W-sitting: problem or solution?

When a child w-sits he spreads his hips with his bottom on the floor, his knees bent, and his feet behind him, making a "W" shape with his legs.

When a child w-sits he spreads his hips with his bottom on the floor, his knees bent, and his feet behind him, making a “W” shape with his legs.

I’m going to come right out and say it.

I’m a pediatric physical therapist, and I think W-sitting is OK.

Like most physical therapists, I learned in school that W-sitting is bad.  Very bad.  The worst.  When I talk to other physical therapists, even those who don’t treat children, they remember the same thing.  In a recent conversation, one colleague recalled the time she came home from PT school in a panic because her then-5-year-old sister was a W-sitter.  It is a single, pervasive, clear message taught to physical therapy students everywhere.  W-sitting must always be corrected.  But why?

The reasons given usually fall into 3 categories:

  1. W-sitting will cause orthopedic issues such as twisted bones and hip dislocation.
  2. W-sitting will cause muscle tightness, especially in the hips.
  3. W-sitting will aggravate neurological issues such as low muscle tone.

For the first several years of my practice as a PT, I taught families about the dangers of W-sitting, reciting the 3 reasons over and over again.  For the first couple of years I taught pediatric PT, I passed these beliefs onto my students.

Then I became a mother.  And my son was a W-sitter.

And for the first year or so of his life, as he played, I chirped “Fix your feet!” and moved him, over and over again, into other sitting positions.  At first, it wasn’t a big deal. But then he started to get frustrated with me.  And I started to get frustrated with him.  And I noticed that, when I moved him to a new position (or forced him to do so himself), he often wasn’t able to play as well or effectively as he was before my “intervention.”  He was a happy, bright, social kid.  He was developing normally, hitting all his milestones on time, and had no orthopedic or muscular problems that I could identify.  So I stopped worrying about it.  I stopped correcting him.  I started to wonder why I had been correcting W-sitting just for the sake of correcting W-sitting.  And I started to think really carefully about what I was really doing when teaching families to discourage W-sitting.

The truth is, as common as it is for therapists to teach children to “fix your feet,” there is really no evidence to support this practice.  A quick Google search for “W-sitting” reveals hundreds of posts about W-sitting, most written by physical and occupational therapists.  Almost without exception, they caution against W-sitting.  Almost without exception, they give the 3 reasons that W-sitting is bad.  But, in reviewing all 10 posts on the first page of search results on W-sitting, not a single one provides any references for those claims.  Searches for W-sitting on Google Scholar and PubMed come up empty.

“Fix your feet!”  For a practice with such a high level of adoption, there sure is a low level of evidence.

Now, I don’t dispute the fact that children with low muscle tone often choose W-sitting as a preferred position.  It gives them a wide base of support which makes them really stable.  But you know what that means?  They are functional in that position!  They can use their hands better and manipulate toys better because they aren’t using all their energy just trying not to fall down.

I also understand that often, children who W-sit often have orthopedic issues and muscle tightness.  But I don’t think that we can confidently say that W-sitting CAUSES those issues.  Perhaps it’s the other way around – unstable hips and tight hamstrings lead to W-sitting.  Or maybe there’s a third variable that’s causing both problems.  The truth is we don’t know.

And many might argue, “What’s the harm?  It won’t hurt to take them out of W-sitting.  Why wouldn’t we correct it?”  My response would be that correcting it might actually be harmful.  Perhaps not for the child’s physical development.  But what about their interactions with their parents?  Is constantly having a parent telling their child to “fix their feet” promoting good parent-child interactions?  What about parents who worry constantly about their child’s W-sitting?  How much stress and worry are we therapists causing over something we really can’t even prove causes harm? And finally, what about function?  What are we taking away from the child when we correct W-sitting?

So perhaps we therapists should soften a bit on W-sitting.  Not that we should NEVER correct it – sometimes it is clearly problematic for a child.  But we should recognize that W-sitting isn’t an all or nothing proposition.  It can be normal and is not always be dangerous or bad.  It doesn’t always need to be corrected.  Let’s look at children as individuals, address their real impairments, and always keep our eye on enhancing participation rather than reinforcing “normal.”  If low tone and core strength are the issues, let’s address those.  Let’s provide opportunities for a variety of movements and help children explore different sitting positions.

Kids are smart.  They usually know what they need.  And the body has a way of finding the most effective and efficient way to move.  For many kids, W-sitting isn’t a problem, it’s their solution.


98 responses to “W-sitting: problem or solution?”

  1. Shelley Mannell says :

    Thanks for this Kendra. I had 2 children who preferred to W sit when they were young. And in my professional practice, I prefer to look at W-sitting as a red flag that points to the need to delve further into the reasons why a child prefers a wide base of support.

    • kendrapedpt says :

      I could not agree more, Shelley! Often (not always) W-sitting is the result of another underlying impairment. As you said, we need to focus our attention on figuring out WHY the child is W-sitting.

      • Mair French says :

        I noticed that my granddaughter W-sits when she needs more space on the floor in front of her; criss-crosses when its “circle time” and the circle is tight; criss-cross is also when she uses her lap to support something like a book; and lies down with her forearms for support when there is lots of room and she wants a change of pace. She is very “knock-kneed” but it obviously isn’t caused by any one of these positions.

    • Laura says :

      I sat that way as a child and I believe it was because with my Juvenile Arthritis, it was more comfortable for me. My hips and knees were my first affected joints and I could not sit flat on the floor, nor could I sit criss-cross/Indian style.

    • Buffy Owens says :

      Jana, thank you for sharing a link to my blog in the comments of this post. I was just notified of the share and was thrilled to see it shared here. I am grateful for your thoughtfulness and for the opportunity to read this post. Thank you. -Buffy

  2. lej1123 says :

    This is my first time checking out your blog, and I found this post through the AbbyPediatricOT blog (http://www.abbypediatricot.blogspot.com/). I’m a soon-to-be OT student who is currently volunteering at a pediatric facility and I have heard several therapists and parents correct or chide a child for W-sitting.

    I never really thought to ask why it was such a bad thing, and it happens infrequently so I haven’t yet been “indoctrinated” with the anti-W mindset! However, I think it is very wise of you to take a step back and consider WHY it might be such a bad thing. Your comment that “…I don’t think we can confidently say that W-sitting CAUSES those issues. Perhaps it’s the other way around – unstable hips and tight hamstrings lead to W-sitting. Or maybe there’s a third variable that’s causing both problems” took me back to my days in statistics and research classes where I was made to consider all the possible reasons for an outcome! And you’re right, the correction of the position may ultimately be doing more collateral damage to relationships and functionality than the position is for any physical structures.

    This post was a great reminder for me that critical, questioning thinking and the desire to be evidence-based is always important.

    • kendrapedpt says :

      I’m so glad the blog made you think. Whether you ultimately agree or disagree that W-sitting needs to be corrected, I think we all need to acknowledge that “fix your feet” has become a dogma that few of us question. Thanks for your comment and the re-blog!

