Tight Jean Syndrome
Although skinny jeans and other tight-fitting pants are considered stylish in today's fashion-conscious society, these articles of clothing are associated with health risks. The purpose of this article is to discuss the 'tight jean syndrome.'
Skinny jeans, straight leg jeans, and other tight-fitting denim pants are in style, especially among today's fashion-conscious females. Combine those skinny jeans with a fashionable top and some cute sandals, and you've just pieced together a trendy summer look that will be sure to turn plenty of heads as you stroll across the street.
Even though skinny jeans are definitely stylish in this day and age, the tight-fitting denim might be placing peoples' health at risk. Repeatedly wearing tight clothing has been known to compress the lateral femoral cutaneous nerve, which is a sensory nerve that travels from the abdomen through the thigh.
According to Weil (2012), the compression can cause numbness, tingling, and a burning pain in the legs above the knees, a condition called "meralgia paresthetica," also known as "tingling thigh syndrome" and now sometimes termed "tight jean syndrome."
The cardinal symptoms of meralgia paresthetica include tingling, numbness, pain and hypersensitivity in the upper legs. Moreover, some women describe feeling a floating sensation with associated weakness.
Women who continue to wear tight skinny jeans despite experiencing symptoms are at risk for developing permanent damage to the lateral femoral cutaneous nerve. According to Hsu (2012), wearing high heels with skinny jeans, a combination many women take on to lengthen the appearance of their legs, worsens symptoms because the heel tilts the pelvis in a way that increases the pressure of the skinny jeans.
However, tight jeans are not always the culprit, because conditions such as weight gain, trauma, diabetes mellitus, and pregnancy can all compress this nerve. In addition, females who wear fashionable skinny jeans are not the only members of the population who are at risk for developing the 'tight jean syndrome.' Middle-aged males with prominent beer bellies who attempt to squeeze into tight jeans or slacks also risk compressing the nerve.
Skin-tight pants might also result in digestive issues such as heartburn, indigestion, and abdominal distention. Men who are trying to impregnate their wives and/or girlfriends should be cautious because tight jeans can place them at risk.
In the past doctors have also warned men trying for a baby to avoid wearing skinny jeans because the tight-fitting denim can cause the testicles to overheat, lowering their sperm count (Weil, 2012).
Tight jean syndrome is a growing problem, but it will usually resolve after six weeks of wearing looser-fitting clothing. Always remember that it is better to be comfortable than to look cute.
Last edit by Joe V on Jan 12, '15
About TheCommuter, BSN, RN Moderator
TheCommuter is a moderator of allnurses.com and has varied workplace experiences upon which to draw for her articles. She was an LPN/LVN for four years prior to earning RN licensure.
Joined: Feb '05; Posts: 38,035; Likes: 69,341
CRRN, now a case management RN; from US
Specialty: 11 year(s) of experience in Case mgmt., rehab, (CRRN), LTC & psychAug 5, '12Whatever happened to Fernando's creed - - "It is better to look good than to feel good" ??? Hahahaha!
This is a follow-up to tight jeans sometimes causing yeast infections.Aug 5, '12Working in an outpatient clinic, I was wondering why I was putting in so many referrals to the fertility specialists especially for the guys.
Does any one have any idea if tight undergarments and pants effects the size of the testicles? I was putting in medication refils for a testosterone cream that is topically applied to the testicles. I had one patient crying to me on the phone - " Nurse, I have 'small balls'."Aug 5, '12Quote from kcmylornIt's not the size of the testes that's affected, it's the temperature. Testicles are outside the body to provide for a cooler environment for sperm production. A narrow window of temperature optimizes sperm viability, so when the testes are held tighter to the body, the temperature increases and reduces viable sperm count. Tight pants or underwear can cause a dramatic difference, so it's recommended that males with reproductive issues wear loose fitting boxers and pants.Working in an outpatient clinic, I was wondering why I was putting in so many referrals to the fertility specialists especially for the guys.
Does any one have any idea if tight undergarments and pants effects the size of the testicles? I was putting in medication refils for a testosterone cream that is topically applied to the testicles. I had one patient crying to me on the phone - " Nurse, I have 'small balls'."Aug 5, '12Not a new problem. When I was a teenager in the 80's, your pants were too loose unless you had to lay on the bed and use a clothes hanger end to get the zipper up. The painted on look was the only way to go.Aug 5, '12Quote from Nascar nurseI remember those days! Few of us can still fit into the jeans we wore in our youth! But, all those guys walking around with their pants hanging around their thighs will someday proudly enter the kitchen wearing now snug jeans, bragging, "Look, honey, my pants from high school still fit!"Not a new problem. When I was a teenager in the 80's, your pants were too loose unless you had to lay on the bed and use a clothes hanger end to get the zipper up. The painted on look was the only way to go.Aug 5, '12I am fairly sure I am not the only nurse who had an ER patient with blue hands. She said they turned blue and when she washed her hands they got pink again. Culprit - new blue jeans. heavy price to pay for not washing them before wearing.Aug 5, '12People look much better in loose fit clothing. Seeing people wear tight jeans makes me cringe. How can they move comfortably?Aug 5, '12Way back, My mom's theory was that my jeans were going to "cut off the circulation to my brain". I think she probably needed to brush-up on her anatomy, but she knew it wasn't right.
SN - other hazards - a friend once dropped a $20 in a bar and both of our jeans were so tight we couldn't bend over to pick it up... A gentleman came to her rescue (he smirked a bit, but we were cute back then). Often had to ride to the club with my pants unzipped. Yikes.
Nowadays I CANNOT fathom wearing tight clothes like that. High heels are out too. No thanks.Aug 5, '12Quote from jjrodriguezThey can't move comfortably.People look much better in loose fit clothing. Seeing people wear tight jeans makes me cringe. How can they move comfortably?
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