Dr. Sunil - Is It Bad For You? Approved by Dr. Sunil

Is Crossing Your Legs Bad For You?



Short answer

Crossing your legs for short periods of time shouldn't be too much of a concern. Real problems arise when leg-crossing becomes habitual and is done for prolonged periods of time.



Long answer

Almost everybody crosses their legs at some point, whether consciously or unconsciously, and for different reasons. For instance, there are some people who cross their legs for comfort, others do it to keep warm and others do it for purposes of reducing pressure in one of their legs after a prolonged sitting session. Again, there are others who do it out of habit. So is leg-crossing bad for your health?

Basically, the spine rests squarely on the pelvis when you are in a seated position. Once you cross one leg over the opposite knee, one of the hips is raised hence increasing pressure on the other. This causes the spine to change its position. A recent study published in the journal Blood shows that sitting with your legs crossed for extended durations of time can result in pelvic, lower back, knee and hip pain.

Leg-crossing can shorten the muscles present on one side of the lower back because the position of the hips, spine, and pelvis shifts each time you cross your legs. The muscles present on one side of the lower back can become chronically shortened if you sit with your legs crossed for extended durations of time, consequently resulting in spasms and back pain. Moreover, this position further increases the pressure exerted on the sciatic nerve. This nerve runs through the lower back, buttocks all the way down to the legs and the feet.

Studies have also show that leg-crossing can also inhibit blood circulation in the legs, hence causing varicose veins among other circulatory problems over time. If you enjoy sitting with your legs crossed, it is important to only do so for short periods of time. The more it becomes a habit and the longer your legs are crossed in one sitting, the higher your risk becomes for unwanted side effects.

Possible short-term side effects

  • muscle fatigue

Possible long-term side effects

  • reduced sperm count (men)
  • decreased blood circulation
  • poor posture
  • hip, back, pelvic, and knee pain

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Written by Desmond | 12-29-2015

Written by Desmond
Suggest improvement or correction

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