Hipsters beware: skinny jeans could land you in hospital

By / 22nd of June, 2015
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A woman spent four days in hospital recovering from nerve compression syndrome caused by prolonged squatting in her ‘skinny jeans’.

The 35-year-old woman had squatted in her skinny jeans for several hours as she emptied cupboards while helping a relative move house. Later, when walking home, her feet were so numb that she tripped, fell and spent several hours lying on the ground before she was found. 

Both her calves were so swollen that when examined in hospital her jeans could only be removed by cutting them off.

Professor Thomas Edmund Kimber, from the Neurology Unit at the Royal Adelaide Hospital in South Australia  published the case today in the Journal of Neurology Neurosurgery & Psychiatry .

Prof Kimber states that investigations revealed that she had damaged muscle and nerve fibres in her lower legs as a result of prolonged compression while squatting, which her tight jeans had made worse.

The jeans had prompted the development of compartment syndrome—reduced blood supply to the leg muscles, causing swelling of the muscles and compression of the adjacent nerves.

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Fashion victims: skinny jeans could constrict peroneal nerves in your lower legs.

Previous reports of neuropathy – the medical condition caused by direct pressure on a single nerve - from wearing tight jeans have been limited to the big nerve on the thigh. Constricting the peroneal nerves in both lower legs represents a new neurological complication of wearing tight jeans, says Prof Kimber.

The fashion victim was put on an intravenous drip and after four days she could walk unaided again, and was discharged from hospital.

Key contacts

Associate Professor Thomas Edmund Kimber Associate Professor Neurology Unit, Royal Adelaide Hospital / Department of Medicine, University of Adelaide
0419 650 819 thomas.kimber@health.sa.gov.au www.adelaide.edu.au