Can sitting with crossed legs really be harmful

Sitting with crossed legs has been linked with morality and etiquettes. While some of the older cultures look at it as a disrespectful gesture, the modern world has taken it as a confident style statement. You may find celebrities sitting in a reality show with legs crossed. There are other common instances like working on the laptop, travelling in a bus, watching TV, and having dinner with a crossed-leg sitting position. Our posture definitely has a lot to do with our overall health and so the crossed-leg position.

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Some research and general experiences have correlated certain adverse health conditions associated with crossed-leg position, but “it’s not going to kill you” for sure. Numbness in your legs is the most common condition that anyone might notice after sitting for too long in this position. Let’s examine some other circumstances and health concerns related with crossed-leg position. 


During pregnancy, you are the one who can best choose how to sit, walk, or sleep as per your comfort. Your comfortable position won’t harm your baby anyway. So, sitting in a crossed-leg position is entirely your choice, however, due to the structural changes in your body, you need to be a little cautious. If crossing your legs is leading to any kind of ankle or leg swelling, then avoid this position.  

High Blood Pressure 

Most of you can recall that while checking the blood pressure, you are asked to sit with both feet on the ground. It is because crossing the legs might put pressure in the veins leading to a temporary spike in the blood pressures. Always remember, it is only a temporary spike and cannot result in any permanent damage. 

However, if you are a patient of high blood pressure, then try to avoid sitting in crossed-leg position for long hours. 

Varicose Veins 

People believe that crossed-leg position can worsen the cases of varicose veins, which is not medically proven. It may make the veins visibly more apparent but worsening of situation is not possible. Actually, varicose veins are caused due to a problem in the valve of the veins in inner thigh, behind the knees and calves, and inner legs. These valves become weakened and damaged and fail to push the blood upward towards the heart resulting in bulging and twisting of the veins.

Anyone can develop this problem and it cannot be related to a definite sitting posting. However, patients with varicose veins are advised to keep changing their sitting and standing position and do not remain in the same position for long hours. 

Things you should know 

Our posture is important and a poor posture might have some lasting results. So, you should be aware that twisting one leg over the knee of other leg to gain a “crossed-leg positing” causes the pelvis to rotate and tilt slightly. A regular practice of this might result in lower back pain and misalignment of the spine in the long run. Muscle pain and stiffness could gradually develop over a period of time.


Sitting with your legs crossed is not going to cause any medical emergency, but we should definitely adopt a good posture always. So, sit in this position if you are comfortable, but try to avoid for longer durations. If you are already a victim of back pain, lower waist pain, leg pain or stiffness, then its time to get treated and choose only healthy postures. Meet your nearest general physician or orthopaedist or schedule an appointment for an online consultation.