Seeing a story like this one from Australia get picked up by various American outlets sets off multiple “bogus viral spam-journalism” alarms:
One, it happened in a foreign country, and such stories are often subject to a game of telephone as they pass across the ocean. Two, it’s about a single anecdote but the piece doesn’t even include the subject of the anecdote’s name. Three, it perfectly reinforces readers’ existing beliefs about a cultural punch line. All very suspicious! But alas, it’s real—a woman did get hospitalized because of leg pain that doctors believe was caused by skinny jeans, and the case was written up by Royal Adelaide Hospital neurologists in the Journal of Neurology, Neurosurgery, and Psychiatry.
It sounds pretty awful, actually. The 35-year-old in question collapsed after spending a long period squatting to empty cupboards while helping a family member move:
…while walking home, she noticed bilateral foot drop and foot numbness, which caused her to trip and fall. She spent several hours lying on the ground before she was found. On examination, her lower legs were markedly oedematous bilaterally, worse on the right side, and her jeans could only be removed by cutting them off.
The long and short of it, the report concludes, is that the jeans “potentiated the tibial neuropathies by causing a compartment syndrome,” exacerbating the nerve problems that had been caused by squatting. The woman spent four days in a hospital but recovered fully.
The lesson here? Never wear pants. Never, ever wear pants.