Russell Brand Take Note: Skinny Jeans Are Bad for Your Health

They have been the uniform of choice for more than a decade of indie pop stars, off-duty supermodels and Russell Brand, but if that wasn’t enough of a warning sign, scientists now have the evidence: skinny jeans can be bad for your health.

That, at least, was the case for one woman in Australia who collapsed and was hospitalised for four days after damaging her nerves and muscles by squatting while wearing tight jeans.

The 35-year-old woman, whose case is described in the Journal of Neurology, Neurosurgery and Psychiatry, was helping a friend move house and squatting in front of cupboards, when she first noticed her jeans becoming increasingly tight and uncomfortable.

As she walked home later that evening, the woman noticed that her feet were numb and she found it difficult to walk, which caused her to trip and fall. Unable to get up, she then spent several hours lying on the ground before she was found.

By the time she arrived in hospital, the woman’s calves had become so swollen her jeans had to be cut away from her legs. She could not move her ankles or toes properly and had lost feeling in her lower legs and feet.

A CT scan showed that the woman’s calves were markedly swollen with fluid, and showed signs of myonecrosis, or dying muscle tissue.

According to the authors of the report, who are based at the Royal Adelaide hospital, the woman was found to have damaged muscle and nerve fibres in her lower legs as a result of prolonged compression while squatting, which they believed had been exacerbated by her choice of trouser.

“The wearing of ‘skinny’ jeans had likely potentiated the tibial neuropathies by causing a compartment syndrome as the lower legs swelled,” according to the report’s authors.

She was put on an intravenous drip and recovered her ability to walk only four days later, notes the report, entitled “Fashion victim: rhabdomyolysis and bilateral peroneal and tibial neuropathies as a result of squatting in ‘skinny jeans’.”

While doctors have recorded previous instances of lesions to the thigh nerves caused by wearing very tight trousers, the report’s authors note, “The present case represents a new neurological complication of wearing tight jeans.” 

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