LIFE

Crossing Your Legs: The Truths And Myths Finally Revealed

by Phil Mutz
Phil is an Editor at LittleThings. He loves writing and the outdoors. You can often find him at the movies or the park.

Whenever I’m trying to get comfortable in a chair, I tend to go through a variety of positions. I’ll try sitting up straight, I’ll try sticking my feet out, I’ll try sitting low in my chair, and I’ll usually try crossing my legs.

And while I don’t necessarily spend hours with my legs crossed, I have become quite concerned by some of the “rumors” I’ve heard over the years about the negative effects of this sitting position.

I’ve heard that crossing your legs creates varicose veins, raises your blood pressure, and can even cause nerve damage in the feet. But which of these is true and which is simply a myth?

In this exclusive piece, some of these myths will finally be put to bed once and for all, while others will finally be confirmed as truth.

I couldn’t believe how many of these leg crossing “rumors” have actually been the subject of extensive scientific study — the results truly took me by surprise!

As with anything, you should always consult your doctor about health-related questions you might have. But after reading this, will you still sit with your legs crossed? I’m not so sure…

Scroll through below to see which claims are true and which are myths, and let us know what you think in the comments!

Truth Or Myth: Crossing Your Legs Can Cause Blood Clots

Truth Or Myth: Crossing Your Legs Can Cause Blood Clots
Tayra Lucero for LittleThings

Truth! Studies have shown that it is possible for leg-crossing to cut off blood flow, potentially leading to a blood clot.

According to the BBC, “People at high risk of blood clots are advised not to cross their legs for long periods of time because for them, impeding the flow of blood could increase their risk of a deep vein thrombosis.”

They continue that this is a result of “crossed legs pushing blood up to the heart.”

Truth Or Myth: Crossing Your Legs Can Damage The Nerves In Your Feet

Truth Or Myth: Crossing Your Legs Can Damage The Nerves In Your Feet
Tayra Lucero for LittleThings

Truth! The nerves that control leg and foot function can actually be damaged from frequently keeping your legs crossed.

According to the U.S. National Library of Medicine, “The peroneal nerve is a branch of the sciatic nerve, which supplies movement and sensation to the lower leg, foot and toes.

“Common causes of damage to the peroneal nerve include… crossing the legs regularly.”

Truth Or Myth: Crossing Your Legs Can Cause Varicose Veins

Truth Or Myth: Crossing Your Legs Can Cause Varicose Veins
Tayra Lucero for LittleThings

Myth! In spite of all of the claims that crossing your legs can cause varicose veins, the evidence is inconclusive at best. Most doctors believe it is not a factor.

According to Medical Daily, when it comes to varicose veins, “age, genetics, obesity, and pregnancy are all risk factors…”

One thing doctors can agree on, however, is that they’re not caused by crossing your legs, despite popular belief.

Truth Or Myth: Crossing Your Legs Can Be Bad For Your Posture

Truth Or Myth: Crossing Your Legs Can Be Bad For Your Posture
Tayra Lucero for LittleThings

Myth! While bad posture can occur while sitting cross-legged, leading to painful side effects, the position of your legs is not actually causing the bad posture.

According to the Conversation, “Leg crossing has also been suggested to lead to bad posture… But what is cause and effect is unclear, and it may be that sitting in bad chairs for long periods is more to blame than what we are doing with our legs to cope.”

Truth Or Myth: Crossing Your Legs Can Raise Your Blood Pressure

Truth Or Myth: Crossing Your Legs Can Raise Your Blood Pressure
Tayra Lucero for LittleThings

Truth! While crossing your legs won’t necessarily increase your long-term blood pressure, it can cause it to increase in the short term.

According to a 2007 study published by the National Center for Biotechnology Information, “Blood pressure increased when legs were crossed at the knee in the sitting position.”

However, not all leg-crossing is as bad as the knee cross. They went on, “No significant increase of blood pressure was found when crossing the legs at the ankles.”

 

Truth Or Myth: Crossing Your Legs Can Create Excess Hip Joint Pressure

Truth Or Myth: Crossing Your Legs Can Create Excess Hip Joint Pressure
Tayra Lucero for LittleThings

Myth! Contrary to some claims, leg-crossing is not actually increasing hip joint pressure, but rather strengthening the pelvis.

According to a study cited by the BBC: “Crossing the legs at the knee increased elongation in the piriformis muscle running behind the hip joint by 11% when compared with sitting with legs uncrossed, and by 21% when compared with standing…

“The authors believe that this increases stability in their pelvic joints.”

Truth Or Myth: Crossing Your Legs Can Cause Back And Neck Pain

Truth Or Myth: Crossing Your Legs Can Cause Back And Neck Pain
Tayra Lucero for LittleThings

Truth! Crossing your legs can, indeed, have negative effects on your back and neck.

Yahoo Health spoke with physical therapist Vivian Eisenstadt. They write: “Crossing your legs is just asking for back and neck pain.

“It puts unnecessary pressure on your neck and lower and middle back when it’s rotated and unstable. And the longer you sit with your legs crossed, the more pressure you put on your spine, which increases the odds you’ll develop an issue.”

Knowing the truth behind leg-crossing can finally put to rest some of the more rampant rumors, such as causing varicose veins.

However, with so many true side effects, it might just be a good idea to limit the amount of time you keep them crossed!

Will you still be crossing your legs after reading this? What other truths and myths have you heard about crossing your legs? Let us know in the comments.

Please SHARE this helpful information with anyone who loves to keep their legs crossed!