Currently viewing the tag: "sciatica"


skinny jeans neuropathyFashion leading to funked-up function strikes again! This time skinny jeans are the culprit, and they are cutting off nerve supply to constricted hipsters. A case study published in the Journal of Neurology, Neurosurgery and Psychiatry tells of a 35-year-old Australian woman presenting to doctors with severe weakness of both ankles, which ultimately led to her being hospitalized for four days with muscle damage, swelling, and nerve blockages in her legs. Doh!

The woman reported helping a family member move, which required hours squatting while emptying cupboards. She stated that her skinny jeans felt tighter and more uncomfortable throughout the day, and when she returned home later that evening, she tripped and fell due to a bilateral foot drop. If you have never heard of foot drop, that is when nerve supply to the limb gets irritated (cut-off) enough to cause temporary paralysis. We see the same thing in long-term sciatica sufferers.

popliteal nerveUpon examination doctors found extreme swelling, to the degree that she could not remove the jeans on her own—they needed to be cut off! She had severe weakness affecting both legs, ankles and toes—she even had diminished ankle reflexes (no bueno). She had lost sensation at the outer (lateral) portions and tops of both her feet (really no bueno). She had classic signs of nerve irritation, which could ultimately lead to long-term damage. Damn those skinny jeans! Because nerve conduction studies showed conduction block in both common peroneal nerves between the popliteal fossa and fibular head, it is safe to say the compression occurred behind the knee.

Hospital staff treated the patient with intravenous hydration (good ol’ fashioned water, the elixir of life), and she was able to walk out of the hospital on her own after four days. Doctors were taken aback by the damage caused by skinny jeans.

“We were surprised that this patient had such severe damage to her nerves and muscles,” Dr. Thomas Kimber of the Royal Adelaide Hospital in Australia told the Associated Press.

We postulate that, in the present case, the peroneal neuropathies were the result of compression between the biceps femoris tendon and fibular head as a result of squatting. The tibial neuropathies were likely caused by compression of the nerves in the posterior compartment of the calf by oedematous muscles that had undergone ischaemic myonecrosis as a result of squatting. The wearing of ‘skinny’ jeans had likely potentiated the tibial neuropathies by causing a compartment syndrome as the lower legs swelled.

foot dropWhile previous complications with skinny jeans have been primarily nerve compression at the inguinal region or groin, leading to outer thigh numbness (lateral cutaneous nerve) this case was the first reported of its kind. The doctors believe the problem is compounded by the non-stretchy nature of denim.

I almost bought my first pair of skinny jeans last fall, but after trying them on, I just could not get around the fact that they felt…too…damn…tight. Hey, I like a firm grip in the crotch like the next guy, but nah…that was just too much jewel squeezing for my tastes. If you gotta wear the skinny jeans, then don’t don them for the big move, or any other activity that has got you squatting for dollars. Otherwise if you must squat, and you are wearing your jean leotards, better that you strip to the skivvies. Just hope they are not your tighty-whities.

I often have to explain overpronation to a number of my Los Angeles, Beverly Hills and West Hollywood chiropractic clients.  I have finally found a video (please see below) that does a great job illustrating what happens to the feet during the gait cycle when overpronation is an issue.

Overpronation is an excessive turning in of the feet (to be more accurate for you doctors out there–pronation a combination of eversion, abduction and dorsiflexion).  Pronation is a natural movement that we all do (or are supposed to do, anyway) during the foot-strike phase of the gait cycle (walking).  Pronation is necessary to adapt to the surface of the ground when we take a step.

Overpronators, then, turn their foot in excessively causing a chain of events occurring up the foot, leg and thigh, and eventually into the back, which can lead to excessive wear and tear on joints and cause pain.  Some common maladies attributable to overpronation are:

The real way to correct overpronation, and thus prevent any of the above issues from becoming chronic and leading to breakdown, is the use of custom-made orthotics.  Despite a current trend toward believing (hoping?) that barefoot running is the solution to all foot dysfunction, low back pain, goiter, syphilis and every other malady of the modern world, I can assure you I have seen nothing better for resolving musculoskeletal problems caused by overpronation than orthotics (and, believe me, people have been trying).

Watch the video below to get a clear picture of what is happening during overpronation.


Buttock pain has many sources, none more irritating than piriformis syndrome.  Piriformis syndrome is a condition of a tight, inflamed piriformis muscle that clamps down on the sciatic nerve.  Piriformis syndrome, then, can lead to sciatica, a sharp, burning electrical pain down the leg and sometimes into the foot.

Piriformis syndrome needs to be diagnosed by a doctor–preferably a sports chiropractor, since you can get diagnosed and treated in the same office.  There are, however, some things that can be done at home to alleviate the symptoms.

Watch the video below to get some tips on how to take care of your own hip or buttock pain caused by piriformis syndrome.  Or you can also read the article here to learn more about piriformis syndrome


Low back pain, hip pain and sciatica can result from a tight piriformis muscle.  The piriformis runs from the sacrum (tailbone) to the femur (thigh bone), and is an external rotator of the hip.  Its function is essentially to prevent the inward collapse of the leg during walking.  It can become tight from lack of stretching (most common), overuse (especially with an overpronation foot dysfunction) and pregnancy.

Because the muscle crosses the sacroiliac joint and sits atop the sciatic nerve, a tight piriformis can cause low back pain, hip or sacroiliac pain, and sciatica.  If you’ve never had sciatica, consider yourself lucky, because it is characterized by a sharp, electrical, burning pain that shoots down a leg, sometimes to the foot, causing numbness or tingling.  Sciatica is not a pleasant situation and can be quite unnerving for the sufferer.

For sciatica caused by a tight piriformis muscle (as opposed to one caused by a herniated disk), you can try a simple stretch at home to get relief from the numbness, tingling and hip and low back pain that you might be suffering.  Watch the video to learn the best low back pain exercises and stretches available.  And while you are on the floor, pick up your phone and call your local sports chiropractor today.  If you work or reside in Los Angeles, Beverly Hills or West Hollywood, chiropractic can be found a phone call away at 323-651-2464.



Low back pain can be caused by a number of things, but one of the most common disorders I see in my West Hollywood sports chiropractic office happens to be a gait dysfunction. Our gait–or the way we walk–is dependent on a number of factors, one of which is the structural make-up (or breakdown) of our feet.

One such dysfunction is called overpronation, which is an excessive turning out of the feet from the heel during the gait cycle. Overpronation is usually the result of flat feet or collapsing arches. This excessive turning out causes a dysfunctional chain of events up the legs and to the low back. Some common symptoms, along with low back pain, are shin splints, sciatica, tight hips, and poor posture, among other things.

The answer to low back pain caused by overpronation is to have custom orthotics made for your feet. We cast orthotics in my West Hollywood chiropractic office, and within two weeks you’ll a comfortable and effective pair of shoe insert arch supports that are made specifically for your natural arch.

Please watch the video above to see overpronation in action, and a sample of custom-made orthotics. If you are having low back pain and you suspect that your feet may be part of the problem, please contact your local chiropractor today. If you are in West Hollywood, Beverly Hills or Los Angeles you can contact this chiropractor and we’ll evaluate your feet so you can kick low back pain to the curb.

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