Squatting in skinny jeans caused a woman to suffer from damage to nerve and muscle fibres in her legs and feet, doctors have warned.
The 35-year-old woman arrived in hospital with severe weakness in both her ankles. A day earlier, she had been helping a relative move house – during which time she spent many hours emptying cupboards in a squat position.
During the day, she had been wearing a pair of skinny jeans. She later told doctors they had felt increasingly tight and uncomfortable as the day had gone on.
That evening, she started to experience difficulty walking and numbness. She tripped and fell and spent several hours lying on the floor, unable to get up. When she was found, her calves were so swollen the jeans had to be cut off. She could not move her ankles or toes and had lost feeling in her lower legs and feet.
Publishing the case in the Journal of Neurology Neurosurgery and Psychiatry, doctors noted the woman had suffered damage to the muscle and nerve fibres in her lower legs. This had been caused by prolonged compression while squatting – a problem seemingly exacerbated by the tight jeans.
"On examination, her lower legs were markedly oedematous bilaterally, worse on the right side, and her jeans could only be removed by cutting them off. There was bilateral, severe global weakness of ankle and toe movements, somewhat more marked on the right," the doctors wrote.
"The patient was treated with intravenous hydration. The oedema and neurological function of her lower limbs improved significantly, such that at the time of discharge four days later she was able to walk unaided."
They said that while peroneal neuropathies – which she was diagnosed with – can be caused by a range of factors, they believe the squatting combined with the skinny jeans were the main factors.
They added: "The wearing of 'skinny' jeans had likely potentiated the tibial neuropathies by causing a compartment syndrome as the lower legs swelled. Previous reports of neuropathy from wearing tight jeans have been limited to lesions of the lateral cutaneous nerve of the thigh, likely caused by compression of the nerve at the inguinal ligament.
"The present case represents a new neurological complication of wearing tight jeans."