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Getting a tingly feeling in your outer thigh? Blame your skinny jeans

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As if coloured jeans weren't enough of a style dilemma (how to avoid looking like a Technicolor sausage?), skinny jeans are now under fire – and not from the fashion police.

Doctors caution that skinny jeans worn too tight can cause meralgia paraesthetica – a type of nerve damage, ABC2News reports.

"It's a disorder that occurs when one of the nerves that runs in the outer part of a thigh gets compressed," says Karen Boyle, a physician at Greater Baltimore Medical Center. "The pressure on it causes symptoms of tingling, numbness and pain in the outer part of the thigh."

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The health hazard increases when wearers don a typical clubbing outfit – skinny jeans paired with stilettos, Dr. Boyle says.

High heels tilt the axis of the pelvis, adding to the pressure on those nerves, she explains. "It can make the symptoms worse."

The antidote, thank goodness, isn't wide-legged jeans. Doctors recommend that sufferers wear jeggings or skinny jeans made with stretch fabric. Otherwise, wearing too-tight denim could lead to permanent nerve damage, Dr. Boyle says.

Men who wear skinny jeans as a second skin should also pay attention to any pain or numbness in the outer thigh. But they needn't worry that their cigarette jeans habit will kill their chances of becoming a father some day.

According to urologists at the University of Iowa, the idea that tight jeans cause male infertility is based on myth. "There is very good evidence that shows that tight jeans and tight underwear, as well as all types of clothing, do not have any effect on sperm count," they write.

Nevertheless, wearing tight jeans could be risky in the hookup department. Stovepipe styles don't look good on muscular men, short-legged guys or anyone with a gut, notes the men's lifestyle website MadeMan.com. "The very tapered legs show any flaws or simply prove to be unflattering unless you are leaning towards the 'lean' side," the fashion advisers write.

Sadly, that goes for women too.

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Has wearing skinny jeans ever caused you pain?

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About the Author

Adriana Barton is based in The Globe and Mail’s Vancouver bureau. Her article on growing up with counterculture parents is published in a McGraw-Hill anthology, right after an essay by Margaret Atwood. She wishes her last name didn’t start with B. More

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