Does your bra fit correctly?

Wear a proper fitting bra

The majority of women walk around in the wrong sized bra. Without realising it, 70% of women wear a bra that doesn’t fit, according to research conducted by the University of Diagram of how a well fitting bra should and shouldn't lookPortsmouth’s Department of Sport and Exercise Science. Wearing the correct size is important to support your breasts properly as you develop, go through changes related to pregnancy, and as you get older.

Physiotherapists see patients suffering from muscle strain to their shoulders, neck and back. Although breasts contain no muscle, it is important to consider how the fit of your bra (sports bra and every day bras) contributes to your muscle strain. A poorly fitting bra can cause shoulder, neck and back tension. Bulges around your breasts and upper arms from a bad fitting bra are uncomfortable and limit your ability to participate in fitness activities.

Bras range in band size from 28-56 inches and cup size from AA-K. Size guides help but vary between different makes and styles. So always try before you buy, or if shopping online make sure you can return/exchange for a bra that fits. Some stores have trained fitters. I’ve tried fitters at Selfridges and Intimates Lingerie on St Johns Wood High Street. Or try Bravissimo or Rigby & Peller, the previous fitter of HRH the Queen!

When trying on a bra put your arms in the straps first then lean forward so your breasts fall into the cups. Make sure the under band lies flat all the way around. Fasten the bra at the loosest hook, so when the material begins to stretch you can tighten as needed for a good fit. Adjust the shoulder straps so your breasts feel supported in their natural position – half way between the shoulder and elbow. Alternately, if you’ve had shoulder surgery or a rotator cuff injury limits your range of motion, place the bra with hooks in front, fasten it and rotate until hooks are in the back. Then put your operated or sore arm into the strap first.

Now look at yourself in the mirror, and put your new bra to the test:

  1. Stick ‘em up! Does the bra stay in place when you raise your arms up? Be sure no croissants of breast tissue pop out the bottom of your bra.
  2. Does your cup runneth over? Is the cup half full? A bra should hold the whole breast, or fit the larger one, without bulges or fabric wrinkles.
  3. Digging in? Your bra strap is not meant to dig into your shoulder. Shoulder straps should give support without carrying the full weight of your breasts.
  4. Ticket to ride! Your bra should not ride up in the back. Remember the under band should lie flat and be at the same level both front and back.
  5. High wires? Under wires should sit flat against and around the contour of the breast without cutting into the flesh or gaping. Check these regularly.

If you are pregnant, there is an excellent site to assist you:

For more information on finding the right bra fit for you and all things breast awareness, visit or call 0808-800-6000.

Graphic from


Posted in Womens Health Physiotherapy, Healthy Living and tagged , , .

Diane Daly

I’m a specialist physiotherapist working for Central Health Physiotherapy and based at Hospital of St John & St Elizabeth (HJE). In July 2016, I earned a Post Graduate Certificate in Women’s Health Physiotherapy from University of Bradford. As part of HJE’s Breast Unit multidisciplinary team, I am interested in treating women and men after breast cancer surgery. In my spare time, I enjoy swimming (former All American swimmer for Southern Methodist University), cooking along with Saturday Kitchen chefs and running through the streets of Camden with Good Gym volunteers to help people in the community.
In my spare time I enjoy swimming (former All American Swimmer for Southern MethodistUniversity in Dallas, Texas) and cycling.

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