Doctors say skinny jeans can seriously damage muscles, nerves
THEY are in vogue. Most boys and girls, men and women jump into any one they can find. The fashion craze has caught up with Nigerians. They are a staple in any fashion-conscious woman’s wardrobe, coming in a rainbow of colours and shades, giving them the power to transcend the seasons. Celebrities love them and women of all ages rely on them to add a little glamour to any outfit.
But, experts yesterday warned that trousers that are too tight can cause health problems, triggering ‘compartment syndrome’, causing damage to the nerves and muscles in the legs.
A 35-year-old woman had to be cut out of a pair after her calves ballooned in size, the medics said in the Journal of Neurology, Neurosurgery and Psychiatry. She had spent hours squatting to empty cupboards for a house move in Australia. By evening, her feet were numb and she found it hard to walk.
Doctors believe the woman developed a condition called compartment syndrome, made worse by her skinny jeans. Compartment syndrome is a painful and potentially serious condition caused by bleeding or swelling within an enclosed bundle of muscles – in this case, the calves. The condition caused the woman to trip and fall and, unable to get up, she then spent several hours lying on the ground.
On examination at the Royal Adelaide Hospital, her lower legs were severely swollen. Although her feet were warm and had enough blood supplying them, her muscles were weak and she had lost some feeling. As the pressure had built in her lower legs, her muscles and nerves became damaged.
She was put on an intravenous drip and after four days was able to walk unaided. Other medics have reported a number of cases where patients have developed tingly, numb thighs from wearing the figure-hugging low-cut denim trousers – although the chance of it happening is still slim for most people. Priya Dasoju, professional adviser at the Chartered Society of Physiotherapy, told BBC: “As with many of these warnings, the very unfortunate case highlighted is an extreme one.
“There’s no need to ditch the skinny jeans just yet, simply avoid staying in the same position for too long and keep moving throughout the day. If you do suffer any prolonged pain you should of course seek help, but no-one should be alarmed by this warning or change the cut of their jeans.” Physiotherapist Sammy Margo warns, like leggings before them, skinny jeans could be making you fat, exacerbating the obesity crisis.
She said by pulling in your flab, skinny jeans create the illusion that you are slimmer than you are in reality and may dissuade lull you into the false sense of security that you don’t need to exercise The popular garments can make the muscles ‘lazy’, and result in flabby stomachs, muffin tops and wobbly legs. Margo told MailOnline: “Skinny jeans feel good and look great and I am as addicted to them as anyone, but there is a downside.”
“They hold in and support the quadriceps (thigh muscles), buttocks and core muscles in your tummy, and do the job the muscles are supposed to do.
“As a result, the muscles are allowed to relax and switch off, so when we reveal our bodies for the first time as summer approaches, they are not as svelte or firm as they otherwise would be.” She added: “The compressions from skinny jeans pulls your insides in, making you look and feel as though you are slimmer. This alone may well de-incentivise you to exercise because you think you look great with your clothes on.
“But, as summer approaches and you take your jeans off, it is likely you will see your legs don’t look as good as you had thought. Your skinny jeans will expand with your muffin top and stomach, not alerting you to the fact you’re putting on weight.”
Skinny jeans are particularly tight around the stomach, hips, knees and ankles, causing a build up of pressure in these areas, if they are worn for a long time, Margo noted. She said while compression garments are widely used by sportsmen and women to increase their performance, these high-tech items of clothing are very different to skinny jeans. “There is an argument to say compression clothing is beneficial,” she told MailOnline.
“But this is only true in very specific cases. Athletes are encouraged to wear them because they can aid recovery from injury and optimise performance.
“But these items are tapered throughout the leg, taking into account the shape of leg and giving support in the right places. Skinny jeans on the other hand, unfortunately don’t taper and so there are danger points, particularly at the hips and waist.
“If you do a lot of squatting over a prolonged period of time in skinny jeans, there is therefore an increased risk of damaging the muscles and nerves in the leg, known as compartment syndrome.
The pressure reduces the blood flow to the muscles in the legs and causes pathological damage, though it is extreme.” And she warned it is not just those people who are regularly squatting in their skinny jeans – perhaps to pick up their child – that need to be cautious. “Someone who sits for long periods of the day at work in their skinny jeans, should make sure they get up and regularly move about,” she told MailOnline.
“After a day wearing them you may get a build-up of blood around the knees. It’s the same message really, just reiterating how important it is for people to get moving.
ARE SKINNY JEANS AS BAD AS SITTING? “We’re hearing more and more about the dangers of sitting down for long periods of time, and this is just another factor to consider.
Standing up you burn 0.7 per cent more calories per minute than you do sitting. “So, the message is it is vitally important to keep moving, especially if you’re wearing your skinny jeans.” But, despite the warnings, Ms Margo said it is important not to be too alarmist. “This is not about telling people not to wear their skinny jeans,” she told MailOnline.
“Rather it is about making sure you are aware your favourite pair could be disguising your weight gain and keeping your obesity hidden. It’s that out of sight, out of mind mentality – if you can’t see your legs changing shape, you won’t realise the gravity of the situation.
“Hiding the bits of our bodies that we don’t like is natural, but it is important to be careful not to let your weight get out of hand. It can make you feel good, and as a result you are less likely to then have the motivation to go to the gym or exercise. It’s a vicious circle.”
Margo added: “Skinny jeans hide the bits of our bodies we don’t like, such as the cellulite on our legs or our “muffin top”, so we are able to ignore the problem and we are less motivated to exercise these parts.”
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