natural tendency to W sit then start working on breaking that habit. I recommend that children should spend time in a variety of postures including cross-legged, legs straight out or in a ring.

When should I seek professional advice?

If your child does have a tendency towards W sitting, observe them while walking and pay close attention to their foot position. If you see the feet turning inwards to any degree or turning out more than 15 degrees I would recommend you see a podiatrist for a more detailed assessment. The sooner treatment is implement the better treatment outcomes you can expect.

Does your child ‘W’ sit? Please comment below.

Image courtesy of Shutterstock.com

  • Interesting……one of my brothers always sat like this. I guess he was one of the lucky ones as it didnt cause any issues for him at all.

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  • well my kids have sat like this for a minute or so but not very often. i can’t believe that this is a seemingly normal thing that kids do but shouldn’t be! i will keep an eye out and pass this tip on to my friends.

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  • No thankfully my little one doesn’t sit like this.

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  • Our Oseto also told us about this position for our very flexible toddler…

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  • Thanks for the insight – I must check my grandchildren. My kids never sat still long enough to do this.

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  • I have never seen children sit like that before. Kneeling with the legs straight behind them yes. That is not how they are taught to sit a childcare as babies, toddlers, at pre-school (called kingergarden or kindy in some states) or at primary school. There is also always the risk of children copying each other.

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  • I always say in this position as a child. I found it uncomfortable, sometimes painful to sit with my legs crossed. It was until a teenager I could sit with my legs crossed and only short periods. I have no feet or hip problems. My son doesn’t sit like it at the moment (he is only one), but I won’t be too worried if he does. Will just keep it in mind.


    • Oh please……. Scare mongering again. I have known plenty that sat like this all the time, playing and watching tv, no problems at all, I still sit like this sometimes



      • I’m hypermobile and even I couldn’t get into this position. It does feel like there’s so much we have to know now, it’s ridiculous.

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  • My daughter sits in the W position, but only when she needs to focus or learn something difficult. She has core issues and ive been told this way of sitting gives her the best comfort for her issues. Ive had her seen to by several health professionals who have said to allow her to sit like this if she does flick into the position while learning something hard as if told to sit in the cross leg position and focus she will struggle to do both as she will be focusing on trying to support herself and wont be able to focus on learning too well. She doesnt do it alot and general learning is fine, but ask her to do some harder things and she flicks. Once we get on top of her core and other issues ill keep an eye on the w sitting to get her out of it.

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  • My daughter sits like this occassionally. She has a few issues with her core. She sits with her legs crossed, but ask her to focus on something and learn it, you will quickly see her flip her legs to the W position. Speaking to several health professionals, ive been advised to let her do it for those times she really needs to learn as at the moment we are trying to work on the core strength.

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  • Physios hate it too. It does stuff to the hips as well I think.

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  • Yes, I knew this was a problem, but you explained the “why” very clearly. Thanks!

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  • Ive always wondered about the W sitting position ! Thanks for explaining it a bit to me!

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  • I really have to watch this with my 3. All 3 ‘w’ sit by default. My eldest had hip dysplasia and spent her first 12 months in braces and casts. Our specialist said for her to never ‘w’ sit as it encourages lax hip muscles and hip development. I swear i spend half my day saying ‘feet forward or crossed’ and they change straight away. But saying it all the time is worth it as it prevents hip problems as well as feet/walking issues.

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  • Oh my! I didn’t know about this condition!!

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  • All my kids did and do ‘W’ sitting but luckily it is for short periods of time and the older ones out grew it.


    • its ok to W – sit for short periods of time, ideally a child would have a range of sitting postures to play in throughout the day

    Reply

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