Recently, there was a woman who started to feel numbness from her knee to her pelvis. It started to be painful.
Her neurologist had her balance on her toes, walk backward on her heels and do other motions, then asked if she wore tight clothes. The culprit was the cinch belts she liked to wear. They compressed the nerve that runs from the abdomen to the outer thigh.
Called meralgia parethetica, the doctors quoted in The Wall Street Journal say it’s also common in policemen who carry guns on their hips.
Tight pants and jeans can cause nerve compression that interferes with digestion. One internist said he saw a couple of dozen men a year, usually over age 50, who had abdominal discomfort, heartburn and belching problems. Tight jeans have also been blamed for low back pain, yeast infections and more.
Neckties and shirt collars that are too tight can decrease range of motion, reduce circulation to the brain and increase intraocular pressure, a risk factor for glaucoma.
Body shapers worn too tight or too long, by either men or women, can cause nerve compression and digestive problems. If they compress the upper abdomen, they keep the lungs from fully inflating, reducing oxygen and possibly causing light-headedness.
Shoes with heels higher than two inches have been linked to bunions, hammer toes, stress fractures, ankle sprains and injuries to the nerves between the toes.
Flat shoes, or any shoes without arch supports, can lead to plantar fasciitis, a painful inflammation in the band of tissue on the bottom of the foot.
Flip-flops cause worse problems, according to the American Medical Association. Toes have to be clenched to keep them on, causing foot fatigue, sore calf muscles and hip problems. Flat soled boots cause the same problems.