  3. lej1123 says :

    Reblogged this on Gotta Be OT and commented:
    As I continue to volunteer and learn more about pediatric occupational therapy, I am finding out so much about things children do that I had never thought might be harmful. One of these things is “W-sitting.” This happens when a child “spreads his hips with his bottom on the floor, his knees bent, and his feet behind him, making a “W” shape with his legs.” (Kendra Ped PT Blog)

    I did not know what the big deal was about W-sitting before I started volunteering, but in my time at the clinic I’ve heard several therapists correct a child who was seated in this position. I wondered why it was such a big and even if it was such a big deal, and Kendra’s post about W-sitting provides great discussion about making sure that therapeutic recommendations are actually evidence-based, backed up by fact and ultimately beneficial to all parties involved.

  4. Sarah says :

    My daughter has increased femoral anteversion diagnosed by pediatric orthopedist at Mass General Hospital. Here is a link to a handout received regarding femoral anteversion and how w-sitting “should not be discouraged or avoided” in this case. No research is cited but perhaps it is based on some. http://www.massgeneral.org/ortho/services/pediatrics/intoeing.aspx

  5. Sharon says :

    I was and still am a w-sitter. I am 41 years old. So far, no problems. I played sports when younger and am still physically active. I was born with displaced hips so I figured that’s why I did it. But now my 3 year old does it and she has no hip problems. She sits in other positions but prefers w-sitting. I never knew this was even a problem until I read an article from pediatric physical therapists. My motherly-intuition tells me she’s fine sitting how she wants but I now have this in the back of my head. Thanks for the post, I’m glad to hear another opinion as I’ve not found any real research to support the negative claims. I’ll keep an eye on her posture and coordination though.

  6. Mansi says :

    I think we have a lot of anecdotal evidence regarding W-sitting. We really need some evidence as to how W-sitting affects children with special needs. Since your child is a neurotypical child, can we really apply your observations to children with special needs? Can we really generalize based on the experience of one mom? Although I agree that W-sitting may not cause orthopedic problems, it may aggravate them. W-sitting is usually seen in children with low tone who are unable to maintain an upright posture while sitting on the floor. The knees are in extreme varus and hips internally rotated. Maybe these children develop hip/knee arthritis down the line. But we don’t know it, because there isn’t enough evidence. So, as a pediatric OT, I prefer to err on the side of caution and correct W-sitting. I am only talking from the POV of special needs kids,.

    • Ryan says :

      There was also a great deal of anecdotal evidence for the Earth-centric view of the universe. The medical field is certainly one area where all practices and advice should be based on solid, empirical evidence. Weren’t most of the old medical practices that are now considered quackery based on anecdotal evidence? What if w-sitting actually strengthens and promotes flexibility in the hips? Without research, we are simply guessing.

      • Mary says :

        Was a W sitter all my childhood too (am 39 now) and never read anything on this issue until a couple of weeks ago. Had always been very sports nut last few years I have been having particular problems with my hip flexor muscles as a result of the or tightness which often meant I have to stop running in the middle of a run. I have been doing yoga on and off over the years and I have now come to the conclusion that I definitely have a weakness in the flexibility area of my hips and I think I am going to have to do a lot more yoga to try and correct this on order to remain injury free. And I feel W sitting would not help me. Looking back I think it was a convenient way for me to sit without needing to work on making my hips more flexible.

  7. Shayna says :

    I am glad to have found your article. I am a firm believer in letting children move at their own instinctual pace. Therefore, I do not put my children in positions they couldn’t otherwise get themselves into. I did not force tummy time, but let them enjoy in when they were ready to roll over. I did not offer hands to facilitate earlier walking, but waited until they were ready to explore this mode on their own. I feel it has allowed them a confidence in knowing their boundaries. That said, it seems as thought children instinctually know what is best for them. Both my children W sit and, as you said, seem happier and more focused on their play. Thanks again!

  8. Barbara Hill says :

    I think all the anti-W-sitting propaganda is a bunch of nonsense. I live in Northern California where there are a great many people whose ancestors came from Asian countries. W-sitting is rather common among their children, and there is NOTHING wrong with them. They do NOT grow up with a lot of muscular or skeletal problems.

    My hobby is genealogy and several years ago I noticed a family photo taken about a hundred years ago in which several children were W-sitting. Nobody thought a thing about it at the time, and as far as I know none of those children grew up with any noticeable problems. I myself W-sat as a child; I am now 70 years old and have never had any problems with my hips or knees, and hardly any with my lower back – far less than average, I would venture to guess. I was never pigeon-toed, either. I began to ask around my distant relatives, and found that all of those who W-sat as children descend from only ONE of my ancestral lines – as far distant as fifth and sixth cousins – and they all turned out perfectly normal. None of my relatives from other ancestral lines could W-sit. So I believe there is a genetic component involved.

    It is probably true that some children with muscular or skeletal problems W-sit because it helps with their stability, but the W-sitting was not and is not the cause of their problems. Somebody seriously needs to debunk this myth.

  9. Alex says :


    I’m so glad I found this post! I have always been a w-sitter, and I didnt know that it was something that was “bad” or that it even had a name. I started finding all of these websites talking about how the way I’ve sat (and have NEVER been chided for, I might add) my entire life is horrible and ruining my body, and I started getting concerned. People sometimes ask me if it’s comfortable, and to me, it feels natural and is the most comfortable position. I am and have always been perfectly capable of sitting in other positions; I just prefer to sit this way. I never had any type of muscular or skeletal issues as a child, and I still have not. I am 20 now, so I could certainly develop some down the road, but this may or may not be related to the way I sit.

    Thanks for giving me some peace of mind!

  10. Lisa Woitkoski, PT says :

    Finally, someone says out loud what I have been thinking and saying to the parents of the children on my caseload! I fear, the therapist the child has after me thinks I’m out of my mind because I didn’t get on the “No W-sitting” bandwagon!

    Many pictures of me as a child show me W-sitting. I was an athlete and continue to be active. I still can W-sit at 44 years old! For children that are chronic W-sitters with no other way to sit, I work on other ways and recommend that the family promotes other ways as well as W sitting. To truly stop a chronic W-sitting child is a full time job, nearly impossible and unrealistic to ask parents to spend every second of every day changing the way the child sits.

    I had a very motorically involved child with CMV, visual impairment, hearing impairment and hypertonicity in arms and legs. She sat up for the first time by herself in a W sitting position. This is the only way she could sit independently and the only way she could transition into sitting. I worked every therapy session on other ways to sit and other transitional patterns in hopes that we could develop other patterns. Was it better to tell her parents to put her back down on the floor on her back so she could lay there and do nothing just so she would not W sit? Was it appropriate to ask them to go get her out of the position every second of every day? Was it appropriate to take away the only independent upright position this child had? This was a turning point for me in my practice as a physical therapist and my thoughts on W sitting. I agree completely with the need for children to be in a stable position so that they can play effectively, because the need to play and to learn from play is as important as any motor skill.

