Skinny jeans put woman in hospital, says neurologist

In a fascinating medical conclusion, an Australian neurologist says skinny jeans caused such weakness in a woman's ankles that she spent several hours lying on the ground.

Chris Matyszczyk
3 min read

Technically Incorrect offers a slightly twisted take on the tech that's taken over our lives.

They can make you fall over in the street. WISH-TV/YouTube screenshot by Chris Matyszczyk/CNET

I have large thighs and calves.

No, I never thought I'd begin an article with those words, but life has a way of turning one's words in strange directions.

Back to my thighs and calves. When I wear skinny jeans, I find a certain tightness occurring, one that seems to make my thighs and calves expand and feel a touch unhappy.

Now I realize that I'm lucky I've never fallen over. A newly published article in the Journal of Neurology, Neurosurgery and Psychiatry suggests that skinny jeans can make your feet go numb.

The article is entitled "Fashion victim: rhabdomyolysis and bilateral peroneal and tibial neuropathies as a result of squatting in 'skinny jeans.'"

In it, neurologist Thomas Edmund Kimber of Australia's University of Adelaide says he encountered a 35-year-old woman who was suffering severe weakness in her ankles.

The previous day, she'd been helping a friend move house. She'd been squatting a lot. She admitted that her jeans were beginning to feel more uncomfortable. Well, they would, wouldn't they?

But on her way home, she experienced "bilateral foot drop and foot numbness, which caused her to trip and fall." She lay on the ground for several hours before she was discovered.

Kimber told ABC radio in Australia: "It was dark and quite late at night and she was unable to stand up again, and really was there for some time before she could crawl to the side of the road, hail a cab and bring herself to the Royal Adelaide Hospital."

What Kimber saw when he examined her was that her lower legs were filled with fluid -- medical term: oedematous. Her jeans had to be cut off. Not as in cut-offs, but as in cut off to be removed from her body.

She was hospitalized for four days.

Kimber explained: "She had really cut off the blood supply to her calf muscles, they had become massively swollen, and as a result of that she had suffered compression to two of the major nerves in her lower leg and had developed this leg weakness."

What did he do to help her? "She had quite severe ankle and foot weakness for several days and she'd suffered quite significant calf muscle injury and, as a result of that, some proteins are released into her blood stream and she needed to be on an intravenous drip to flush those proteins through so that she wouldn't develop any damage to her kidneys," he said.

I can't remember whether skinny jeans are in or out this week. I do know that a lot of techie types wear them, so I guess they're out.

So please, if you happen to be wearing them and find a need for squatting -- I understand that if you misbehave at Facebook they make you squat in a corner while balancing on a skateboard -- please remove your jeans before it's too late.

Though this woman made a full recovery, you really don't want to be falling over in the street just because of your jeans.

It's a terrible look. It's even worse than walking and texting and getting your leg stuck in a drain.