In Pain? Skinny Jeans Can Do Nerve Damage

Can Those Comfy UGG-Style Boots Really Hurt?

UGG-style boots may be all the rage in places like snowy New England, but their furry exterior is only a mask for potential foot and back problems. In a similar fashion to flip-flops, the flat soles of this popular footwear can cause arch, ankle and back problems.

Although boots have been attributed to causing plantar fasciitis as well, they also allow for other problems such as ankle tendinitis.

According the Jensen, a soft sole, as is often seen in furrier versions of the popular shoe, allows for a lack of foot support that the shoe should be giving. If a foot can slide around significantly, it will cause the tendons on the side of the ankle to stretch uncomfortably in order to maintain balance.

"Wearing the wrong shoes is no guarantee of back pain," said Boden, who added that many people can wear either heeled or flat shoes without resulting back problems.

But underlying conditions such as arthritis can potentially give way to physical pain and further back problems, brought on by the inappropriate support provided by some footwear.

Can the Wrong Bra Hurt Your Back?

It's popular -- especially among bra makers -- to report that the wrong bra can cause back and shoulder pain, but doctors say more blame lies with genetics and weak muscles than under wires or small straps.

"Bras are all about comfort and modesty; they don't have any physiological functions," Steiner said.

"Some women are perfectly happy to go without them and their breast are large, but they feel comfortable," said Steiner, who added other women with small breasts may not need a bra for support but feel more comfortable wearing them for modesty reasons.

Steiner's "number No. 1 bra myth" is that under wires cause cancer. Her number No. 2 myth is that the wrong bra can cause back pain.

"If you have an unsupportive bra, the bra won't cause back pain," Steiner said. "Having a properly fitted bra can alleviate a little bit, but back pain is related to large breasts, and insufficient back muscles and abdominal muscles."

Steiner recommends women suffering from back pain to strengthen their back and their abdominal muscles. Also, she recommends that women try on all bras before purchasing.

"Even if you have the same size breast as your next door neighbor, they may be a different shape," Steiner said.

Do Heavy Handbags Really Hurt Your Back?

At some point, whether it be the current fashion or a necessary diaper bag, many women end up carrying a heavy handbag during their lifetime.

But carry a heavy handbag too long, and doctors say you could risk back pain.

"Think about: Do you ever carry your handbag on the other side?" Steiner said. "You don't switch because it just feels weird."

Men aren't immune either; carry a laptop, briefcase or man purse for too long and men can develop muscle pain too.

"Because you have this heavy weight on one side, your muscles on the other side are straining to keep you upright," Steiner said.

One might ditch the overloaded bag for a smaller one and Steiner said it's also possible to avoid the problem if you can remember to switch sides daily.

But for most people who will continue to carry bags, and subconsciously put them on one side, Steiner has more realistic recommendations.

"Exercise to strengthen back muscles can help," Steiner said. "And the best way to carry your handbag is across around your neck and across your shoulder to the other side."

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