Do static and dynamic activities induce potentially damaging breast skin strain?

Michelle Norris, Chris Mills, Amy Sanchez, Joanna Wakefield-Scurr

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Background/Aim: This study aimed to quantify breast skin strain and strain rate and the effect of support garments at reducing strain and to determine characteristics that correlate with strain during static and dynamic activity.

Methods: 39 women (UK size 32C to 36G) had electromagnetic sensors applied to their breast skin. Sensor coordinates were recorded while standing, walking, running, in no, low and high breast support conditions, plus bare-breasted in the estimated neutral position to calculate strain. Relative breast coordinates and 35 inter-sensor distances identified peak breast skin strain (%) and strain rate (%·s-1), which were then correlated with nipple kinematics, breast pain and participant characteristics.

Results: Mean peak breast skin strain was generally <60% during standing, walking and running; however, some individuals exhibited 93% strain in bare-breasted running. Compared with low support, high support did not further reduce strain during standing and walking. Peak breast skin strain/strain rate location was longitudinal, in lateral and medial breast regions and displayed strong correlations with breast volume, body mass index and bust circumference.

Conclusion: Static and dynamic activity did not result in excessive breast skin strain, suggesting low risk of skin damage. However, during running, some individuals experienced excessive skin strains (up to 93%) and strain rates (up to 1258%·s-1). Breast skin strain/strain rate location suggests lift is required in the lateral and medial bra cup to reduce strain, particularly in larger breast volumes due to increased skin strain risk.
Original languageEnglish
Article numbere000770
Number of pages10
JournalBMJ Open Sport and Exercise Medicine
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 14 Jul 2020


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