Sometimes when I cross my legs, my leg goes numb. This also happens when I sit, "Indian-style". Googling for "don't cross your legs" results in a page proclaiming,

People who are habitual leg-crossers have more acid crystals stored in the feet than those who never cross their legs. Crossing the legs is one of the worst postural habits of man. It throws the hips, spine and head off balance and it’s the most common cause of chronic backaches, headaches and varicose veins.

So is there evidence that crossing your legs, regular style or Indian style when you're sitting affects your health? Assume that a person always crosses their legs when they sit, the male or female way or Indian style way.

  • To be clear, "male crossing" would be ankle on opposite knee, "female crossing" would be back of knee on opposite leg and "Indian style" would be cross-crossed much like folding your arms. Is this correct? – MrHen May 20 '11 at 15:09
  • Yea that's correct. – QEntanglement May 21 '11 at 1:33
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    Voted off-topic-- I don't think this addresses any claim or belief. – Jason Plank May 21 '11 at 2:54
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    I think it may be on topic because parents always tell you to sit properly. For girls its crossing your legs! Doesn't crossing your legs lead to the veiny things that appear on old women? You know that gross green veins that accumulate on the calf muscles? Couldn't this be due to crossing your legs? – QEntanglement May 21 '11 at 4:36
  • I like to cross my legs very much. But in e.g. GRU (it's the most terrible Russian intelligence service) was/is banned to cross legs - cause this crossing prevents blood circulation in legs – user4041 Jul 17 '11 at 3:00

No. General medical consensus appears to be that vericose veins are caused by congenitally weak valves in the veins. The condition can be exacerbated by standing, but there are no references to sitting in any particular style.

Many theories exist for why varicosities occur in veins, but the consensus is that defective/damaged valves within the veins are to blame. Valves prevent backward flow of blood within the vein. They keep blood in the vein moving toward the heart. Why the valves stop working is up for debate.

Acid crystals are caused by high levels of uric acid in the blood serum, so how one sits would not be indicated as a cause.

"Bad posture" isn't a medical condition. (Personally, I think it's unlikely that the brilliant machine we call the human body is so stupid it can't sit any way it feels comfortable without doing terrible damage to itself.) Most information on bad posture is anecdotal at best; either there's a diagnosed error in the formation of the body or there isn't.

  • +1 for Personally, I think it's unlikely that the brilliant machine we call the human body is so stupid it can't sit any way it feels comfortable without doing terrible damage to itself. I can't sit down without crossing my legs somehow, and with no lasting problems. – rybo111 Dec 24 '13 at 0:12

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protected by Sklivvz Jul 17 '11 at 21:34

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