Tingling Thigh Syndrome on the rise!

"Skinny jeans" can cause temporary nerve damage. Please tell me this means the trend will die.

By Kate Harding

Published May 22, 2009 6:23PM (EDT)

Are "skinny jeans" still in style? MSNBC seems to think they might be, so it's incumbent upon me as a lady blogger to pass along this dire health warning: Skinny jeans have been linked to "Tingling Thigh Syndrome," y'all. And that's not as desirable as it sounds.

"Tingling Thigh Syndrome" is the somewhat less clunky name for meralgia paresthetica, a condition that "can happen when constant pressure... cuts off the lateral femoral cutaneous nerve, causing a numb, tingling or burning sensation along the thigh." The condition is most commonly seen in "construction workers or police officers with heavy, low-slung belts, pregnant women or obese people," and folks who have been in a car accident where the seatbelt did its job with great zeal. But recently, doctors have been seeing more and more young women suffering from denim-related thigh tingles. Numbers are hard to come by, but I think it's safe to say we could be talking about handfuls of young women.

It is perhaps unfair to blame "skinny jeans" specifically (though, personally, I would encourage blaming them for as many ills as possible). "The super low-rise jeans that were especially popular in the late 90s and early 2000s were also linked to meralgia paresthetica," the article informs us. And high heels can exacerbate the problem. "Dr. William Madosky, a chiropractic physician in Richmond Heights, Mo., says that high heels increase the chance for the numbing sensation because the teetering shoes tilt the pelvis forward, increasing the pressure on the nerve." What's a girl to do, other than resign herself to high-waisted "mom jeans" and Birks? Wear the jeans and heels anyway, apparently -- just remember to take them off eventually.  Says  Madosky, "Typically it's not permanent. The key is, you remove the pressure, and the nerve regenerates." Or you could just wait for the next fashion trend to come along (if it hasn't already).

Unless, of course, the next trend is "jeggings" or "treggings" -- a jeans/leggings hybrid that offers all the snugness of skinny jeans with none of the meralgia paresthetica. Or already limited attractiveness. Young fashionista and Tingling Thigh Syndrome sufferer Parmeeta Ghoman is considering those as her next option, per MSNBC. I cannot object strenuously enough. Look, thin people may think denim leggings are a marvelous new invention, but for once, plus-size fashion (I use the term loosely here) was way ahead of the game. These things have been around forever, and they do no one -- not even the four women on earth whose bodies are flattered by skinny jeans -- any favors. Yes, they're comfortable. So are bathrobes, but that doesn't mean we should wear them in public. I don't care what newly coined portmanteau you try to dress them up with; you cannot dodge the eternal truth that leggings are not pants. Trust me: Literally all of the top fashion experts I consulted agree.

Kate Harding

Kate Harding is the author of Asking For It: The Alarming Rise of Rape Culture--and What We Can Do About It, available from Da Capo Press in August 2015. Previously, she collaborated with Anna Holmes, Amanda Hess, and a cast of thousands on The Book of Jezebel, and with Marianne Kirby on Lessons from the Fat-o-Sphere. You might also remember her as the founding editor of Shapely Prose (2007-2010). Kate's essays have appeared in the anthologies Madonna & Me, Yes Means Yes, Feed Me, and Airmail: Women of Letters. She holds an M.F.A. in fiction from Vermont College of Fine Arts and a B.A. in English from University of Toronto, and is currently at work on a Ph.D. in creative writing from Bath Spa University

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