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Women have this habit of crossing their legs when sitting on chairs in what is said to be a feminine posture, but don't overdo it, doctors advised.
They said too much of this leg crossing business will compress nerves on the upper side of the thigh and cause cartilage around the hip to wear out, leading to hip paralysis, or inflammation of the knee ligaments.
Specialists at the Nguyen Tri Phuong Hospital in Ho Chi Minh City are treating a young woman, Thuy Duong, with hip problem that doctors said was caused by "too much leg crossing for a long time."
Doctor Thai Thi Hong Anh from the hospital's musculoskeletal department said Duong's medical records showed that her muscles and bone structure used to be healthy.
Now she needs someone to support her back or lift her legs anytime she wants to sit up or lie down.
She was sitting at a café when, suddenly, her hip radiated pain and went numb, she recalled.
She wanted to stand up but could not move one of her legs off the other. She asked for a friend's help, only to hear a crack when she stood up, and then she collapsed.
An endoscopic surgery was performed to fix her hip cartilage.
Anh said the position produces "unusual" tension to the knee ligaments, making them bigger and thicker.
"Women want to look good by crossing their legs, but they can end up making them look worse," she said.
She said the leg that is below suffers both tension and weight from the other one, and makes it subject to degenerative joint disease that needs careful treatment and maybe costly transplants that only delay eventual paralysis.
The habit of crossing legs also disrupts blood flow and increases the risk of varicose veins, a condition in which the surface veins become knotted and swollen.
Anh said the disruption also leads to edema, which is a buildup of excess fluid between tissue cells, and prevents injuries, even minor ones, from healing.
The list of possible damages also includes curvature of the spinal cord, and change in the pelvis's position as well as the two hip joints.
Anh said crossing legs also causes pain from the kneecaps rubbing with other bones, and can result in numbness due to high tension on the sciatic nerve.
"Crossing legs is really a bad habit and women should give it up."
The doctor said some men also cross their legs, and the problem in their case is even bigger as the increased temperature between the legs as well as around their genitals can affect the formation and strength of their sperms.
She said no one should cross their legs for more than ten minutes at a time. They should stand up and walk to some airy spaces when the thighs start to sweat, she added.
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