W-sitting is a sitting posture in which the knees are in front and the ankle and feet at the back and side of the hips. This makes a W shape of the legs.
This sitting posture is very common during the child’s developing years. Children like sitting in W position as it gives them a wide base of support while playing and doing other activities.
It is important that the child moves in and out of this position as continuously sitting in this posture can pose problems.
The Risk Associated with W Sitting Posture
Trunk and Leg Weakness
When the legs and trunk are not stable during the play, W-sitting is a go-to position.
While sitting with legs in W, the muscle work is taken up by the legs and a center of gravity is created with a wider base to support the movement.
- If the child is diagnosed with hip dysplasia, then it is important to discourage the W-sitting position.
- Prolonged sitting in W-sitting position can increase the chances of dislocation of the hips. W-sitting internally rotates the hip to a point, it may dislocate easily if there are existing joint issues.
- It is important to look for signs of hip pain if the child hasn’t been diagnosed with hip dysplasia.
- This condition is difficult to diagnose unless the child is older and complain of discomfort.
- Children who sit in W-sitting position too often might suffer from tight muscles in legs and hip. The tight muscle may inhibit normal motion affecting the child’s coordination and balance.
- The muscles affected with this sitting posture are hamstrings, hip abductors and Achilles tendon.
- A child walking with pigeon toes or feet turned in might have tight muscles.
Bilateral Coordination Issues
- W-sitting may cause the child to avoid coordination or independent movements on the right and left side of the body.
- You would find a child with bilateral coordination to have a problem in reaching out for things at the left with his right side.
- If you lookout for signs of delay in hand dominance or dexterity, fine motor delays, gross motor delays, and issues with coordination of right and left sides of the body, think about correcting the W-sitting posture.
- W-sitting can be a problem when a child has an increased muscle tone or other neurological conditions like cerebral palsy.
- As W-sitting makes muscle tighter, sitting in another position, over a period of time would become difficult.
- The child may find it hard to move the legs or twist the hip in an outward motion.
- Notice these symptoms and correct the sitting position.
How Can W-sitting Be Corrected?
The children who sit in W-sitting often gradually shift themselves out of this position easily. In most cases you need not correct them.
But if you find your child in the same position all the time and for a prolonged period of time, you need to pay attention.
You can encourage the child to change position from time to time. You can help them try a variety of other positions such as:
- Criss-cross sitting
There are some other tips given by Arnold Palmer Hospital for Children which are as follows:(1)
- Do not impose them to change the position. Instead, you can try and tell the child to move into criss-cross legs as it helps build strong muscle. Keep the conversation positive. You can also hug or tickle them, so the position gets changed. Try changing their habits with some positive gestures.
- Offer different seating options to the child such as a bean bag or small step stool or other.
- You can also move the child to other ways that encourage development. Yoga and playground play can be good options.
W sitting is a part of normal development and goes away as the child grows or gets involved in other activities. If you find your child favoring this position encourage them to sit other ways for balanced development.
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