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Is What You're Wearing Affecting Your Health?

True or false, fashionistas: Our daily wardrobe selections can wear on our well-being. The answer: True, particularly when it comes to certain items. Some articles of clothing may cause pain or discomfort and have the potential to lead to injury. Before you make your next trip to the mall, check out our list of attire that may be linked to health issues.


Shoes
: Our feet are made up of tiny bones, tendons, ligaments and muscles. They must not only bear our weight but play a major role in balance and mobility. The shoes we wear can make the difference between healthy feet and pain or injury. Before you slip on one of these styles, consider:

  • Flip-flops may offer little support and are known to cause injuries. The American College of Foot and Ankle Surgeons says this is especially important for children and teens, whose heel bone is still developing. Flip-flops can cause pain in the heel and arch of the foot. They may also prompt inflammation of the Achilles tendon, broken or sprained toes, pinched nerves and sprained ankles.
  • Pointy-toe pumps and high heels can be a problem in more ways than one. They can cause harmful pressure on the bones of the foot, generate unhealthy changes in leg muscles and increase the risk of injuries from falls.
  • Wearing ill-fitting shoes has been linked to foot pain and disorders such as deformity of the smaller toes, corns and calluses. One review study found that 63 to 72 percent of participants wore shoes that did not conform to either the width or the length of their feet.


Undergarments
: Fortunately, the scratchy woolens and tight corsets of the past have evolved to more comfortable options. Yet some choices are better than others. For example, sports bras with cross-back straps were found in one study to cause more pressure and discomfort for active women with larger breasts than sports bras with vertical straps. The study also noted that bra strap pressure, over a long period of time, may lead to soft tissue damage or neurological symptoms in the upper limbs.


Neckties
: It may be time to take a breather from this traditional male attire. Neckties fastened to the point of slight discomfort were found to restrict 7.5 percent of oxygen to the brain in one study. Researchers measured blood flow to the brain with a magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) test on healthy male volunteers. Half the volunteers were fitted with ties; half were not. Those wearing the tightened ties had a statistically significant decrease in the oxygen flow to their brains. Our brain cells are extremely sensitive to a lack of oxygen and in some cases, a decrease of oxygen flow can lead to cerebral hypoxia. This can cause poor judgment, inattentiveness or uncoordinated movement.

When getting dressed for the day, choose wisely. Opt for clothes, shoes and accessories that fit properly, are not too tight and minimize pain and discomfort.