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It's going pains; How your holiday wardrobe could be bad for your health.

Byline: Caroline Jones

EXPERTS this month warned that ill-fitting bras could cause a host of unexpected health issues - from indigestion to skin problems.

But it's not just too-tight undies to watch out for - the swimwear, sandals and sexy dresses we squeeze into during the summer months can also play havoc with our health.

For example, did you know that bodycon dresses can restrict your breathing, or that thongs may trigger a nasty bout of cystitis? In fact, a British Osteopathic Association study found millions of Brits were injured every year by their clothing, with one in two adults suffering aches, pains or injuries from handbags, bras or sunglasses.

Follow our top-to-toe guide to ensure your summer style isn't sabotaging your health BRA OR BIKINI The damage: Research suggests that up to 80 per cent of us wear a bra or bikini that doesn't fit properly.

"Women come into my clinic showing rounded shoulders, curves in the back and indigestion due to the diaphragm and lungs being restricted - all the signs of an ill-fitting bra," warned chiropractor Lorna Mills.

Conditions including skin rashes, breathing problems and tendonitis can be traced back to a too-tight bra.

And push-up styles that squeeze breasts up can cause indigestion. Summer solution: Have your bra fitted properly at a department store and choose wide straps to spread the strain.

Keep Wonderbras for occasional evening wear. Pick bikinis with underwire support and shoulder straps, rather than halter-necks, to reduce neck strain. SUNGLASSES The damage: Figures from the BOA show that a fifth of us have endured pain from sunglasses causing pressure around our heads.

Overly tight sunglasses can also cause headaches and neck pain. Summer solution: Buy from - or take your favourite sunnies to - a registered optician who can fit them properly around your ears and nose. PENDANTS & BANGLES The damage: It's tempting to update your wardrobe with a few new trinkets each season.

But beware - cut-price jewellery is often made from metals containing nickel, and wearing them daily can lead to a nickel allergy, causing rashes, itching and redness. Summer solution: Choose hypoallergenic jewellery made from metals such as stainless steel, titanium, gold or sterling silver.

Or go for leather or beads.

BODYCON DRESSES The damage: They may create a sexy hourglass figure but having a bodycon or bandage-style dress interferes with breathing - which is why corsetwearing Victorian women were often fainting.

Plus, a constant pushing on the stomach can force stomach acid back up through the oesophagus, causing a nasty bout of heartburn.

Summer solution: Limit your bodycon time to a few hours on a night out. Stick to looser shapes. SKINNY JEANS & CAPRI PANTS The damage: A few years back, Canada's Dr Malvinder Parmar noted tight trousers can squeeze a sensory nerve under the hip bone, causing a tingling, burning sensation shooting down the leg, known as meralgia paresthetica. Summer solution: Opt for baggier fit jeans or high-waisted trousers, which don't squeeze hips. MAGIC PANTS The damage: Celebs might swear by their Spanx for flattening tums under tight skirts but control pants can cut off your circulation and recent research has found they can cause back pain. term use may also weaken the Long-term use may also weaken the abdominal wall muscles, ultimately leaving the area even flabbier. Summer solution: Don't buy control pants too tight and only wear them for a few hours in the evening - never all day.

THONGS The damage: They're the best pants for avoiding a VPL under clothes but thongs are also bad for spreading bacteria from your back passage to the urethra and vaginal area, which can trigger thrush or cystitis. Summer solution: Choose goodquality cotton undies and ensure they're the correct size. If you're prone to infections, avoid thongs.

HIGH.HEELED SANDALS The damage: Because you're almost on tiptoe, wearing high sandals shortens your calves, making legs ache.

Plus, the higher the heel, the greater the pressure on the ball of the foot - which can lead to blisters and corns, as well as bunions and serious foot, knee and back pain.

One study found walking in 31/2in heels causes more bone-on-bone movement in the knees than walking barefoot, which researchers believe could explain why women have a higher incidence of osteoarthritis in the knees than men.

Summer solution: Chiropodists recommend alternating shoe type and heel height every day.

Save high shoes for special occasions and opt for platforms over thin stilettos.

HEAVY BAGS THE DAMAGE: The trend for super-sized bags isn't showing any signs of abating. But carrying a heavy handbag or beach tote can cause a host of neck, back and shoulder problems. SUMMER SOLUTION: Try easing the load by carrying essentials only. "A rucksack is kinder to your back and great for holidays," said physiotherapist Chris Hirons from N10 Injury & Sports Therapy Clinic.

FLOATY DRESSES THE DAMAGE: The Boho look is big again but there's a good chance your chiffon-style top or frock is made from synthetic fabrics such as viscose or polyester, which can cause sweating. This can lead to body odour and skin irritation. SUMMER SOLUTION: Check clothing tags and aim for natural fabrics that are breathable, with cotton your safest - and coolest - bet.

FLIP.FLOPS THE DAMAGE: Research has linked use of flip-flops to plantar fasciitis - inflammation of the sole that causes severe heel pain - as they give the arch of the foot no support. SUMMER SOLUTION: Save them for the beach or swimming pool and choose more supportive trainers for walking around. And when the sun's out, don't forget to rub some SPF on your tootsies.


RISKS Actress Jessica Simpson in floaty dress and flip-flops with heavy bag
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Publication:Daily Record (Glasgow, Scotland)
Date:Jun 27, 2013
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