Why You Should Break The Habit of W-Sitting


W-sittingBad habits …. we all have them. Whether is biting your nails, fidgeting with your pen, cracking your knuckles….the list is endless. Usually these are pretty harmless poor habits but other times, like W-Sitting, it can have a significant effect on your child. A lot of the time parents don’t even know what it is until a therapist points it out. Here’s what you need to know:

Why Do They Do It?

It’s more common in kids with low tone (hypotonia) versus high tone (hypertonic). Sitting in this position gives extra stability for the child because they have a wider base HOWEVER, it’s usually because they lack trunk and hip stability/control. Your body always takes the path of least resistance and will find ways to compensate to make it easier on itself. So, that just means that because sitting balance, endurance, and stability during play time might be lacking, their body is naturally finding a way to compensate and find the stability it’s craving!

Why Does It Matter?

Any PT will tell you its similar to the feeling of nails on a chalkboard when they see a child W-sit. Why? It creates a lot of undue strain on your joints and can cause some longer term problems.

-When your hips and legs are rotated into a position such as W-sitting with the weight of the body on top, it creates a significant amount of pressure on the hip joints in a not-so-good position. This pressure can also over time affect the position of your femur and therefore result in in-toeing.

-It allows your body to work in a “more stable” position, therefore not addressing the core weakness and lack of development. Also by working in a “more stable” position it doesn’t allow the child to develop proper weight shifting through their hips during play as well as balance reactions.

-For children with lacking hip stability, it could also lead to subluxations or dislocations over time. OUCH!

Overall, this position is most definitely something you want to avoid. It takes a lot of reinforcement, just as it would for you to try and get someone to stop biting their nails…half the time they don’t even know they’re doing it. Awareness is key!! Its the first step to getting it corrected. If your child isn’t able to change position when you tell them, then its even more important that you as the caregiver, aides, therapists -whoever- begins to address the issue and correct it for them. You can correct it to criss-cross, side sit, or even just scootch their feet under their bottoms to take away the “W” affect.

Whatever you do … it needs to end! Questions on how to improve strength and stability? We can help. Email us at christine@breakthroughptli.com or give us a call 631-348-0959!

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Christine Astarita