Crossing Your Legs When Sitting Can Lead To Imbalanced Trunk, Nerve Damage & More


Last Updated on 2022-09-11 , 11:35 am

Did you know that you’re not supposed to cross your legs when you sit?

I mean, technically you can do it, but it isn’t good for your health.

Everywhere we go, it seems that it’s become a universal thing for us to just tuck our leg over the other when we’re sitting.

Most of us do it because it’s a more comfortable position and we often just switch the leg that we tuck over the other.

For many women, we have been taught to sit that way so as to ensure that we remain modest when wearing a skirt.

We also cross our legs when we try to make ourselves take up less space on public seats to make room for others.

So how could something that looks so harmless actually be harmful to us?

1. Deep Vein Thrombosis

Deep vein thrombosis (DVT) is a condition where a blood clot forms in the muscle of an extremity, often the lower leg or the thigh.

This usually occurs because you have been inactive for too long, especially when your blood flow is restricted.

If you have DVT and it becomes worse, you are also more likely to get serious problems in your lung called pulmonary embolism.

So what are some common symptoms that you can look out for?

  • Warmth and tenderness over the vein
  • Pain or swelling in the part of the body affected
  • Skin redness

When you notice that you have the above symptoms and suspect that you might have DVT, it’s best that you check it out with your doctor. You will probably be given some medication to ease the pain and inflammation, break up existing clots and keep new clots from forming.

So if you can, try to avoid crossing your legs for too long. And if you’ve been inactive for a while, remember to always stretch and walk around for a bit.

2. Elevated Blood Pressure

When your legs are crossed, you are temporarily compressing your blood vessels in your lower extremities. This makes it more difficult for blood to flow through your veins naturally and will thus take a longer time to reach your extremities.

This will, in turn, cause a temporary increase in your blood pressure because the restriction of blood flow causes the blood to be pushed back and pressed harder against the other vessels.


And this is why you are asked to rest your arm on the chair or table and keep both feet flat on the ground when you visit the doctor’s office to measure your blood pressure.

For a healthy person, this temporary spike may not cause any permanent damage, but for someone who has been diagnosed with high blood pressure, this could mean severe problems that affect their heart.

3. Nerve Damage

People always say that moderation is key. You can’t eat too much of something, but you can’t do eat too little. Likewise, you can’t do too much of something, and you can’t do too little either.

So, crossing your legs for short amounts of time like during a train ride probably wouldn’t do much harm, but when you do it all the time and even at your desk for long periods of time, chances are, you’re putting yourself at much higher risk of damaging your nerves.

When you sit cross your legs, you are putting pressure on all the nerves, tissues, and blood vessels where they all meet.


You may realise that you’ve been in this position for too long after getting that pins and needles feeling, but when you keep doing this, the pressure can cause your nerves in your extremities to become damaged because your blood is unable to flow to those areas.

This will then result in nerve pain in some areas or even a lack of sensation in others.

4. Back Pain

How does crossing one’s legs affect one’s back?

Well, this has to do with the fact that when you cross your legs, your entire pelvis is in such a position where one side is higher than the other, depending on which leg you cross. This thus causes your spine to be in an unnatural position.

Thus, when you do this for prolonged periods of time, especially when you cross one leg more than the other, it can severely damage your spine. The pain will start from your lower back, and it will slowly move upwards to your neck which will then cause sciatic pain in your arms and legs.

5. Poor Posture

You have probably heard “Sit straight!” or “Stand straight!” at least once in your life. But did you know that crossing your legs will also inadvertently cause you to have poor posture?


So remember how I said in the previous point that when you cross your legs, your pelvis is in a position where one side is higher than the other? This essentially also means that your entire body weight is resting more on one side of your buttocks. This uneven and less stable base causes your body to round your shoulders and hunch over more in order to gain a better balance.

This then gives rise to a poorer posture and you’ll probably find yourself hearing more of the above two phrases as time goes by.

6. Spider Veins

Spider veins and varicose veins are essentially lumpy bluish veins that show through the skin.

While it may be painful, it may not be in most cases and it is more of an aesthetic issue rather than a physical one.

When you stay inactive for too long or cross your legs, it may put pressure on your blood vessels and as a result, cause them to bulge.


So if you don’t want those unsightly veins, perhaps you can try to avoid crossing your legs as much.

Featured Image: Bangkok Click Studio /