Skinny jeans
Skinny jeans can cause a painful disorder called meralgia paresthetica, according to a microsurgeon at the Greater Baltimore Medical Center.

Skinny jeans may cause a painful disorder called meralgia paresthetica, according to a microsurgeon at the Greater Baltimore Medical Center.

The condition causes a range of mild yet painful side effects, from thigh pain to feelings of weakness, and the surgeon, Dr. Karen Boyle, says it is on the rise.

Skinny jeans can compress one of the nerves in the outer part of the thigh and cause symptoms of numbness, tingling and discomfort, Boyle told HLN TV.

Boyle says one woman has described the symptoms of the condition, caused by wearing super-tight skinny jeans, as a floating sensation felt while walking, accompanied by weakness and thigh pain:

This disorder is called meralgia paresthetica and it's a disorder that occurs when one of the nerves that runs in the outer part of a thigh gets compressed. The pressure on it causes symptoms of tingling, numbness and pain in the outer part of the thigh, Boyle told ABC 2 News in Baltimore.

And she says there is evidence that it can be exacerbated by wearing high heels and too-tight skinny jeans at the same time:

When you wear high heels the axis of your pelvis changes and what happens is your pelvis tilts and your buttocks kind of kick out a little bit and your legs are longer looking, Boyle explained. This is why women like to wear stilettos. But because the pelvis tilts some, it further accentuates the pressure that's caused on those nerves. It can make the symptoms worse.

Boyle, who specializes in labiaplasty at GBMC, says she saw an influx of meralgia paresthetica cases as skinny jeans became more and more popular for both men and women.

But HLN TV writer Amelia Parry questions Boyle's claims, saying reasonably tight jeans don't cause such problems:

Now, I've been a skinny-jean diehard for the last couple of years and I have to say I have never experienced any of the symptoms Boyle describes, Parry writes. In fact, I am wearing a pair right now and there's nary a tingle in my stems. Perhaps that's because I don't believe 'skinny jeans' are synonymous for 'way, way, way too tight jeans.'

She adds that properly fitted skinny jeans should be just as tight in the thighs as any other pair of jeans, and only the calves should really be tighter than normal.

I don't want to totally be dismissive of Boyle's concerns, but I really don't get the handwringing. While I have not met any of her patients, I would like to offer a co-diagnosis of my own, Parry writes. I believe these cases of meralgia paresthetica are likely caused by another disorder I call 'Pant Size Dysmorphia,' in which the patient thinks they are at least one size smaller than they actually are. (Another identifiable symptom? Muffin top!) Prescription? Facing the facts and sizing up.