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Wearing Skinny Jeans Could Lead To Permanent Nerve Damage

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Justine Alford

Guest Author

clockJun 23 2015, 16:30 UTC
700 Wearing Skinny Jeans Could Lead To Permanent Nerve Damage
Elena Dijour/Shutterstock

We know that fashion often takes priority over comfort, because who needs to be able to walk properly when you can look this good? It’s not uncommon to see people strutting, or awkwardly wobbling, around in 7-inch heels, or wearing crop tops in subzero temperatures or teeny tiny shorts that really don’t leave much to the imagination (nobody wants to see your butt cheeks).

But our choices of attire sometimes do more than make locomotion generally awkward, as demonstrated by the latest “fashion victim” case, which even warranted publication in the Journal of Neurology, Neurosurgery & Psychiatry. According to the report, squatting in skinny jeans for prolonged periods of time doesn’t just leave you at risk of that dreaded crotch tear (in the fabric, not the actual groin…), but it could actually cause nerve and muscle damage in the legs.

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The latest individual to have suffered at the hands of unforgivably snug trousers is a 35-year-old woman who recently ended up in hospital experiencing severe weakness in her ankles. The day before she arrived, she had been helping a family member to move house and had spent a significant amount of time squatting to clear out cupboards. As the day progressed, the woman apparently felt her calf-hugging jeans becoming increasingly tight and uncomfortable, to the point where her feet actually started to go numb.

You may think that this would signal the need for a change in attire, stat, but the poor woman started struggling to walk and consequently fell over, and she wasn’t even able to drag herself back up. It took a few hours for her to be found, and by that time her legs were so swollen that her jeans had to be cut off. As she couldn’t feel from the lower leg down and was unable to move her feet properly, doctors decided to investigate what damage the jeans may have done.

According to the report, squatting for such extended periods of time caused compression in the legs, which ultimately damaged both muscle and nerve fibers, but the authors suggest that her jeans probably didn’t help the situation and in fact may have exacerbated the problem. They believe that the jeans could have restricted blood flow to the leg muscles, causing them to swell up and squash her nerves, a condition referred to as “compartment syndrome.” It was actually so bad that the woman was in hospital, on a drip, for four days before she could walk again without assistance.

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OK, so this is one case report: there’s no need to panic and bin the contents of your trouser drawer because of it. We don’t know just how tight her drainpipes were, as there are definitely different degrees of squeeze when it comes to skinny jeans (gentlemen- there is no need to show off your testicles, we know they’re there). That being said, this isn’t the first report of problems arising as a result of wearing overly tight jeans. For example, a survey of male skinny jean-wearers in Britain revealed that half of the respondents experienced discomfort in the groin, more than a quarter suffered bladder problems and one in five even ended up with a twisted testicle.

The take-home message here is not “don’t wear skinny jeans,” but rather “don’t suffer in your clothes just to look good.” Did we learn nothing from corsets?


healthHealth and Medicine
  • tag
  • nerves,

  • fashion,

  • swelling,

  • compartment syndrome,

  • skinny jeans

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