For some women, skinny jeans are a wardrobe staple. For others, they're an endless struggle, taunting their owner with muffin top, crotches that ride up, and those weird leg creases caused by the seams pushing into your hip and thigh fat.
But unappealing skin marks aren't the only danger posed by the fashion trend. According to a recent case study published in the Journal of Neurology, Neurosurgery, and Psychiatry, skinny jeans can cause actual nerve damage.
Yes, in the report, neurologists describe a 35-year-old woman in Australia who wore skinny jeans while she was helping her family move, which required a lot of squatting. While walking home later that night, her legs and feet suddenly began to feel numb. She then collapsed to the ground, unable to stand up. She crawled for several hours before making it to a hospital.
Once there, the doctors determined that her "skinny jeans," combined with squatting, had caused damage to her tibial nerves—which provide movement and sensation to the calf and foot—and the peroneal nerves in the leg. This damage, in turn, caused her legs to swell.
In fact, her calves were so swollen that doctors had no choice but to cut the jeans off.
"The patient was treated with intravenous hydration," according to the report. "The oedema and neurological function of her lower limbs improved significantly, such that at the time of discharge 4 days later she was able to walk unaided."
Yes, that's right. It took four days for her to be able to walk again. Four. Days.
While the incident may sound like a once-in-a-blue-moon-only-in-Australia kind of deal, it's really not. A quick search of the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission database—which tracks hospital visits associated with consumer products (including pants)—shows that there were an estimated 80,000-plus pants-related injuries in 2014 alone.
If you narrow that search down to injuries affecting the lower leg—and injuries involving severe pain and swelling—it becomes clear that women wearing clothing that is too tight is actually kind of a problem.
For example, a 24-year-old female was admitted to the hospital for "swelling of lower leg." She apparently had "rolled [her] pant legs up to get a pedicure, fell asleep, awoke to leg swelling" and was then "unable to lower pants." Also in the report, a 31-year-old developed "pain in [her] lower calf" after "wearing tight pants five days ago." (A 41-year-old woman didn't suffer from too tight pants but too tight socks. According to the report, she was "walking all day wearing tight socks" and now has "leg swelling.")
We're going to go ahead and say that if your clothes are so tight they are physically painful, try a different wardrobe option. Tight pants should not lead to hospital visits. They can lead to funny Jimmy Fallon-Will Ferrell sketches though:
Taryn Hillin is Fusion's love and sex writer, with a large focus on the science of relationships. She also loves dogs, Bourbon barrel-aged beers and popcorn — not necessarily in that order.