Skinny Jeans: Doctors warn of health-risk after woman admitted to hospital

Skinny jeans have gained status as the favourite fashion staple of trendy women around the world, but now doctors are warning of the health-risks that wearing skinny jeans can cause after a woman suffered serious nerve-damage. The 35 year old Australian woman was admitted to hospital in Adelaide last week as a result of serious nerve-damage in her legs, caused by squatting repeatedly in skinny jeans whilst helping a friend move house.

The woman, who was found collapsed on the ground, had severe swelling and numbness in her lower legs and had to spend 4 days in hospital recovering on an intravenous drip until she was able to walk again. Doctors explained that the tight fabric had cut off the blood supply to her lower legs and if she had not been wearing skinny jeans the condition would not have occurred. The condition, known as ‘compartment syndrome’, was brought on by the tight-fit of the jeans, as the pressure from material on the back of the leg caused the blood supply to the leg muscle to be cut off, causing subsequent swelling of the muscles and compression of the nerves.

“The case represents a new neurological complication of wearing tight jeans. On the day prior to presentation she had been helping a family member move house. This involved many hours of squatting while emptying cupboards. She had been wearing skinny jeans and recalled that her jeans had felt increasingly tight and uncomfortable during the day. Late that evening while walking home she noticed foot drop and foot numbness which caused her to trip and fall. She spent several hours lying on the ground before she was found.” – Thomas Kimber, Associate Professor at the Royal Adelaide Hospital.

This is not the first skinny-jeans related incident. In 2012 doctors in Baltimore, US, reported numerous cases of women being admitted with ‘tingling thigh syndrome’ or meralgia paresthetica. The numbness was brought on by wearing skinny jeans which had compressed a nerve at the top of the thigh, exacerbated by wearing high heels, which cause the pelvis to tip further increasing pressure.

  • Wear loose or stretchy trousers when taking part in physical activity, especially when you may be bending down a lot
  • Looser trousers allow stressed calf muscles to swell outwards without being restricted which can lead to nerve damage
  • If you start to experience any numbness in the leg check that your jeans are not too tight and change into loose-fitting clothing
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