Skinny jeans can hinder the blood circulation of your legs. At least, that's what a few Australian scientists claim. But neurologist Evelien Vancaester, who works for the AZ Groeninge hospital in Belgium, does not fully agree.
A 35-year old woman from Australia made it to the news worldwide last Tuesday: she was moving while wearing skinny jeans, was working in a crouched position for hours, could barely walk afterwards and her legs were even temporarily paralyzed. In a case-study 'Fashion Victim', which appeared in the Journal of Neurology, Neurosurgery & Psychiatry, the doctors down-under discussed a link between the garment and the bent legs. But blaming the skinny jeans, is pushing it too far, according to Evelien Vancaester.
"The lady noticed that her feet were numb and she had trouble lifting them off the ground, a phenomenon that is described in the medical world as ‘dropfoot’. The patient's lower legs were swollen, presumably because of the lengthy exertion and possibly because of the heat as well. This put pressure on the nervus peroneus, a nerve which connects the thigh to the lower leg along the calf bone, and which is very sensitive to external pressure", the neurologist says. "The swelling put immediate pressure on the muscles, muscle degradation enzymes showed in her blood and a nerve that is located in those muscles was under pressure", she adds.
"This lady's medical problem originally came from the swelling in her legs and feet, but the tight pants will not have done much good, because they leave little space for the swelling. However, claiming that skinny jeans can cause problems like this is exaggerated and inaccurate", she says. Other classic causes for such pressure on this nerve can be caused by a plaster cast and keeping your legs crossed for a long time. Skinny people who have to stay in bed face similar problems. "This happens a lot, really, but it is typically a reversible process", Vancaester says.
In the research the doctors focus briefly on the relation between tight clothing and the pressure on the so-called nervus cutaneus lateralis, which can cause a painful tingling sensation on the side of the thigh. This is a burning pain on the outer flank of the thighs, which is caused by pressure on a small, local nerve which is located in the groin. But the skinny jeans do not carry all the blame. This phenomenon is prevalent among obese people (pressure from the stomach inward), people who gain a lot of weight in a short period of time (pregnant women) and people who wear tight belts.