W Sitting

W-sitting is when a child sits on the floor with their knees bent and feet positioned outside of their hips. When observed from a bird’s eye view, the legs and body create the shape of a “w”.

Signs and Symptoms

Children may move in and out of the position, but prolonged sitting places the child at risk for issues such as:

  • Hip dislocation: results from a strain on the hip joints, increasing the likelihood of dislocation
  • Decreased core strength: minimal activation results in poor development which may affect their ability to perform other gross motor tasks
  • Increased muscle tightness: evidenced throughout the hips, knees, and ankles
  • Increased likelihood of knee pain over time
  • May contribute to in-toeing (feet turned inwards)

How Physiotherapy Can Help

  • Assess when W sitting is a concern and requires intervention
  • Teach the child additional sitting positions to mix up their position, such as criss-cross-apple sauce, legs in front, side sitting
    Strengthen core muscles and hip muscles
  • Improve range of motion as needed
  • Assess other motor skills to ensure the child is not reliant on patterns that include their feet turned in
  • Ensure the child is on track with their overall motor development