Wedgies have been the staple of school-yard bullies and pranksters for years. While reportedly possible to die of asphyxiation from application of an atomic wedgie, there has not been a medical report about the possible dangers of the act. Getting a firm grip on the problem, this case report pulls up the underpinnings of damage caused from one such wedge issue.
Wedgies are popularly defined as the upward yanking of another’s underpants—at any force—to wedge them between that person’s buttocks as a prank, an adventure, or a malicious act, with or without the recipient’s foreknowledge or consent. We report here the case of a quinquagenarian who experienced deleterious consequences after receiving an unanticipated wedgie.
In 2009, the patient and his wife had been ‘playfully’ exchanging wedgies as pranks. After one particular wedgie “of moderate force,” the patient felt a severe pain in his lower back, along with numbness in his left leg and foot. While the pain eased up eventually, the numbness would be recurrent for years.
In February 2016, the patient, now 56 years old, said that his wedgie-associated radicular symptoms had disappeared. He added that his wife had been so disturbed by the index event in 2009 that she had stopped giving him wedgies.
Source: Sutherland, C. E., Dvoretzky, T., & Solomos, N. J. (2016). Wedgie-associated radiculitis in a quinquagenarian. Baylor University Medical Center Proceedings, 29(4), 389-390.
Bonus: The article outlines the difference between a standard wedgie and the notorious atomic wedgie: “Atomic wedgies differ from standard wedgies in that the underpants are pulled up at least to the recipient’s scapulae and optimally over the head, with strong or so-called “atomic” force.”