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Why Uncomfortable Clothes are a Health Hazard

At some point we have all probably worn something uncomfortable in the name of fashion, or at least societal expectations. High heels, tight jeans, ties, dress shirts. None of these garments are particularly comfortable, but could they also be hazardous to your health?

A new Wall Street Journal article Tight Ties, Killer Heels: Clothes Make the Fashion Victims lays out some of the dangers of uncomfortable clothes. Here’s the low-down of the potential clothing health hazards:

  1. Tightly cinched belts can compress the lateral femoral cutaneous nerve, causing numbness in the legs. Belts are perfectly fine to wear, but you may need to loosen up a notch or two if you experience such problems.
  2. Tight jeans can also cause nerve compression, lower back pain, yeast infections and interfere with digestion. Loosening up even a little can help ease these symptoms.
  3. Body shapers can cause nerve compression, digestive issues, and interfere with breathing. Because these garments are meant to be very tight, their use is probably not ideal for overall health and well-being.
  4. Tight shirt collars and neckties can reduce blood circulation to the brain and cause back and neck muscle tension. Be sure your shirt size matches your neck size, and don’t tighten ties beyond what’s comfortable.
  5. High heels are a major culprit in foot problems for women. Long-term wear has been associated with a shortened Achilles tendon, hammer toes, stress fractures, ankle sprains, bunions and Morton’s neuroma. A more moderate heel with adequate arch support is ideal.
  6. Thin, unsupportive flats can be just as problematic for women, and can lead to plantar fasciitis, as well as long-term ankle and hip alignment issues. Again, arch support is key.
  7. Heavy handbags can throw the back out of alignment. The American Chiropractic Association recommends that people not carry more than 10% of their weight in a bag (including women’s handbags and children’s backpacks).

Comfort is key, and it’s also best for your health!

Image Credit: Dan04/Flickr