New research from the British Chiropractic Association suggest that two common fashion accessories are causing health problems for women.
According to the BCA, many women are plagued by back problems and foot pain, and two main contributors to related conditions are skinny jeans and high heeled shoes. We’ve explored how high heels affect your feet numerous times on the blog, but these findings are just more evidence of how we need to be conscious of how our fashion choices can affect our overall health.
Skinny Jeans and High Heels
Researchers stated that as many as 75 percent of women suffer from back pain as they age, and high heels and tight fitting jeans can place abnormal pressure on spinal structures that can contribute to that pain. Researchers said that many individuals assume pain and injuries come from physical trauma or exertion, but they don’t realize how posture and fashion choices can also contribute to pain.
“I am always surprised at how many of my patients are unaware that their clothing and accessories can affect their back health and their posture, and equally how many decide their outfit-choice outweighs their pain,” said BCA chiropractor Tim Hutchful. “Some of the most popular items of clothing can have a hidden health impact.”
Other items that can contribute to back, hip and foot pain include:
- Overloaded handbags
- Asymmetric hemlines
- Oversized hoods and sleeves
- Heavy jewelry
“Large hoods can mean you strain your neck in order to see, and asymmetric hemlines, especially if tight-fitting, can restrict your movement and cause you to walk differently,” said Hutchful. “Restrictive clothing can lead to a loss of ‘bounce’ in your stride and the natural shock-absorbing qualities in your walk, causing pressure in your joints. Oversized sleeves can cause you to hold your arms in a different or unusual way, so once again your body will be compensating for your fashion choices.”
Moderation Is Key
The takeaway from the study findings is that moderation is important. Nobody expects you to toss out all your skinny jeans or every pair of high-heeled shoes, but you should make an effort to wear them in moderation. If you know you’re going to be doing a lot of walking, opt for a less-compressing pair of pants, and avoid shoes with a raised heel. Wearing those outfits once in a while won’t lead to pinched nerves and heel pain, but wearing them regularly will increase your risk of developing pain down the road.
Hutchful offered a similar sentiment when discussing the study findings.
“Whilst we are certainly not saying stop wearing your favorite clothes altogether, like most things in life, moderation is best and there are easy ways you can reduce the impact on your posture and overall health,” said Hutchful. “For example, try and limit the number of times you wear skinny jeans or high heels every week so you’re giving your body a break, or try investing in a backpack for days when you have a lot to carry around.”
Lance Silverman, MD
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