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What Is ‘W’ Sitting? And Why Is It Important?

What is ‘W sitting’?

W sitting is when a child sits on the floor with their bottom between their legs, knees bent and their legs rotated away from their body. If you were to w sittingstand above them and look down, it looks as though their legs are forming a “W”. All children have the potential to get in the habit of W sitting as this increases their base of support and allows for increased stability through the hips and trunk. It’s a convenient position for playing because they are able to concentrate on toys rather than working on maintaining their balance.

Why is this a problem?

Children sitting in this position cannot achieve active trunk rotation and are unable to shift their weight over each side of their body which makes it difficult for them to reach toys and other things out of their immediate reach. These are essential milestones that the child must achieve so that they may develop adequate balance reactions and the ability to cross their midline which will enable them to participate in activities such as writing or catching their fall when running for example.

W sitting causes the hip and leg muscles to become tight and shortened which can lead to “pigeon toed” walking patterns and “knocked knees”. Their risk of developing back or pelvic pain as the grow and develop is also increased and some studies even suggest that these children have a high risk of developing flat feet – this alone can lead to a range of long term complications. If a child is frequently in a W sitting position, core strength may also be an issue, which can lead to poor posture, delayed developmental skills, and overcompensation of other muscle groups.

How can you help?

If you have noticed that your child is a W sitter, there are a few things that you can do to help them overcome this habit. First and foremost, encourage you child to sit in other positions such as cross legged, long sitting with both legs out in front, side sitting with both legs to one side or seat them on a low stool. It is really important to be consistent and reinforce this every time you see the child sitting in the “W” position so that they can develop new habits.

If you notice that your child has trouble maintaining positions other than W sitting, they can’t get out of the position or they have trouble balancing in other positions, it is worthwhile seeking the advise of a trained physician who can treat any underlying strength or muscle deficits.

Loretta

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Shop 2/17-19 East Parade
Sutherland, NSW 2232

Tel: 02 9542 3491
Email: info@sutherlandpodiatry.com.au