What Do Tight Pants, Tutus, and Gun Belts Have in Common?

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Recipe for disaster. Photo: Photos: iStockphoto

Excessively tight clothes not only makes routine activities like sitting down, eating, and going to the bathroom terribly awkward, but they can also cause nerve damage. According to a piece in today's Wall Street Journal, neurologists see this all the time:

Dr. Friedman said [cinched belts] can compress a major nerve, the lateral, femoral cutaneous nerve, that runs from the abdomen to the outer thigh. He said he frequently sees the condition—called meralgia paresthetica—in policemen who carry guns on their hips and ballet dancers who wear tight tutus. "Anything that puts pressure on that nerve can cause it," he said. "It's very, very common."

And don't read this part if you've just eaten lunch:

Squeezing into matchstick jeans with cheese-stick legs cannot only cause nerve compression, it can interfere with digestion, as the Archives of Internal Medicine noted in 1993. Internist Octavio Bessa of Stamford, Conn., wrote that he was seeing 20 to 25 patients a year, usually middle-aged or older men, suffering from abdominal discomfort, distention, heartburn and belching a few hours after eating. "The diagnosis can be made easily in the office by comparing the size of the trousers with the abdominal girth. There is usually a discrepancy of 7.5 centimeters or more," Dr. Bessa wrote, coining the term "tight pants syndrome."

Perhaps something here is to blame for Kate Moss's alleged "temporary paralysis"? It can't be pants, since "cheese-stick legs" obviously aren't an issue for her. Tutus?