Skinny Jeans Are Not Only Bad To Look At, Turns Out They’re Bad For Your Health

Bad news for skaters, hipsters, and emo teens: New data shows that wearing skinny jeans is linked to back pain. But the good news is that you’ve now got a legitimate excuse to break out the sweats.

According to consumer research collected by the British Chiropractic Association, 73 percent of women have suffered from back pain because of wearing certain items of clothing, and the number one culprit is skinny jeans. That’s because outfits that are too tight or stiff limit a person’s range of motion. Not being able to move freely adds more pressure and strain to the back, neck, and shoulder, potentially increasing the risk of pain and injury.

“Whilst we are certainly not saying stop wearing your favorite clothes altogether like most things in life, moderation is best and there are easy ways you can reduce the impact on your posture and overall health,” BCA chiropractor Tim Hutchful said in a statement.

According to the study, other clothing items that affect back pain include oversized bags and those worn on one side of the body, coats with large hoods, high heels, and backless shoes.

While the conclusions from the BCA study may make intuitive sense, keep in mind that it isn’t clear how many people were surveyed. It bears reminding that chiropractic practice is a focus on holistic health, and the strongest evidence supporting it involves treating back pain. Some people have questioned the legitimacy of chiropractic medicine — it’s considered a form of “alternative” medicine — but there is some research supporting its usefulness in treating certain ailments.

Conclusive or not, the study is a good reminder that clothing choices can affect physical well-being. Fortunately, not all is lost if you want to keep wearing skinny jeans — there are other ways to improve your posture and reduce back pain. First, try limiting the number of times you wear tight pants per week to give your back a break. By changing up your style, it shifts the stress on your body (and boosts your fashion cred, to boot). Wearing loose clothes will also let your body move around more freely. And if you must carry around a heavy handbag, take unnecessary items out, alternate the shoulder you wear it on, or wear a backpack to evenly distribute the weight across both shoulders.

“While overloaded and heavy handbags are a common culprit, some more unexpected items like skinny jeans can also wreak havoc – they restrict free movement in areas such as the hips and knees, affecting the way we hold our bodies,” Hutchful said.

You know what doesn’t restrict free movement in your hips and knees? Sweats. So next time people try to sartorially shame you for wearing sweats in public, tell them it’s because of science.

Thanks Doc… Doctors Warn of Skinny Jeans Health Hazards

If you’ve wondered whether there’s a downside to wearing super-skinny jeans, this story’s for you.

A 35-year-old Australian woman wound up in the hospital after wearing skinny jeans while helping a family member move.

The move involved “many hours of squatting while emptying cupboards,” according to a report published Monday in the journal Neurology, Neurosurgery & Psychiatry.

As the day went on, those jeans were making her increasingly uncomfortable. But it wasn’t until that evening that the situation went south. As she walked home, the woman found herself struggling to lift her increasingly numb feet.

She fell to the ground, and lay there for several hours before she was found and taken to the Royal Adelaide Hospital.

At the hospital, the woman’s legs were so swollen that staff had to cut off her jeans.

Neurologists tried to figure out what had gone wrong. Tests revealed that she had almost no muscle strength in her ankles and toes, while the muscles of her hips and knees was normal. A CT scan of her legs showed signs of muscle damage in the calves.

Tests of the tibial nerves, which provide movement and sensation to the calf and foot, and the peroneal nerves, which run from the outside of the knee down to the foot and ankle, showed they weren’t sending signals properly.

That was the clue. Nerve damage can be caused by pressure. In the case of the peroneal nerves, that can include pressure from crossing the legs, wearing high boots or squatting. (Previous research refers to “strawberry pickers’ palsy.”)

“The wearing of ‘skinny’ jeans had likely potentiated the tibial neuropathies by causing a compartment syndrome as the lower leg swelled,” the report concluded.

Not good. The swelling of compartment syndrome can lead to permanent muscle and nerve damage, or amputation.

In this case, the victim fared better. After four days in the hospital on intravenous fluids, she regained her ability to walk and went home. No word on whether she’s ever donned skinny jeans again.

This isn’t the first time we’ve reported on the perils of excessively tight trousers. In 2011, a doctor in Tarrytown, N.Y., reported on a 15-year-old soccer player who had numbness and tingling in her leg caused by wearing compression shorts.

In some cases, the only damage tight clothes will do is to your wallet.

Last fall, the Federal Trade Commission ordered to two companies to stop selling caffeine-infused shapewear, saying that the amped-up skivvies would not, as one firm claimed, “reduce the size of your hips by up to 2.1 inches and your thighs by up to one inch, and would eliminate or reduce cellulite and that scientific tests proved those results.”

The FTC disputed that claim, and ordered the companies to fork over $1.5 million to customers who had been lured in by the promise of effortless shrinkage.