The Heavy Dangers of Skinny Jeans

Squatting in skinny jeans may cause serious damage to leg muscles

They may help you look slimmer and accentuate your shape, but if you plan to squat or drop it like it's hot while wearing them, you could end up the next fashion "victim" of skinny jeans.

A recent case study by Thomas Edmund Kimber, MD, a professor in the neurology unit of the Royal Adelaide Hospital in Australia, reported that one woman who wore skinny jeans while helping a family member move — a job that involved hours squatting on the floor emptying cupboards — ended up hospitalized with severe muscle damage and was unable to walk for four days.

“I felt that the medical community, and the wider community, should be made aware of this potential risk of squatting for a long period of time while wearing skinny jeans,” Dr. Kimber told dailyRx News. “Skinny jeans are a very popular item of clothing, so this could potentially happen to someone else.”

The 35-year-old woman, who was Dr. Kimber's patient, told her doctors that she became very uncomfortable as the day went on. By evening, her feet were numb and she could barely walk — causing her to trip and fall. Unable to get up, she then spent several hours lying on the ground.

When she arrived at the Royal Adelaide Hospital, her calves were so swollen that she had to be cut out of her skinny jeans.

According to Dr. Kimber, the tight jeans kept the blood supply from reaching her leg muscles, which caused the swelling.

“She had severe foot and ankle weakness and severe muscle damage (rhabdomyolysis)," Dr. Kimber said. "Fortunately, she has now made a full recovery."

In his case study, Dr. Kimber warned that skinny jeans and squatting shouldn't mix — as it was this combination that seemed to damage the muscle and nerve fibers in this woman's lower legs.

But there may not be a reason to ditch the skinny jeans just yet. According to Dr. Kimber, skinny jeans wearers should simply be mindful of the risks of squatting in them for extended periods of time.

“I would like people to be aware that they should avoid squatting for long periods of time while wearing skinny jeans," Dr. Kimber said. "Preferably, they should wear looser pants, or ones with more elasticity (e.g. Lycra) while doing so. If people experience leg discomfort or tingling while squatting in skinny jeans, they should stand up and walk around ASAP."

This study was published June 22 in the Journal of Neurology, Neurosurgery & Psychiatry.

No conflicts of interest or funding sources were disclosed.