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June 14, 2023

High fashion can have some lowdown effects on your body

Adult Health Fashion

Content sponsored by IBC-Native-061423-UnhealthyClothes

Purchased - Person in high heels next to other shoe options Liudmila Chernetska/

“First, do no harm.” This is a fundamental principle in medicine.

This would also be a good principle to follow when you’re choosing an outfit, because certain articles of clothing and footwear options can cause real physical issues. Here are a few examples.

Come down from the heights

High heels come in at the top of most lists of clothes that are bad for you. That’s because they force your feet into an unnatural position, which can cause problems with your feet, legs, and back.

Having your heels elevated:

• Forces your toes into the toe boxes of your shoes. This puts pressure on your toes and skin can and cause you to develop corns, calluses, and blisters. Additionally, if the toe boxes are narrow, your toes may be pressed together so tightly that they can’t lie flat. This can lead to hammertoe or mallet toe, conditions in which one or more of your toes is permanently bent.

 Puts pressure on the front of your feet, as they’re forced to bear more weight than they are when your feet are flat. That can lead to bunions and neuromas, which are usually benign but painful growths of nerve tissues.

 Causes your feet to rotate in a way that can alter the alignment of your Achilles tendon, and lead to a bony enlargement of the heel called Haglund’s deformity.

 Causes the tendons and ligaments that support your arches to tighten. That can lead to plantar fasciitis, which is inflammation of the plantar fascia, a thick band of tissue at the bottom of your foot that connects your heel bone to your toes.

 Alters the position of your ankles. That can cause your Achilles tendons to contract at the place where they attach to your heel bones. Over time, that can lead to an inflammatory condition called Achilles tendinitis.

 Causes your knees and hips to be permanently flexed. That compresses your inner knee, which can make the cartilage in your knee break down, a condition called knee osteoarthritis.

 Contracts your hip flexor muscles, which are located on the upper front of your thighs. That can create hip pain and progressively flatten the lower portion of your spine, which can cause lower back pain.

 Forces the middle part of your spine into a hyper-curved position, which increases your risk for back pain.

Flip-flopping away

Flip-flops are at the other end of the fashion spectrum from high heels, but they can also cause problems.

Since they don’t fully hold your feet in place, your toes compensate by over-gripping. That, plus their lack of arch support, can lead to plantar fasciitis.

Additionally, because flip-flops don’t provide any cushioning between your heel and the ground, wearing them can lead to heel pain.

On top of that, they don’t provide much support for your foot, which increases your chances of tripping and spraining your ankles.

They also can make other foot problems worse, such as bunions, hammertoes, and tendinitis.

And since they leave your feet exposed, they increase your risk of stubbing your toes, cutting your feet, getting insect bites on your feet, and getting an infection.

Beware of overly tight clothing

Many other articles of clothing can also cause health problems. Usually, however, that’s due to a common factor — they’re too tight.

If your clothes are irritating your skin and/or causing you pain, they may be too tight. And overly tight clothes can lead to other difficulties.

For example, tight clothing around your midsection can put stress on your stomach and intestines. That stress can worsen existing gastrointestinal disorders like irritable bowel syndrome and inflammatory bowel disease . It also can cause or exacerbate gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) by pushing acid from your stomach into the lower part of your esophagus, which connects your throat to your stomach.

Overly tight pants, pantyhose, or shapewear can cause people with vulvas to develop yeast infections. Tight briefs (as opposed to loose-fitting boxers) can lower sperm count, which can cause problems for people trying to have children.

Bras that are too tight can cause shoulder strain, among other problems.

Overly tight clothing can occasionally have some extreme effects, such as damaging your nerves or causing you to faint. However, those types of reactions are rare.

Be aware of what you wear

Overall, if you don’t spend too much time in clothing that can cause you problems, you should be fine. Just don’t let your fashion sense — or, in the case of flip-flops, convenience — overcome your common sense.

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