Most people have at least one of these pain-promoting fashions in their closet.
You may be able to think of a few fashion favorites in your closet that aren’t necessarily the most comfortable items to wear … like that very, very slim pair of cigarette pants you’ve had since the early 90s, or those sky-high stilettos that you can only wear if you know you won't be doing any walking.
But besides the fact that they don’t hold a candle to your flannel PJs on the cozy scale, you may not think twice about what that lack of comfort may actually be doing to your health. Think about it: If your skin is turning red because your pants are cutting into your waist, or you’re getting blisters from an uncomfortable pair of shoes, that may be your body’s way of hailing the fashion police to report a health faux pas.
Don’t get caught red-handed (or red-waisted, or red-footed): Here are four clothing items that may actually be affecting your health.
1. High heels. As much as our cavewoman ancestors would have rocked the runway in some sky-high stilettos, unfortunately for us, they didn’t. Because our bodies aren’t evolved to walk in pumps, wearing heels can affect your body’s natural alignment. This puts pressure on your feet, ankles, knees, and back. In the short term, that might mean blisters and sore toesies. In the long term, enter back, shoulder, and neck pain. Ouch.
No need to swear off heels altogether, just wear them for limited periods of time and avoid longer than necessary walks in them. When you do rock your favorite pumps: Check out these easy tips to prevent foot blisters.
2. Too-tight pants. Skinny jeans may look good with your heels and accentuate your bum, but wearing them too tight, too often could cause skin friction and excess moisture (from sweat) down there. This lets fungus and bacteria thrive, which may contribute not-so-sexy conditions, like jock itch (yes, women get it too), yeast infections, or vulvodynia.
You don’t have to ditch your skinny jeans altogether, just wear them in moderation. Rotate in some sweats, loose-fitting pants, or skirts once in a while. Find out more about how skin-tight pants affect your health.
3. Flip-flops. Thong sandals can not only make you clumsy (have you ever tried to run in those things!?), but they also often provide zero heel and arch support. This may cause pain and inflammation, which can lead to foot and back problems. Save flip-flops for the beach, not for wearing all day long.
4. Synthetic underwear. Your old-school cotton workout underwear get a pass here, but your sexy satin ones may not. Silky or synthetic fabrics are not as breathable and are more likely to retain warmth and moisture, which creates a breeding ground for bacteria. Let your lady parts breathe: Choose undies with a cotton crotch. Here are more common underwear mistakes that could be hurting your vagina.
The Real Harm in High Heels. American Osteopathic Association. (Accessed on February 13, 2022 at http://www.osteopathic.org/osteopathic-health/about-your-health/health-conditions-library/womens-health/Pages/high-heels.aspx)
Back-to-School Foot Pain. The American College of Ankle and Surgeons. (Accessed on February 13, 2022 at https://www.foothealthfacts.org/article/back-to-school-foot-pain)
The vulvar skin microenvironment: impact of tight-fitting underwear on microclimate, pH and microflora. Göteborg, Sweden: Department of Dermatology, Sahlgrenska University Hospital. (Accessed on February 13, 2022 at https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/15823903)
JOCK ITCH (TINEA CRURIS). UpToDate. (Accessed on February 13, 2022 at https://www.uptodate.com/contents/ringworm-including-athletes-foot-and-jock-itch-beyond-the-basics?view=print#H4)
Vaginal Yeast Infections. Office of Women’s Health, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. (Accessed on February 13, 2022 at https://www.womenshealth.gov/a-z-topics/vaginal-yeast-infections)Vulvodynia. U.S. National Library of Medicine, MedlinePlus. (Accessed on February 13, 2022 at https://medlineplus.gov/ency/article/007699.htm)