  11. Wes Groleau says :

    My psych major roommate was fond of saying that psychological literature was ten percent empirical research, thirty percent things someone made up, and sixty percent quoting the others. When I developed a medical problem and starting doing research, I came to the conclusion that a similar coment could be made about medicine in general.

  12. amy says :

    In your research did you find any connection between w sitting and laterality and or bilateral integration difficulties?

    • Bren says :

      My son has low tone, poor bilateral integration and poor gross motor skills/co-ordination. (his fine motor is fantastic). He also has sensory integration problems but is otherwise a very bright child (tested). At our first visit to our O.T she noticed right away he W sits (I had never noticed – or worried about it). Since spending 12 months doing various exercises and encouraging the use of a Howda Hug chair, he has more balance, co-ordination and better crossing skills. Recent visit to a podiatrist and he pronates outwards and rolls the tops of his feet in. I do not know if this is all interlinked but suspect it may be, as nothing happens in isolation in our bodies.

  13. grahamta says :

    I am going to try this. THANK YOU! Constantly they corrected my child’s sitting in early intervention and in 3-4 services. What did it lead to? Frustration and her complete revolt and not wanting to work on the floor. I let her work at a table instead and still she can sit a short while criss-cross, but I never thought…is W sit all that bad really, Maybe it is what she needs. I am going to try letting her W sit. I have nothing to lose…all the W sit ban has resulted in is her inability to work on the floor! By the way…per her current PT…she is very strong. I don’t believe it is core strength at all.

  14. Laura says :

    I might start to nanny for a girl that W sits, and her parents want me to correct her every time she sits that way by saying “fix your feet” (a demanding style that is not the best to use frequently, in my opinion.) It is hard for me to envision saying that every time this little 15-month old girl sits that way, especially coming from one that still W sits on occasion herself! To me, the main reason why I continued to W sit was because it was uncomfortable for me to sit on my bum that lacked padding. W sitting feels more comfortable because you can lean forward on your legs or put your feet under your bum and not hurt your behind. I don’t know what causes what thing, but I know that I do have a pigeon toe, knee and hip/lower back alignment problems from time to time and notice W sitting doesn’t help; but if I have to sit on a hard floor, I usually resort to W sitting anyway.

  15. zekesmom10 says :

    I W sat my whole first decade and sometimes beyond that. It was just comfortable to me. I didn’t even know it was “bad” until a friend insisted we all correct her child for it.

  16. Jen says :

    I definitely appreciate this post, especially about the stress it can cause parents as well as taking away the child’s ability to play. What I wanted to add is I have worked with some kids where because of how they were sitting, they were not able to use their hands efficiently in play. For example, a child I saw w-sat and had trouble reaching outside her base of support. If she was putting together a puzzle piece or playing a game on the floor, she only used one hand to reach because her other hand was needed to support herself on the floor as she reached. This stopped her from using both hands to make adjusts to the puzzle etc. I think being aware of this is helpful to keep in mind. But definitely agree that it does no good to be militant about it!

  17. Jenny says :

    I am a pre-school teacher and have been observing a 4 year old child in my group who consistently W sits. The child definitely has general low muscle tone particularly in the upper back and poor core strength. He walks with slightly knocked knees. I don’t correct him very often when he W sits. When I do I notice he slouches and tends to flop side ways or want to lie on his back. He also like to lie on his stomach holding his head under his chin with his hands, using elbow support. He also has difficulty holding a crayon or pencil – preferring to clutch it in his fist rather than using finger and hand support. I do think that until he builds core strength and improved shoulder girdle and arm strength, it’s pointless correcting him all the time.

  18. Liz Ditz says :

    I would love to have a discussion about “retained primitive reflexes” as well. Allegedly these cause learning disabilities.

  19. Penny Williams says :

    Thanks for this perspective on W sitting. My son and husband do it, as well as my nephew. My son has low muscle tone and his hips are very loose. He also has significant inward pronation and his feet turn inward. I have wondered if the W sitting caused some of this because his feet didn’t always turn in. Who knows?

    Penny Williams
    Author of “Boy Without Instructions”

  20. Erica Collier says :

    As a former “W sitter,” I developed weak knees by the age of 9 and, as a preschool teacher, I’ve noticed knee issues arising from “w sitting.” Though this article brings up good points, I still maintain the fact that we need to prevent “W sitting.”

  21. Buffy Owens says :


    Thank you for such a wonderful and honest post!

    I agree that having a black and white view of W-sitting doesn’t really serve anyone. I know adults, life-time W-sitters, who have no ill effects and are incredibly active (even long distance runners without injury). But there are also those that do suffer imbalances in the knees and lower backs. Is this directly caused by W-sitting or the overall organization of which W-sitting is a part of? Hard to say.

    The truth is, humans are dynamic, each person is an individual and no two bodies are the same. The shape and depth of hip joints vary. The shape of the pelvis, the angles of the trochanter, the length of the neck of the femur, all vary from person to person. Not to mention the motivation of the moment and how each individual approaches learning.

    I so appreciate your focus on learning and I love the bit where you say,

    “…we should recognize that W-sitting isn’t an all or nothing proposition. It can be normal and is not always be dangerous or bad. It doesn’t always need to be corrected. Let’s look at children as individuals, address their real impairments, and always keep our eye on enhancing participation rather than reinforcing “normal.”

    I look forward to reading more of and following your blog!

  22. Carrie Ann says :

    I agree and appreciate the idea that W sitting is not problematic for all children. My husband has W sat his entire life. He has a weak core and bad knees now. However my daughter has a level IV brain bleed, hydrocephalus, and was at risk for CP. W sitting became her preferred seating method no matter how hard we tried to stop and give her other methods. I followed some advice “you know what she’s going to do it anyway.” We still discouraged it, fixed it, or gave her other options but weren’t as strict about it. Now she is almost three and when going in to an orthopedic appt just thinking we were getting a referral for something else, we found out her hips are in fact coming out of the sockets and she will need a major surgery fairly soon. While I agree for most typically developing children W sitting may not be the worst thing they can do, I only wish that I could go back and know more about how W sitting can add to hip issues. While W sitting was not the single cause of my daughter’s hip issues, it only negatively affected and aggregated her symptoms/outcome. I would have continued to fight the unhappy battle a little harder if I had known then what I know now.

  23. Courtney Thomas says :

    As a fellow pediatric PT, all I can say is “Amen!” It distresses me that so many of my well-meaning colleagues purport information that is not backed by sound clinical evidence. There may be a small population for whom “W” sitting is harmful such as those who have underlying orthopedic issues. But for the majority of children it is not harmful. Most children I have found grow out of it naturally. Thank you for your post!

