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Bras Are Hazardous to Your Health

Scarlett and Mammy in "Gone With the Wind"

How did we ever reach bras with fasteners in the back? We didn’t reach blouses with buttons in the back. Were the hooks and eyes in the back of the brassiere some kind of sadistic, puritanical design, the purpose of which was to make it harder for men to undo them? Was it to exercise and stretch out the muscles of our chests, or was it just a simple holdover from the days of corsets which laced in the back?

No matter. That was then and this is now, and I can speak to the fact that this design contributes to the gradual destruction of our wimpy little rotator cuffs. I’m calling on women to ditch those back-snapping bras in favor of clasps in the front. Make it easier… on men and women alike. They’re coming off no matter what, so what if you decide whether your rotator cuffs are worth the itty-bitty change? I can tell you they are. It’s important to ditch those back-clasping sport bras.

I’m also calling on bra designers to make more front opening bras. Bra manufacturers are slowly responding to the demand. There are more selections now than in the past. A lot of us used to find that front snaps would accidentally come undone at inopportune moments, but designers have developed front locking clasps which work quite nicely.

Want to know the quickest way to tear your fifty-year-old rotator cuff right in two? Repeatedly remove sweaty sport bras over your head. Seek out front zipping, snapping or clasping sport bras. There are plenty out there from which to choose. If all else fails… Close your bras in the front and turn them around to the back.


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Dr. Barbara Bergin is a board certified Orthopedic Surgeon who has been taking care of the bones and joints of Austin, Texas, for over 30 years. She prefers prevention to treatment and takes a natural approach to both when possible. By informing her readers and patients through 1010ParkPlace and her blog,, she wants to prevent 100,000 injuries before she retires.

6 thoughts on “Bras Are Hazardous to Your Health”

  1. I had lost awareness until just now, that since forever, I’ve been hooking in front and just sliding it the clasp around to the back. If I tried to do it the right way now, I’d probably get really frustrated.

  2. Sound advice. My 65 year-old rotators are still working well, but you make a good point. Now if designers would return to straps that are more centered on the shoulder, instead of on the far edges. My narrow shoulders can no longer keep the straps in place.

  3. I’ve been wearing front-hook bras for years. They’re more comfortable, are a better fit for small-breasted women, and some are adorable. I’m coveting one at Victoria’s Secret right now!

  4. Great advice Barbara! Something’s not right with my right shoulder, although I’m hoping it’s not rotator cuff. The fact that our “parts are out of warranty” is one of the hardest things about getting older. That and losing those you love. xoxo, Brenda

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