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The effects of W-sitting

 
We take a look at the effects of W-Sitting, why it’s not ideal and the postural and developmental issues it may cause young kids.
We take a look at the effects of W-Sitting, why it’s not ideal and the postural and developmental issues it may cause young kids.
 

What is W-sitting?


W-sitting is when kids sit on the floor on their bottom, with their knees bent, feet tucked under and their legs angled behind them to form a W-shape on the floor.
 
Because this position is so common amongst kids, parents are often not aware of the postural, developmental and growth issues that come from excessive use, such as hip distortion, knee and foot distortion, poor development of their core muscles and lack of cross-body coordination.
 

The effects of W-sitting

 

1. Hip distortion


When your kids' legs are externally rotated, it puts an enormous pressure on the internal aspect of their hip joints.

Muscles that stabilise the hip joints become short and contracted in this position and it can impact their walking development and how their hips and pelvis move later in life.

Their hips also have a greater chance of dislocating when they are sitting in the W-position.
 

2. Knee & foot distortion


In the W-sitting position your toddler's or preschooler's knees are internally rotated and their ankles are externally rotated.

The force over their knees, coupled with the force in their hips, is likely to cause spasms and contractures through their hamstrings and inner thigh muscles, as well as their Achilles tendon.
 

3. Poor development of core muscles


A secondary side effect of W-sitting is poor use and development of core muscles.

Because your kids are stabilised by the extreme rotation of their legs, they do not need to use the muscles in their core to stay upright or to balance balance.

Their hips and pelvis become locked into place and their abs and pelvic muscles just relax as they have no need to work.
 

4. Lack of cross-body co-ordination


This is related to the poor development of core muscles.

With a lack of muscle stability and tone in your little one's abdomen, there is also a lack of cross-body movement.

Cross-body movement is the key to crawling, and later walking.
 
When they are in the W-position, you will notice your toddler's or pre-schooler's right arm will stay on the right side of their body and will not reach across to the left, and vice versa.

Bilateral movements are critical for early brain development and are needed for reaching more advanced developmental milestones later on, such as for reading and writing.
 

5. Preventing W-sitting


There are no magic cures, other than preventing it from becoming a habit and discouraging your kids from sitting in the W-position.

Anticipate when it will happen and correct it as soon as you can.

Contact a paediatric chiropractor for further advice.
 

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Image source: babyparenting.about.com
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