  24. Jesenia says :

    Hi I have a 3 year old boy who makes often the w sitting he was diagnostic with Functional Autism level 1 2 Pediatric Orthopedic Doctors told me that the w sitting was the reason off his problem with the feet’s and knee. My son when is walking he puts both feet’s looking inside and he’s right knee es like turned inside to. Because of that he falls allot while running even walking. I’m so worried about it because both doctor’s told me that the problem will fix through my son development while he grows but I haven’t seen any changes and he keeps falling. And I’m so angry about it because ass mom I know that the W sitting is not the reason I feel so impotent and frustrated about it.

  25. Sheri says :

    My husband was a w sitter as a child and cannot sit in a criss cross position at all. His hips are so stiff that he isn’t flexible enough to get into that position. Also this has resulted in his knees facing outward. He wishes his parents corrected the behavior as a child.

  26. mary says :

    Hi! I’m really puzzled by this “w” sitting article. My son was just diagnosed with DMD. He does sit in a “W” but I feel that it allows him to sit and play with his toys. His school keeps telling me to correct it, and we try but he goes back to it. I would say he’s in that position 70% of the time he’s on the floor. Although, he’s starting to correct himself. Should I keep pushing him to correct himself, or build up his core strength and it will correct itself? Are there any exercises he can do it help besides the bicycle? He’s only 3 and doesn’t really get it. I’ll keep trying though. He has started physical therapy but they haven’t addressed that as of yet. I’m trying to keep ahead of the DMD game as much as I can. Thanks!

  27. Kay says :

    Hi! I am a 57 year old female “W” sitter. I still sit in a W. I am pleased to see this article. I only began researching this after finding that my 2 1/2 year grandson sits this way and his parents are, I think, a bit obsessive about correcting it. No one ever corrected me.and I think I turned out fine. I always found this position more comfortable; still do. I played every sport I could. Was an excellent student and considered very intelligent. I am ambidextrous – writing and eating left handed and playing all sports right handed. I could always reach objects easily on either side of me, in front or back of me, from this position and still can. I can still stand without assistance from this position. I cannot do that from the criss cross applesauce position. I am not flat footed; in fact have high arches. I don’t have any hip problems, yet! I do have some medical conditions which are genetic, but then so do my siblings who never W sat. So I was flabbergasted by the number of articles on the internet about this, and yet, absolutely no research documentation about children becoming autistic, flat footed, have more cognitive problems, and other alarming conditions. By the way, my grandson is extremely bright. He know the alphabet, the planets in order no less (I don’t know this), every car, truck, big machine there is, many, many songs, the list goes on and on. Yes, I am a proud grandmother. I also think that if he is sitting this way, it is more comfortable for him as it is me.

  28. Rita says :

    I had never heard of this until today when someone posted an article about it on facebook. I have been a w-sitter my whole life, and can still do it and have not had any problems at all. And I was not a breech baby, I just always thought it was more comfortable. I just thought it was because my joints were very flexible, and maybe that is why it felt more comfortable to me. I can really hyperextend my knees and flex the tip (DIP joints) of my fingers to 90 degrees,

  29. Veronika says :

    My sister in law was a w sitter when she was little and because of that she had to around 2-3 years of age wear a brace around her legs that made her look like a cripple. So I would be cautious. My 1 year old is a w sitter and it looks like she out toes and over pronates. Doc office told me not to worry about it, but I can’t help but worry

  30. Amy says :

    While it is true that it is difficult to find any evidence-based research on the subject, it worries me that many are choosing to rationalize their disbelief in the harm of “W-sitting” with anecdotal evidence.

    • Mark Hingst says :

      if there is no evidence based research showing harm from it, it worries me that many if not most are choosing to rationalize their belief in the harm of “w-sitting” with anecdotal evidence.

      • Jennifer says :

        ALL of what we do in PT and in medicine was anecdotal at one point. We can’t discount something just because of the fact that very few people have formally studied it. Like the writer said, take it case by case and use your brain. If I have an ambulatory child with CP, with a crouched gait and knee flexion contractures, you bet I’m going to discourage w sitting. It’s not an all or nothing situation. And don’t just spout “there’s no evidence for it’s detrimental effects”. Just like we shouldn’t make w sitting a dirty word for every kid.

  31. Ambili Nair says :

    I’m 22 years old, and I still W-sit. Never faced any orthopedic issues but yes I find it tough to sit cross-legged. Although most of the time I avoid sitting on floor as people start discussing about my weird sitting style, and think I’m some super cool gymnast! Anyway, don’t ask your kids to change their sitting position. if they seem comfortable in it, let them be. I still have all my hip bones intact, so I guess my fellow w-sitters too won’t face much problems in future 😉

  32. Dr Nathan Hasson says :

    W sitting is only possible in hypermobile people. You need 90 degrees of internal hip rotation to achieve this which is twice the normal (thus double jointed people). I have many pictures of top sports personalities especially tennis players like Federer W sitting. It cannot be harmful if this is the normal range of movement of the joint. I am a Paediatric Rheumatologist and Neuro-muscular Consultant and in 30 years experience have never had a problem with W sitters!

  33. catsinbras says :

    I have been sitting like this my entire life.. and I am 29.. In normal life you would definitely say my hips are healthy and good and I have no problems with any of my bones (thank goodness!) but in yoga my hips are definitely the stiffest part of my body, they refuse to “inwardly rotate” to the level needed for certain poses in yoga (pigeon, double pigeon) … but they are delighted to outwardly rotate.. which is never called for in yoga. I can sit cross legged, but not in the way other yogis can. My knees stay high in the air.

  34. Leah Smith says :

    I appreciate everyone’s comments and the information here. I am a 53 year old who was a W sitter. In those days, no one knew that W sitting could cause a problem and my sitting habit was viewed as cute! I have had sciatica, beginning at 26 years old, and a cascade of hip, sI joint, IT band tightness and pain ever since. Even though I have been able to be physically active, I have had great trouble sitting for long periods because of the sciatica. I have spent thousands and thousands of dollars trying to get diagnosis. I have had a piriformis release surgery that didn’t help at all. I have been in pain of some form for most of the time since I was 26. I would encourage you to work with your children to discourage W sitting. I have a one year old grandson who is W sitting and I will use the techniques I have read in various PT sites to try to train him to sit properly. Thank you and best of everything to you!

  35. Nathan Hasson says :

    Leah your pain is from disc disease in your spine which is worse in hypermobile people and working on core strength will help to stabilise your back. I am now seeing hypermobile teenagers with sciatica as they’re so week that what happened to you in late 20’s is now happening to teenagers and even a 10 year old boy I saw recently. You W sat because your hypermobile and your back disease is related to hypermobility and core weakness.

    • Leah Smith says :

      Thank you for your reply, but my discs are all healthy. I have had numerous tests, cts, xrays, mrI, myelogram, etc.

