“Fix Your Feet, NO W-sit!”
By Dr. Stella Kandyba, PT, DPT
Of all the ways to sit, some kids choose the one that’s always discouraged by physical therapists – in W-sitting. W-posture is not advised for anyone. Some typically developing children do use this position during play, but all parents should know that the excessive use of this position during the developmental years can be responsible for some future orthopedic problems.
The 5 Ws of the W-sitting:
What: W-sitting is the sitting position in which legs are bent in a shape of the letter W.
Who: kids of all ages.
Where: at home, in daycares, in schools, on playgrounds.
When: during playtime.
Why: to eliminate worrying about balance and to compensate for trunk weakness.
Children learn through play, and it is convenient to play in sitting. While playing in sitting, kids develop trunk control and rotation necessary for reaching across the body. Later on, it will be important for their fine motor skills and hand dominance. However, all of this is possible in proper sitting postures and is not promoted in W-sitting. In the W-position, a child is stuck in place being “fixed” through the trunk. This lets him or her play with toys in front but not on the sides. Trunk muscles don’t get a chance to exercise, and balance develops poorly due to poor trunk rotation and minimal weight shifting. There are always orthopedic concerns with prolonged W-sitting. It predisposes children to hip dislocations, especially if there is a history of hip dysplasia. W-sitting also promotes hip muscle tightness which can affect walking and running
The easiest way to prevent W-sitting is to prevent it from becoming a habit. Any bad habit is difficult to break, and this one is no exception.
Promote correct ways to sit:
If a child is unable to sit alone in any position other than a W, talk with a therapist about supportive seating or alternative positions such as prone and sidelying. Tailor sitting against the couch may be one alternative; a small table and chair is another way. The therapist working with the child will have many other ideas.
Chance To Advance, LLC is a private home pediatric physical therapy company servicing kids in Monmouth, Middlesex, and Ocean counties, NJ. We visit your child at home, on a playground, or in a daycare. Most major insurances are accepted. Please explore our site www.CTA-PT.com or email firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.