Open-source shoes

Do hip-hugger jeans cause nerve damage?

Well, yes — according to Malvinder Parmar, a doctor in Timmins, Ontario. In a letter to this month’s issue of the Canadian Medical Association Journal, he described symptoms of “tingly thighs” caused by women wearing the oh-so-of-the-moment hip-hugger jeans:

I recently saw 3 mildly obese young women between the ages of 22 and 35, who had worn tight “low-rise” trousers (also called hiphuggers) over the previous 6 to 8 months. All presented with symptoms of tingling or a burning sensation on the lateral aspect of the thigh (bilateral in one case). The results of a physical examination were unremarkable, except for mild local tenderness at the anterior superior iliac spine in 2 patients. These 2 patients also had Tinel’s sign, whereby a reproducible tingling sensation was elicited when the lateral femoral cutaneous nerve was stimulated by finger-tapping close to the anterior superior iliac spine. One of the women was concerned about multiple sclerosis and requested MRI but was reassured by my explanation of the origin of her symptoms. In all 3 patients, the symptoms resolved after 4 to 6 weeks of avoiding hiphuggers and wearing loose-fitting dresses.

There’s a story at the CBC website about it here.

I love the ability of new trends, clothes and technologies to cause incredibly weird physical damage. It wasn’t a few months ago that Virgin Mobiles — the cell-phone company — issued a list of shoulder exercises to help keep people from crippling themselves with excessive “texting” on mobile phones. At this rate, by 2008 technology will have transformed us into an entire nation of neurological degenerates, ordering books on RSI from Amazon using lip-operated puff-sticks. I can’t wait. In the meantime, I think I’ll slip into a loose-fitting dress.

(Thanks to Stephanie O’Hanley for alerting me to this one!)

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I'm Clive Thompson, the author of Smarter Than You Think: How Technology is Changing Our Minds for the Better (Penguin Press). You can order the book now at Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Powells, Indiebound, or through your local bookstore! I'm also a contributing writer for the New York Times Magazine and a columnist for Wired magazine. Email is here or ping me via the antiquated form of AOL IM (pomeranian99).

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