  36. Julie Anne says :

    I agree with this, my older son who is 22 was made to come out of this w position at preschool but I questioned it because he became unhappy when I nagged him to sit in a different position. On the contrary he was made to sit on his bottom legs crossed which if you ever sit like that for prolonged periods, you get pins and needles from your feet going numb. Kids at school are expected to sit like this during assemblies on the floor, if you look at boys in particular this is a very uncomfortable position for them , they do not seem to have the flexible hips girls do. Ive always brought this up to teachers and I have kids with aspergers and they find sitting cross legged painful. My other 3 kids all sat in the w and they are all ok. My eldest was 5 in 1998 and there was no internet but I found an article in a mag about the w position and took it into the preschool, it was questioning whether it was that bad. I dont think they liked me arguing with their expert but I asked them to put it up on their wall, and they did so there were some open minded teachers there.I wonder if its still there?? My younger kids went to a different preschool. So I say lets leave them be, if they are happy. Thanks for your article. Refreshing to read such an independent review of this.

  37. Mike says :

    Research studies to ponder:
    W-sitting may predispose a child to hip dislocation (the hip slipping out of the socket that holds the leg to the pelvis). A research study using MRI has shown that during w-sitting all participants experienced hip subluxation (slipping of the 2 hip bones out of place). 1 Another study showed that habitual w-sitting may also lead to excessive lateral tibial torsion (the thigh bone rotating permanently out of line with the hip socket).2
    Yamamura, M. et al. “An open-configuration MRI study of the femoro-acetabular impingement and subluxation in extreme leg position.” International Congress Series 1268 (2004): 597-601.
    Magee, David J. Orthopedic Physical Assessment> Philadelphia: W. B. Saunders Company, 1997.

  38. Lisa says :

    My husband was a w sitter and he has severe back problems and crooked legs and unbalanced feet. I have also noticed that kids that do w sit have less than optimal physical agility. My kids were also natural w sitters and i havr noticed delayed motor development although small, but nevertheless, noticeable. This article also does not provide any scientific proof and so is a contradiction in itself.

  39. Valerie says :

    As a movement therapist and educator working with young children (and their parents and teachers) regularly, my experience is that “W” sitting is a gesture to observe in each child. For some, it’s just a phase of sensory experimenting with their body’s changing relationship to the world. For others, it might be an early “red flag” on a hindrance in the movement development. And, for others who hold onto it, it’s a habit. In every case, however, I observe it and notice how the child imitates me and others in and out of other movement gestures. Always observe carefully. – Valerie at The Movement Academy Project

  40. Roel b says :

    Great viewpoint. Thats some astute physiotherapy diagnosis there

  41. Bill_A says :

    Up until 5 years ago I would sit in a “w” position btw I’m almost 43. I now sit in a modified w most times. It’s still vastly more comfortable for me that pretzel style. And all those problems nope, not a single one.

  42. PremiumDeluxe says :

    Facebook is a cesspool of alarmist click bait, and more than once I’ve seen links to “articles” preaching the supposed dangers of w sitting. What I haven’t seen is any reliable, peer reviewed, published research on the matter. I see a lot of anecdotes and a lot of “better safe than sorry…” And upon googling “w sitting” the vast majority of results are from unqualified mommy blogs. It’s the same lack of critical thinking skills that leads to fear of vaccines and modern farming. The most important thing to remember is that correlation does not equal causation. My two dear old is developmentally typical in every way and I will not discourage her from sitting in whatever way is comfortable for her.

  43. Caitlin says :

    Is it just me, or is this a fairly new “problem”? Even if w sitting is causing issues which u don’t think it is, could it possibly be due to the fact that kids now days are sitting far more often? Not playing and running outside? I was a w sitter and still do from time to time. No issues. But then again, when I was younger we played and ran around outside from morning to night and were way more active than kids today in front of the tv. Just a thought.

  44. Jenelle says :

    I haven’t read all the comments so someone might have mentioned this already. I lived in Japan and W sitting is extremely common and even encouraged. I trained in karate as an adult and it was a move, that most Japanese people could do but I could not. I have never seen more flexible and limber elderly people in my life so I have always questioned the tightness rule whenever I’ve come upon it. It’s nice to see someone else questioning this as well!!!

  45. Brit says :

    This is ridiculous. Some people way over think these things. We need to trust our bodies more and find more natural approaches rather than ‘googling’ everything. I have sat this way my entire life, I’m 24 years old now, I’m super healthy, mobile, have never had any physical issues of the slightest. It’s just how I’m most comfortable. If my daughter ends up sitting this way, there’s no way I’d ‘correct’ her! Her body knows what it’s doing. I trust it.

  46. L. Weber says :

    How about this? Just ask. Children have been sitting like this for hundreds of years. Obviously many are gone but what about the ones still here? Just ask them if they outgrew it. Did it end up causing them any permanent damage? I think it’s a simple solution to a simple problem…just ask.

  47. mywordnz says :

    Reblogged this on My Word and commented:
    Don’t lose your mind about the way your kid sits…

  48. Lulu says :

    I am from Poland and here nobody considers W-sityong as a problem. There isn’t even any word for it. Aktualny it’s the first tome I’ve heared about it.

  49. Kathie says :

    My husband is a “W” sitter. He is 72 years old and has none of the problems stated in the articles. He is very active and this is still his favorite way of sitting. He says it is very comfortable for him. Our daughter is also a “W” sitter and I never even considered correcting her.

  50. Skydra-Lynn Farmer says :

    At nearly 18, I remember being a “W-Sitter” for as lo g as I can remember. To this day, I have never experienced any problems with my hips, legs or feet, other that the occasional hip or knee popping when standing up after sitting in said position. (Which one happens if sat for a long time, and using only my legs to stand up)

    I also find nothing wrong with this.

  51. Leah Smith says :

    When I posted about my chronic problems that have been attributed to W sitting, I didn’t mean to make anyone angry. I’m just trying to give information that may help prevent someone from living through the pain that I have. My current physical therapist explained to me that because I don’t use the proper muscles to walk and support myself. (gluts), I over use several smaller muscles that aren’t meant to support my pelvis.(piriformis, etc.) These muscles press on my sciatic nerves (both sides) as they over work. He believes that if I had learned to support myself properly that this wouldn’t be happening. I think it became apparent after I started running regularly and the overuse of the wrong muscles increased. I just hope that what I share here will help someone.

  52. TEDDIE says :

    Physical Therapist is really qualified to say rather it’s good or bad????? Not a doctor!!! Our daughters Orthopedic doctors disagrees. And after 5 hip surgery we agree with her. W sitting is bad and ask your orthopedic surgeon they would agree. Most physical therapy can be done by the parents, meaning they are NOT a doctor!!!

