The 3 Ws of W-Sitting and WHY It’s Wrong

all seen it. Kids sitting on the floor with their knees bent, feet and toes
pointed and legs out to each side, in a “W” position.
WHY do some children
sit in this position?
like to sit in a W because it’s easier. W-sitting creates a wide base of
support, the child uses fewer muscles and it’s almost impossible to fall over
when sitting in a W-position. Once a child learns to sit in a W-sitting position, it
becomes a habit very quickly.

WHEN does W-sitting become a problem?

Consistent W-sitting can lead to orthopedic problems as your child gets older. Hip dislocation, twisting of the bones and shortened muscles in the hips and feet are some of the complications caused by W-sitting. In W-sitting, the child is unable to properly rotate his trunk which can cause delays in skills, such as crossing midline and transitioning from sitting to crawling to standing.
In addition, persistent
W-sitters can become pigeon-toed because of the stress on the joints and shortened
muscles that develop. (Look for more
information on pigeon-toes in next month’s PT blog!).
In worst case
scenarios, surgery is required to fix the joints or to lengthen shortened
muscles. It is easier to never let your child start W-sitting.

WHAT should I do if
my child already is a W-sitter?
to work on other sitting positions such as criss-cross, longsitting (legs in
front), and side sitting. You may have to remind him to move his legs to a
different position. It will take a lot of repetition to correct the sitting
position, but it will decrease the chances of complications in the future.
– By
Danielle Hildebrand Lupton, DPT