Is Your Child W-Sitting?

W-sitting is when children sit with their knees together and their feet out to the side.  But why is it so bad, and how can you help change this habit in your child? Our Head of  Paediatric Physiotherapy Victoria Healey explains why.

Children who w-sit are generally children who have low muscle tone and increased movement within their hip joint and this allows them to get into this position with ease.  In this position children don’t have to work as hard to hold their trunks upright as they have a wider base of support.  Therapists dislike children sitting in this position because it places increased stress on the muscles around the hip and the hip joint itself, and this can affect your child’s hip development.  When a child is born their femurs (thigh bones) are internally rotated and they untwist as they grow through normal development and positioning. W-sitting actually encourages their bones to stay in an internally rotated position.  Children who W-sit also tend to have poor core stability and are more likely to start in-toe walking and be unbalanced.

It is important to try and discourage your child from sitting in the W-position, and to suggest alternative positions:

Cross Legged Sitting

This is the preferred position but some children may find this uncomfortable to begin with, as it will stretch the opposite muscles around the hip.

Side Sitting

A great alternative as this takes away stress from the hip joint structures, allowing for easy transitions in and out of sitting.

Long Sitting

This is sitting with their legs outstretched and is also a great way to stretch their hamstrings.

If these positions are too uncomfortable then you can start by allowing them to sit on their knees with their feet tucked underneath their bottom.

If your child continues to sit in the W-position then our physiotherapists can assess your child’s hips and muscle tones and provide an individualised treatment plan that will help to improve their posture and alignment.  Get in touch today!