  53. Jen says :

    I find this topic so interesting! I never knew it had a name but I have noticed it. The couple of kids that have come over to play that sit this way also happen to be what I would describe as the least coordinated and most clumsy, a correlation I never intended to make but couldn’t help but notice; all girls but one. I would be very interested to see, as a previous commenter mentioned, if there is an explanation in physiology (boys v girls) and I also very much agree with another comment that W sitting isn’t the cause but merely a symptom of something else underlying. I have never sat this way, nor have our kids. I always thought to myself, “how uncomfortable”, but certainly never thought to correct it, chalking it up to individuals being built differently. My husband and I were both D1 athletes (me soccer, him tennis) and sports have come easier to our kids, presumably a result of traits we passed to them. That said, I truly believe that everyone has their gifts and not everyone is supposed to be a star athlete any more than everyone ought to be a concert pianist or a scientist. If W sitting is found to have crippling effects or is causing serious neurological issues I would remedy it but otherwise let a kid be a kid and love them for who they are. I’ve been reading so much on genetics’ role in athletics – like I just heard (at 44!!) the correlation between short calves and speed. I always wanted the more shapely long calves of my friends, but couldn’t increase my calf size no matter how many calf raises I did. I even remember a guy telling me he thought I had big knees (I don’t, but I think the fact that I didn’t have big calves made it appear that I had big knees) and I was self conscious about something so stupid for a long time! All the while this “trait” of short calves, that I would have gladly traded for what society (or at least that one dumb guy) deemed more aesthetically beautiful, likely contributed to making me much faster than the average woman. So while we can’t help but compare ourselves to those around us, it is important to accept oneself for all of your gifts and make the most of what you were given. Ok, off my soapbox!

  54. Hande Akiman says :

    Unfortunately, I have to disagree. Making the child psychologically stressed while trying to make him change the position for physical health is not something recommended. On the other hand, that doesn’t prove that w sitting should be something allowed. I worked with children with dyslexia, dysgraphia, dyspraxia… One of the first questions that I asked parents was if s/he was w sitting in the past. The answer was usually yes. Excessive use of w sitting causes both orthopedic problems and academic problems related to orthopedics. So, don’t let your child w-sit for a long time. Don’t let him get used to it. While doing this, you don’t need to be a pushy or demanding parent. There is always a gentle and playful way for everything.

    • Kathie says :

      I left comments earlier. My husband is the 72 year old W sitter. I want to respond to the above comment as well as to others in the forum. As I stated earlier my husband has had no side effects from w sitting and neither has my daughter. They both have IQ’s in or near the Genius range and have very good handwriting. They have no other academic problems.either. On the other hand our son has dysgraphia and several; other neurological and physical problems and is not a w sitter. He walked late (18 months) and is somewhat uncoordinated. So my take on this is that w sitting is not the cause of many of the ailments noted in the comments in this blog but is being incorrectly blamed for them. I agree that the psychological damage from retraining is far more detrimental than letting the child sit the way it is best for the child. We are all different and have different needs. Just because we don’t fit into the mold of what is considered “normal” does not mean there is something wrong. It is just different.

  55. Jennifer Rodriguez says :

    Yay! I came across this in my own research on “w” sitting, as I have just recently heard that it was “bad”. I am 54 years old and preferred to w sit my whole life, although I could also sit in full lotus position. I don’t often sit on the floor as an adult, but the w position is still probably the most comfortable for me. ( I just tried it and while I have to admit to a bit of tightening in my right thigh, it is still preferred over sitting cross legged). I have never had any muscular or skeletal issues. I was a very thin child and I think sitting cross legged for long periods was uncomfortable because my ankle bones and foot bones would be pressed into a hard floor, more so for the weight of my leg on top of my feet, then happens when you w sit. ( That is still an issue, although I am not an especially thin person now ). Actually, my oldest sister who was not a w sitter ( I was the only one in the family who was) did have hip dysplasia as an infant and has issues with her hip now as a result.
    Without proper research, I am surprised by the number of professionals who choose to tell parents to stop their children from sitting this way. In one article I read that they should actually go so far as to bind the legs to prevent w sitting. This is so reminiscent of the days when children’s left hands were bound to prevent them from writing with them. If correcting w sitting only applies to children with neurological issues, then the articles should clearly state that. I have a Psychology background and can only imagine the issues that could be caused by unwitting parents trying to correct what should be a non-issue.

    • Leah Smith says :

      I am replying to anyone on this forum, not just Jennifer. I just left my experiences on here previously, in order to help prevent someone from suffering the way that I have. My current physical therapist explained to me that when a child W sits, they do not learn to use gluts and other muscles properly and rely too much on the smaller muscles that support the pelvis. On me, these muscles have overly tightened because they are doing most of the work. They press on my sciatic nerves and have done so for more than 25 years. Maybe there is another underlying issue that has contributed also, but no one has found it and I have spent over 25 years with doctor’s, and physical therapists trying to find out what is wrong. I am currently re learning how to use the proper muscles to stand and walk,etc. Since I am 53, this is a challenge and I will probably not completely get it. My 1 year old grandson is W sitting and we are encouraging him to sit differently, because grandma does not want him to hurt like she has. Thanks

  56. Tua says :

    I happened on this blog after I saw an alarmist article in a newspaper that mentioned “learning difficulties” due to W sitting. As I’d never heard of this before, but remember often sitting in a W when younger, this sounded really, really odd to me. I’m pretty sure my very limber kids may well also have used the W, but I honestly would not have noticed or cared. Both my children were stellar students, one now has a PhD in computer science, the other one two masters from ivy league universities. Neither has problems with their balance or back or hips. I’m 63 now and can still sit in the W position. Never had problems with my knees or hips either. Or learning.

    So I researched a bit, out of idle curiosity:
    as for scientific studies on the detrimental effect of W sitting — found none, just lots of blogs and articles, NOT written by doctors. On the other hand there was this from Massachusetts General Hospital. I thought might be important to know before people start fixing stranger’s feet. Notice especially the last sentence.

    “Femoral anteversion/torsion is the most frequent cause of in-toeing in children between the ages of 3-10 years. The femur is the long bone that goes from the hip to the knee. Anteversion literally means leaning forward.” Femoral anteversion is therefore a condition in which the femoral neck leans forward with respect to the rest of the femur. This causes the lower extremity on the affected side to rotate internally (the knee and foot twists towards the midline of the body). The normal child is born with approximately 40 degrees of femoral anteversion. This will gradually decrease to 10-15 degrees at adolescence and generally improves with further growth. Femoral anteversion is more common in females, and is usually most noticeable between the ages of 4-6 years. Parents will notice that when the child is standing with the feet forward, the patellae (kneecaps) will point inwards. Frequently, parents will also describe the child’s gait as awkward or clumsy. The in-toeing will often appear worse with running and at the end of the day when fatigued. Femoral anteversion will decrease naturally in 99% of cases. Studies have repeatedly shown that special shoes, twister cables, and braces make no difference in outcome. Therefore, femoral anteversion is usually treated with simple reassurance and observation.

    Children with femoral anteversion often prefer the “W” sitting position because it is more comfortable…this should not be discouraged or avoided.”


    • Sarah says :

      “Children with femoral anteversion often prefer the “W” sitting position because it is more comfortable…this should not be discouraged or avoided.”

      Thank-you for finding this. I was thinking that w-sitting is an outcome of having femoral anteversion (now I know the name for it), rather than w-sitting causing it. Speaking from my own personal experience, I still have mild femoral anteversion and found w-sitting the most comfortable way to sit through much of my childhood, despite years of dance classes to help my hips turn out.

