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Wearing Skinny Jeans May Cause Nerve Damage
Posted by Dr. Ben Kim on Jun 25, 2015
We have long known that wearing tight clothing can cause damage to the cutaneous nerves that travel just under our skin. A common type of cutaneous nerve damage is called meralgia paraesthetica, which typically occurs when tight pants compress the lateral femoral cutaneous nerve that travels along the upper outer thigh region. Symptoms of meralgia paresthetica include sharp or achy pain, a burning sensation, or a feeling of pins and needles along the outer part of one's thigh anywhere between the hip and knee.
With the growing popularity of skinny jeans, there have been reports of people experiencing severe symptoms of nerve dysfunction caused by encroachment of nerve fibers. Several media outlets recently reported the case of a 35-year old woman who experienced nerve impairment after squatting all day in skinny jeans as she helped a relative move. Her feet became numb at night, and after tripping and becoming immobilized, she was found hours later and taken to the hospital, where her jeans had to be cut off. After a few days of being on an IV, she was able to walk again and return home.
It should be noted that expandable material used for athletic wear like yoga pants and compression sleeves don't pose the same risk of nerve compression. Non-expandable materials don't allow the give that is needed for active muscles to expand, which is what can lead to flushed muscles putting pressure on nerves and blood vessels.
Our thighs, calves, and even our arms and trunk can expand in diameter by inches when we are exercising, so all clothing should allow for some increased volume from extra blood flow. Without a little give in clothing material, we put ourselves at risk of nerve and possible blood vessel damage when we are active.
Put another way, if you have to struggle to put on a pair of pants or you fear the material ripping when you squat down, it's safe to assume that there are better choices for your health.
Please consider sharing this information with family and friends.
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