LOVERS of fashionably tight jeans are being warned about the dangers of their denim after an Australian woman became seriously ill, collapsed and was unable to walk after wearing a pair of skinny jeans.
The 35-year-old lost all feeling in her legs and was trapped for hours lying on the ground when her tight jeans cut off the blood supply to her legs.
After a day of squatting as she helped a relative move house while wearing skinny jeans, the Adelaide woman’s feet went numb and she collapsed, unable to move. It was several hours before she was found and taken to Royal Adelaide Hospital.
With her legs dangerously swollen, emergency doctors had to cut off her jeans. They found the damage to the muscles and nerves in her lower legs was so severe it took her four days on a drip to recover the full use of her legs and protect her kidneys from lasting damage.
Neurologist Thomas Kimber, who treated the woman, said the combination of squatting and tight jeans caused “compartment syndrome”, leading to swelling of her muscles and compression of her nerves.
Australian Orthopaedic Association vice president Andreas Loefler said this was the first case of compartment syndrome he had heard about caused by skinny jeans, but believes there could be more to come.
“I have not heard of this being an issue with skinny jeans but it is an issue with tight bandages and plaster casts,” he said.
“There’s just not enough blood supply to the muscles and some muscles actually die, which is why it’s such a serious issue.
Genevieve Kennedy, 24, from Paddington, said she enjoyed skinny jeans. “I’ve never heard of anything like that happening to anyone,” she said. “It makes me wonder how tight they were.”
Georgia Gray, 22, from Balmain, said she liked the style and fit of her skinny jeans. “I’ve been wearing them since I was a teenager and I’ve never had any issues with them being too tight. (If I was being more active) I would probably stick to leggings or shorts.”
Major retailers contacted by the Daily Telegraph — Just Jeans, Jeans West and Levi’s — all declined to comment on the issue.
Discussing the patient in the Journal of Neurology Neurosurgery & Psychiatry, Prof Kimber said wearing shorts or loose clothing while squatting usually allowed stressed calf muscles to swell outwards without impacting on nerves.
But the woman’s jeans prevented her legs expanding, forcing her muscles to compress downwards and crush her nerves.
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