A research team from Portsmouth University said women could be damaging their breasts without realising it, due to ignorance or embarrassment. They discovered that wearing the wrong bras could irreparably stretch fragile ligaments.
They tested 50 bra designs on hundreds of women over a period of three years. Research was led by breast biomechanics expert Dr Joanna Scurr. The research found that breasts move up to 21cm during exercise and that they move up and down, in and out and from side to side. Most bras only limit vertical movement.
Wendy Hedger, a researcher on Dr Scurr’s team, said: ‘Many women have strong preferences for certain styles of bra and won’t buy anything else. They won’t even look at anything that doesn’t look like the sort of bra they are used to wearing.
‘Many other women are unaware that they are wearing a badly fitting bra or unknowingly wear the wrong bra size because they are routinely being sold ill-fitting bras,’ she said. ‘Some women forget that their shape and size change and they might have to go through several changes in bra size over their lifetime especially after breast feeding and the menopause.’
The team has helped a New Zealand bra manufacturer design a new bra for high-impact sports, which goes on sale in Europe this summer.