Be Wary of Fashion That Hurts: Medical Experts
Tight clothing and high heel shoes can do more than just be uncomfortable. They can lead to serious injuries.
By Lolita Lopez
It's been said that "fashion fades only style remains," but those different styles could cause pain that is truly eternal.
"If you are doing it day in and day out and you are exposing your body to undo stresses, your body is going to respond and it's not favorable," said Dr. Fardad Mobin, a neurosurgeon associated with St Vincent's Medical Center in Downtown Los Angeles.
He has seen more and more patients coming through the doors of D.I.S.C. Sports and Spine Center in Marina Del Rey with problems connected to the clothes and shoes they're wearing.
One woman in her 40s needed surgery to repair damage in her back exacerbated by constant high heel use.
"The L5 and S1, which are the last discs in lumbar spine, were ruptured. It herniated out, it is lifting the ligament in the back of the spine which can cause a lot of pain," Mobin said.
Physical ailments can arise following decades of using tight and ill-fitting clothes and shoes.
One business man visited Mobin with fainting spells. The culprit: his button downs and ties.
"After investigating, making sure he doesn't have problems that are causing strokes, we came to the conclusion that he should wear loose fitting shirts," Mobin said.
Most ladies NBC 4 spoke with admit to fashion before function in most cases.
Even though it hurts, Mariam Karatetyan said she wears high heels almost every day. But Mobin said that could be a unhealthy habit.
"Ladies that wear [heels] a long time they can have a shorten Achilles tendon and they can have stress fractures in their ankle," Mobin said.
A condition dubbed "pump bumps," or bones over the back of the heel, can occur after consistent use of high heels two inches or higher.
"Which in turn affects the knee, which affects the hip which can ultimately affect the lower back," Mobin said.
Possible conditions of fashion that hurts can include disc ruptures, and back pain and neck pain. Mobin said he sees younger women, who are not expected to have these problems until decades later, coming into his offices.
"Maybe we should invest in really short espadrilles or something," Heaven Fechter, an avid high heel user, said after NBCLA told her of the various possible ailments.
Skinny jeans can cause shooting pains down the legs and thighs leading to nerve damage, Mobin said. Tummy reducers may cause digestive issues.
A belt too tight may lead to soft tissue damage in that area specifically for people who carry a lot of weight there. A good example is a police officer who wears heavy equipment belts.
"The problem is two fold,” Mobin said. “One is the compression of the soft tissue in that area. The other is there's a lot of weight in front of your abdomen and it pulls on the spine itself so it pulls can in turn cause problems in lower back.”
But wearing flats and flip flop sandals constantly can also create problems.
"That arch can collapse and put a passageway on the nerves at the bottom of the foot and cause a condition called plantar fasciitis," Mobin said.
With all the "don't's"' it may seem like there is nothing safe to wear in your closet. But Mobin said isometric exercises -no gym necessary - can help avoid long-term problems.
"You need to dedicate six to ten minutes a day,” Mobin said. “It's less than than watching two commercials and basically strengthen your core and your abdomen.”
Begin with good posture-sit up straight, your hands down on your desk and push down to work your triceps and other muscles.
"Same position if you put your hands under the desk and try to lift the desk up and you can see how it's activating your pectorals and it's activating your biceps muscles," Mobin said.
Or find the edge on your desk and work your legs.
"If you find another area to able to push against the chair you can feel that you are activating your quad muscles," he said.
Ultimately it is best to mix up your wears and not use one type of clothing or shoe all the time.