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Surprising Science

Beware of ‘Tight Jean Syndrome’ Whilst Wearing Skinny Jeans

Consider the following tale of fashion gone wrong.

Kate Baggaley of Braindecoder reports on a skinny jean worst-case scenario, and it has nothing to do with whether or not they flatter your figure (this isn’t Cosmo after all).

A 35-year-old woman in Australia collapsed to the ground a day after she helped a relative move. For a majority of the day, she spent her time in a squatting position — her skinny jeans constricting her legs and damaging her nerve fibers.

The researchers write in their paper that the patient “recalled that her jeans had felt increasingly tight and uncomfortable during the day. Later that evening, while walking home, she noticed bilateral foot drop and foot numbness, which caused her to trip and fall. She spent several hours lying on the ground before she was found.”

When she was brought into the hospital, her jeans had to be cut off. The doctors present found symptoms of necrosis in the muscle fibers of her lower legs. The nerves responsible for sensations and movement were not communicating. This condition has a name: tight jean syndrome.

It’s caused by the tightness of the jeans cutting off blood flow to the legs, causing them to swell and put pressure on nerve and muscle fibers. However, this was an extreme case. Previous incidents had “been limited to lesions of the lateral cutaneous nerve of the thigh, likely caused by compression of the nerve at the inguinal ligament. The present case represents a new neurological complication of wearing tight jeans.”

Fortunately, this story has a happy ending: The woman was able to walk herself out of the hospital four days later with one less pair of skinny jeans.

Read the summary at Braindecoder or read the full study in the Journal of Neurology, Neurosurgery & Psychiatry.

Photo Credit: Shutterstock


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