Skinny jeans, leggings, jeggings, high heels, ballet flats, “boots with the fur” (flat, fur-lined boots, that is), heavy handbags or backpacks, big-hoop earrings, body piercings and more. All of them have the potential to negatively affect your health. Here’s a rundown on them:
Whether you like them or not, skinny jeans are still around—and both women and men wear them. The problem is that wearing skinny jeans can lead to something called meralgia parethetica, which occurs over time and results in the compression of superficial nerves that supply sensation to the lateral thighs, causing tingling, pain and numbness. For men, skinny jeans and pants can lead to reduced sperm count.
Then there are leggings and jeggings, two popular items as well. They look good and are comfy, but can also have a downside. Since the leggings/jeggings can act to hold the buttock, thigh and core muscles of the tummy in the same way as the muscles themselves would work, those muscles can “switch off” and relax—not doing the tightening work they are designed to do, leading to lack of muscle tone or strength in those areas of the body. Since leggings are made of tight material, they can also restrict proper circulation of air in the groin area, leading to yeast infections.
Speaking of other tight, squeezing material. . .body shapers or smoothers that you might wear to smooth out lines under your dress or other outfit could be putting the squeeze on your lungs, restricting breathing, or even your digestion, leading to GERD. In fact, anything tight fitting such as body shapers, girdles, tight-fitting belts, pants or the like can put pressure on the abdomen and stomach, increasing the possibility of stomach contents refluxing from the stomach into the esophagus.
Next up are high heels. They sure can make your legs look longer and can look great paired with that dress or outfit, but they can also lead to foot and knee problems. And the higher the heels, the more potential damage, according a study that cites more joint stress from four-inch heels than from lower heels. Additionally, high heels can put a lot of pressure on the front of your feet as your weight shifts from your heel to the toes and balls of your feet. This can lead to chronically shortened calf muscles and tightened Achilles tendons—leaving them adapted to the shortened, tightened condition—as well as the development of corns and hammertoes. If you insist on wearing heels, choose lower heels (two inches or less) with a rounded toe to avoid toe crowding. Also, wear sneakers to and from work (or other occasions) and slip on the heels only when you have to.
While we’re on the topic of shoes, let’s discuss ballet flats and fur-lined boots. Simply stated, ballet flats don’t offer much in the way of support or cushioning, which can cause heel pain and plantar fasciitis—inflammation of the plantar fascia, a thick tendon connecting the heel bone to the toes, creating the foot arch. It can make walking painful or difficult. Look for shoes with more support. Now for the boots with the fur…their flat soles can create problems similar to the way ballet flats can, including plantar fasciitis, tendonitis or even stress fractures. Likewise, they can make the feet hot and sweaty when worn without socks—a playground for fungal growth. Wear them occasionally, don’t walk long distances in them and use absorbent socks when you do wear them.
Accessories can cause some potential problems, too. Large hoop earrings can catch on a shirt or scarf and tug enough to tear your earlobe. Clip-on earrings that aren’t so large or “hoopy” are good alternatives. Now for shoulder bags, including backpacks hung over one side. If they’re too heavy, over time, their weight can stress the neck, back and shoulders, causing a change in body positioning and posture.
Last, but not least, are body piercings, which can lead to infections, especially if they are located in covered areas that can potentially be “dirtier” parts of the body. Even piercings that are relatively uncovered, such as the face or upper body, can be problematic. Those that go through cartilage, such as the upper ear, can be particularly hazardous, since cartilage is easy to infect and difficult to treat.
Choose your fashion wisely. You can still look “fab” while also paying attention to your health.