  57. Jo says :

    I’m so glad I found your article! I’ve been hearing from a lot of friends and acquaintances about the “dangers of W-sitting” in children and it’s gotten me very irritated. I was a W-sitter when I was a child, and my parents never tried to make me sit differently. I simply didn’t sit any other way, and this was always because I simply couldn’t sit any other way. I had rather severe femoral anteversion (which perhaps surprisingly went unnoticed until I was 16), and given that mother and grandmother also had leg problems, this is almost certainly hereditary or congenital in some way. Lots of major surgery as a young adult was the only way to correct this. I agree that it seems that people have got the wrong end of the stick here; if a child clearly prefers to sit in this position, then perhaps we should be asking ourselves why that is, rather than discouraging them from sitting in what might be the only comfortable position for them. I know that I would have been spared a lot of pain if teachers and other adults had taken a similar approach when I was younger.

    • gammaraex says :

      However, no child should ever sit exclusively only in the W-Style position. I know through personal experience that their doing so WILL cause knee and hip problems, pain and discomfort later on, impaired flexibility, and a pigeon toed appearance in their walk. I myself experienced all of this as a direct result from sitting only in the W-Style position.

      I KNOW and have proven that these problems are caused by this because as an arult, I have been able to reduce the extent and severity of my pigeon toed walk. I have done this by forcing myself to sit Indian style despite the discomfort this now causes. I have forced myself to turn my feet outwards when walking despite the pain this causes. I now avoid W-style sitting like the plague!

      I would NEVER allow my child to sit in this position because I don’t want him to suffer in the same ways I did.

  58. ida says :

    Hi.. my name is Ida.. i’m a w-sitter. And now i’m 24 years old. I never feel uncomfortable sitting in w- sitting. And i’m an active person too. Many people told me myths about this w-sitting, and give advices. But i don’t really care. I’m always feeling comfortable in w-sitting. 🙂

  59. Melissa Maloney says :

    Thanks so much!

  60. Meags says :

    I just want to say I love your writing, it’s so easy to read 🙂

  61. Laurie Cohen says :

    I do see persistent “W” sitting as a reason to look further. Not only for orthhopedic issues but also for balance, coordination, tone,strength, and visual development. The visual piece is often missed and can show up as distractibiltiy, headaches, learning problems, behavioral issues etc. I don’t think that constant bugging to “fix your legs” is helpful. I do think that if there are underlying issues they need to be addressed. There are lots of playful ways to address underlying issues.I would also be concerned if the child is parked in “W” sitting for long stretches. “W’ sitting decreases rotational movement , crossing midline, the need to use trunk muscles, opportunities to break up reflex patterns etc. So if the child is exploring their environment in other ways and getting these opportunities great. If they are parked in “W” sitting for hours, not so great.

  62. Susan Oetting OTR/L says :

    Children who use W sitting most of the time are not engaging their core muscles while they sit on the floor. I have been a pediatric OT for the last 20 years. I have been trained in sensory integration and have worked with children in early intervention and followed them into the school system. I have seen these same children lacking the core stability to sit in a chair for the required periods of time. They are rocking in their chairs, leaning back, sitting on their feet, lying down on their desk, struggling to keep their hand in the air to ask questions, falling from their chairs.

    They are unable to have efficient fine motor skills for writing and organizing their papers due to this lack of stability. If these same children lacked the ability to stabilize enough to do fine motor tasks while seated on the floor unless they are W sitting how are they going to sit at a desk and write (the most complex of all fine motor skills) which requires stability through the trunk and shoulder girdle?? You will say some of these children who were constant W sitters can do these things when they get to school. My question is, ‘for how long?’ I have seen many, many children in this situation who lack the muscular endurance to stay seated for the required long hours of elementary school work. They have attention and behavioral problems, they make trouble for the class, and they have difficulty learning.

    I have worked with these same children at school age to improve their core stability. Ball sitting with the feet on the floor is highly effective. Once they have improved their core stability their attention, behavior and learning also improves. I have seen young children ages 1 – 3 who constantly W sit. When their feet are consistently brought to the front they lose the habit of constantly W sitting. As they sit with their feet in front their core stability improves. They develop the skill to use their hands effectively without having to be in W sitting. Try it, it works. I have seen it over and over again.

    Side note: Children with cerebral palsy and some other medical conditions (especially those whose feet are turning in making walking difficult) should NOT be allowed to W sit because it is making their condition worse.

    I have not seen a problem for children with normal or low/normal muscle tone who W sit sometimes. It is the ones who W sit most of the time where I see the problem.

    Many children do not like to brush their teeth, but we still need to teach them to do what is good for them. If your child doesn’t want to sit on the floor with their feet in front encourage them to sit on a small ball with their feet on the floor and work on their core stability. Then help them learn to sit on the floor with their feet in front, or in side-sitting (one in front and one in back), and engage them in activities that are so fun they will forget about their feet.

    • Leah Smith says :

      Thank you so much for your comments. In a previous post, I wrote about the problems that I have had since my early 20s that no one could diagnose. I am not a therapist, nor a a physician, but I agree with you about the fine motor skills, sitting on their feet, etc. I never disrupted class, but had a difficult time sitting for long periods. (It is worse now due to the sciatica that has developed.) If I tuck my pelvis and use core muscles to hold my trunk steady, I am able to write better. That is not a study, but is real proof to me. My grandson, who is 15 months old has started W sitting and we have corrected him in a gentle way for a few weeks. From across the room, today, I asked him to put his legs in front of him because he was W sitting while playing on the floor. He looked at me and smiled, and moved his legs to the front! I was so pleased! He moved them himself each time I asked him to and I have noticed him W sitting less in the first place. Thanks so much for your post!

  63. Kizi says :

    Interesting. When I was young, me and my 3 sisters, love to sit the W-sitting. And now we are in our 50s. We don’t have any muscular problems, neurological or orthopedic issue. Nothing. No one then ever stops us or try to make us correct it. And till now we are walking, standing, feeling GREAT. 🙂

  64. Amanda says :

    W Sitting is a completely NORMAL part of lower limb development as described by the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons http://www.orthoinfo.org/topic.cfm?topic=A00055

    If you want more scientific background, the orthopaedic world would refer you to this article:
    Lower-extremity rotational problems in children. Normal values to guide management.
    L T Staheli; M Corbett; C Wyss; H King
    J Bone Joint Surg Am, 1985 Jan; 67 (1): 39 -47

    This is the normal values pediatric orthopaedic departments use to evaluate kids who visit them for concerns of W-sitting, which is generally due to normal femoral anteversion.

    If you have ANY concerns about your child’s lower leg development, I would suggest you visit your local pediatrician who will refer you to a pediatric orthopaedic department if they notice any thing outside of normal!

