What is W Sitting, and What is the Problem With It?
W sitting is when a child sits with their knees rotated inward and feet positioned outside of their hips. When looking down from above, their legs appear to make the shape of a W.
Although the position may be uncomfortable for adults, children will have the extra flexibility to do so. Children oftentimes even prefer sitting this way because the wide base that the position creates makes sitting upright much less work for them.
However, physical therapists don’t like this position for a number of reasons.
Hip Mobility – Sitting in this position puts a great deal of strain on the hips and increases the likelihood of other issues later on. The position will also cause them to have problems with muscle tightness and pain in areas such as the hips, ankles, and knees.
Promotes Poor Posture – Sitting in this position forces the child to slouch forward with poor posture, which can lead to a wide range of other issues.
Lack of Core Strength – Children often sit in this position because it doesn’t require them to use their core to stabilize themselves and stay upright. If they continue to sit in this position, it will reinforce the issue, and the child will lack the necessary stability and balance in their core as they grow older.
Limits Movement Across the Body – Because this position limits the ability of children to rotate their trunk, they will not move their hands across the body to perform tasks (only using their right hand on the right side of their body and left hand on the left side of their body). Crossing the midline with their hands to perform tasks in an important step in developing motor coordination.
How to Combat W Sitting
If you see your child W sitting often, you should prompt them to sit in another position. Sitting in an L shape with their legs extended in front of them, sitting criss-cross applesauce, sitting in a butterfly position, or kneeling are just a few options for alternative positions that won’t cause any harm to your child.
Because the position requires much less core strength and stability, this is very often the cause for your child W sitting. If W sitting becomes a habit, working with a physical therapist to help your child increase strength, mobility, balance, and coordination can help the problem. The physical therapist will perform various exercises and activities with the child to help with these deficient areas.
Call Country Roads Physical Therapy Today!
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