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Study: Skinny Jeans Cause Nerve, Muscle Damage, Other Health Risks

SAN FRANCISCO (CBS SF) -- Those skinny jeans in your closet might make you feel fashion forward, but doctors warn they could turn you into a fashion victim.

A study just published in the Journal of Neurological, Neurosurgery and Psychiatry says prolonged squatting in skinny jeans cuts off the circulation and causes a condition called 'compartment syndrome.'

Patients experience nerve and muscle damage, dehydration, and if untreated, could suffer severe kidney damage.

Skinny Jeans

In an article entitled, 'Fashion victim: Rhabdomyolysis and Bilateral Peroneal and Tibial Neuropathies,' doctors at the Royal Adelaide Hospital in Australia describe the case of a 35-year-old woman who spent a weekend helping a friend move. She was wearing tight, 'skinny' jeans and "spent many hours squatting while emptying cupboards."

The woman noticed her jeans became "increasingly tight and uncomfortable during the day." Walking home, her feet felt numb. She tripped, fell and "spent several hours lying on the ground before she was found."

Upon examination, doctors observed the woman had lost feeling in her legs and feet, and couldn't move her ankles or toes. Her legs had become so swollen, they literally had to cut the skinny jeans off of her.

In fact, the woman was experiencing a classic case of compression syndrome. Over the course of several hours, the skinny jeans had cut off the blood supply to her leg muscles. "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."

Doctors put the woman on an intravenous drip for four days. When she was finally discharged, she was able to walk out of the hospital unassisted.

Skinny Jeans
Skinny Jeans

The study warns men and woman who wear skinny jeans not to squat for any length of time. if they do begin to experience any discomfort -- swelling, numbness or tingling -- they should immediately stand up and walk around.

Skinny jeans are a fashion staple in many wardrobes. They not only come in classic 'blue jean' denim, the skinny cut comes in all colors and fabrics. The study doesn't say people should stop wearing skinny pants entirely. Perhaps the best way to avoid becoming a fashion victim is to wear loose jeans or stretch pants whenever squatting is required. Save those 'skinnies' when there's a slim chance any bending or squatting is required.

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