  65. Steve Dobbins says :

    I am 40 years old and have never ever sat any way except w-sitting. Any other way causes discomfort in my legs but not pain. Recently I got a pinched ciatic nerve in my lower back and it was very painful to w-sit. I don’t know if the pinched nerve was caused from only w-sitting all my life. It took 3 weeks of carefully stretching my legs and knees but I finally got my w-sitting back and it is very comfortable to w-sit once again. I love w-sitting. W-sitting makes it easier to do the tasks at the place I work because I have to sit on the floor for 90 percent of the time. It keeps my trunk stable and it is very comfortable in my legs, hips, and knees. If I coudn’t w-sit it would be very dificult to do the things I have to do.

  66. Nirma says :

    I am a 47 year old woman who sat in the “W” position as a child. I now have hip, pelvic and knee problems that I truly believe came from that. I can say that I do not have any neurological problems so as to blame that. I also have a sister who sat the same way and she also has bad knees. Her knees practically bow in. Look, I am far from being a doctor but I can definitely say that there is something to be said with keeping your child from sitting in the “W” form. What if what I’m going thru was caused by sitting that way and you could have helped save someone else from the same problems? I personally would rather not tempt it.

    • gammaraex says :

      I KNOW that sitting in this position throughout my childhood..
      1. Caused me to be pigeon toed
      2. Caused my knees and ankles to have deteriorative problems
      3. Caused me a lot of pain and discomfort.

      I have been able to reduce the degree of the pigeon toed appearance of the way I walk as an adult through..
      1. Refraining from sitting in the W-style position
      2. Sitting in the Indian style position instead despite the pain this brings me
      3. Consciously trying to move my knees outwards while walking (despite the discomfort this brings) so that I appear to walk in a more “normal” way.

      I doubt my way of walking will ever look 100% normal, BUT I have been able to greatly improve it doing those things! It is definitely directly related to my having always sat W-style. I have absolutely no doubt about it. I have proven this by starting to fix the unnatural walk I have somewhat.

  67. michellebeth84 says :

    hello have you ever heard of progressive infantile scoliosis my 18 month old son is in his second Mehta cast diagnosed at 40 degrees progressed to 65 degrees left lateral curve I started him in our County Early Intervention Program for physical therapy once every two weeks before he had his first cast applied we now see our physical therapist once a month as he has been doing surprisingly well in the cast even before the cast was placed he was exceeding all of his physical milestones walking early even I’m just trying to create awareness as most people do not know and most Physicians do not screen and it is critical that babies are diagnosed and treated earlyas they go through growth spurts for scoliosis grows with them that’s the danger of infantile scoliosis can compromised Heart and Lung development ever since my son’s second past has been applied he’s been sitting in the W position thank you for this article

  68. Shifat says :

    I am a 25 years old female and till this day find most comfort in ‘W’ sitting. I am heavily active and do a lot of strength training/weightlifting. I’ve never had an issue until two weeks ago I decided to take on flexibility training. My trainer told me I was below average for someone my age. My hamstrings and hips are extremely tight and it was impossible for me to do stretches that most people do easily. I never really payed much attention to the effects until now. As stated by numerous commenters, I’m not sure if this is a condition through birth or something that has developed over time due to my ‘W’ sitting. Either way, there is a correlation and I feel it may effect individuals as they age.

  69. gammaraex says :

    I sat W-style all throughout my childhood. I would and could ONLY sit in this position. All other sitting positions were not comfortable for me. I now look very pigeon toed as a direct result. What I mean by that is, my knees turn inwards towards each other now naturally, leaving me with the appearance of being pigeo toed. My knees have a lot of pain and discomfort if I have to climb stairs or walk long periods of time.

    I know that this is directly caused by my having sat W-style as when I have consciously refrained from sitting this way and try sitting the opposite way (Indian style) I feel physical discomfort and pain. I also can force my knees to go outwards and be straight with some discomfort while walking. I have completely cut out sitting W-style and my gait has straightened out and normalized a good bit. I do not think I will ever walk in a totally or completely “normal” way after having sat only in this position for so many years, but I have been able to lessen the severity and the extent of my being pigeon toed by sitting Indian style despite the discomfort this causes and by consciously turning my legs facing outwards while walking despite this discomfort also. It has taken a lot of hard work and pain for me to reduce the extent of my pigeon toed appearance.

    I would NOT EVER allow my own child to sit in this position because of my own experiences. I don’t want him to go through the pain and discomfort that I have. I also experienced a lo of bullying while in school and was called things like “crooked legs” and ridiculed relentlessly. I also wouldn’t wish this on my son. No, sitting W-style isn’t the worst thing your child can do. No, it won’t kill him. BUT it could bring him a lot of aggravation, pain, and suffering in the long-term. Please consider this when you see him sitting in this position again.

    • Leah Smith says :

      Thanks for your comments. I left my feedback that is very similar to your experience. We are correcting my 18 month old grandson when he w sits. I couldn’t bear the thought of him experiencing what I have because of W sitting. I am glad for those that have been able to sit like this and be unaffected, but we don’t know enough about it to decide who will have bad consequences and who won’t. I think W sitting is a way to bypass development of strong pelvic and pelvic floor muscles. Thanks

  70. Beverly Cusick says :

    Beverly Cusick here – W-sitting is a wrecking machine. I never support the use of it as a preferred play position. I talk about it in detail and propose management strategies in my Developmental Orthopedics course – next one at NH PTA meeting on June 4, and Washington PTA meeting October 1 this year.

  71. imama says :

    i sit like w and now i can’t sit for long time pain starts in my bone

  72. Christi says :

    My daughter was a “W-sitter” as a toddler. When she was around 2, I asked her pediatrician about how “knock knee’d” she looked, and the Dr stated that they didn’t start worrying about that until they got older, but gently warned me against w-sitting. After that, I sometimes corrected her, but sometimes allowed her to sit that way. I believe, that in my daughter’s case, she chose to sit this way because she has genu valgum or “knock knees.” She has tightness in her hips and legs, despite my efforts to make sure she sat “properly” at least as often as she w-sat. She’s 11 now and is being followed by an orthopaedist for possible correction of the knee issue, but I fully believe that she sat this way because of the way her body was formed. While w-sitting may have contributed to the other problems (tight hip muscles and joints) I don’t think it was the primary cause of her problems.

  73. Kiera says :

    I have been a w-sitter all my life, and recently (at age 20) my hips ache and pop constantly, and my knees do the same. Especially after walking or running more than usual. I believe my sitting habits have caused this, but what am I to do? 😛

  74. Walter B Smith says :

    Bravo! I sat like this as a child. And I grew out of it. I never experienced ONE problem as a result. Not pigeon-toed. No knock-kneed. No posture problem. No hip problems. Nada.

    I am aghast (well, it’s the internet – why would this be any different) at the masses of ignorant assertions on this issue in the face of NO STUDIES, NO RESEARCH, NO EVIDENCE.

    Man, the internet (and people) are really just terrible. You have to really look to find the good ones. Like this blog. Well done, ma’am.

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