Skinny Jeans Took a Tight Toll on This Lady's Legs

Medically Reviewed by Hansa D. Bhargava, MD on June 23, 2015
From the WebMD Archives

June 23, 2015 -- Squatting for a long time while wearing skinny jeans can damage muscles and nerves in the legs, according to a new case study published in the Journal of Neurology, Neurosurgery and Psychiatry.

The study, called “Fashion Victim,” described a 35-year-old woman in Australia who found herself unable to walk after helping a family member move. She'd spent many hours squatting while emptying cupboards.

Her skinny jeans felt increasingly tight and uncomfortable during the day, the case study says. That evening, while walking home, she felt her feet go numb and weak. As a result, she tripped, fell, and couldn't get up again. 

She was taken to a hospital, where her jeans had to be cut off. The woman’s calves were swollen and she couldn’t move her ankles or toes properly. She also had less feeling in her lower legs.

The doctors found that she had damaged muscles and nerve fibers as a result of squatting for a long time. The skinny jeans had made the problem worse.

Squatting for extended periods is known to cause problems with the peroneal nerve at the top of the calf on the outside of the knee. But this is the first time a squat has been shown to also damage the tibial nerve, one of the lower branches of the sciatic nerve in the leg. The extra damage was likely to have been the result of squatting in tight jeans, the authors of the case study concluded.

The woman recovered after spending 4 days in the hospital. The study didn’t mention whether she had any long-term effects.