Sit up straight. Cross your legs. Don’t cross your legs. Don’t manspread. Ah, the joys of social graces and how to sit. We do not intend to go Grandma on you and lecture you about sitting etiquette. Not this time.

Instead we’ll give you something to think about when it comes to sitting. Pause. This isn’t a spotlight on  living a sedentary lifestyle but about sitting with your legs crossed – at the knee. We all do it casually and sometimes don’t even realize it. It’s okay if you are good on that subject and don’t want anybody telling you how to sit, where to sit, who to sit with, or whether to sit at all.

We’re still sharing this video from Bright Side about how sitting crossed-legged can impact your physical health. It’s not just about varicose veins either. If you’ve ever been confused about the knee cross and whether you should avoid it, then you’ll want to watch the clip below. Let’s check out a few reasons to cut the knee cross off if you do it regularly.


You know the feeling when your arm or leg “falls asleep”? Sitting with one leg over the other can put pressure on the peroneal nerve, leading to peroneal nerve palsy. Regularly crossing your legs can cause long term damage. Symptoms of peroneal nerve damage or injury include numbness or tingling in the leg or foot, dropped foot, toe dragging, or trouble walking.

Image of man with legs crossed.Bright Side
Blood Pressure Bumps Up

Verified by a 2007 NIH study, the blood pressure does increase when you sit with your legs crossed at the knee, but not at the ankles. Further studies in 2010 also documented a temporary spike in BP with people who sat cross-legged. The numbers were higher for those already being treated for hypertension.

The blood is sent upwards to the chest, creating an excess amount that the heart has to pump out. Another idea is that the body reads leg crossing as an exercise that causes a slowdown in blood passing freely through vessels. The pressure builds up.

Generally, your blood pressure can fluctuate throughout the day, but for people with underlying health problems crossing your legs for extended periods of time will affect your blood’s circulation.

Achy Neck

You’re placing extra pressure on the spine and neck when you sit with your legs crossed at the knee. You ended up leaning your body to one side. With your weight shifted and posture off kilter, you could be looking at an issue with soreness or pain anywhere in the neck, back, hips, or spine.

Watch the video to hear the other reasons knee crossing might not be all that grand. In most cases it will take repeated instances of sitting in this position for you to have long term issues or warrant a visit to a chiropractor. However, be mindful of how long and often you engage in this habit.

An alternative? Sitting with your legs crossed at the ankles, or not crossing them at all. If you opt for the latter, please don’t manspread all over the place.

How often do you sit with your leg crossed over the knee? Have you noticed any of the issues mentioned in this video? Share with us in the comments!