Medieval fashion for pointy shoes linked to rise in bunions

Cambridge research suggests foot problem was more common after Blackadder-style shoe became popular

From waist-squeezing corsets to crinoline skirts, fashion has rarely been about comfort – or safety. Now researchers have revealed that even in medieval times, men and women could become martyrs to fashion, linking a trend in pointy shoes to a rise in the prevalence of bunions.

Bunions – or hallux valgus– are bulges that appear on the side of the foot as the big toe leans in towards the other toes and the first metatarsal bone points outwards. Studies suggest factors such as genetics probably predispose some people to the condition, but it is thought high heels and pointy shoes may exacerbate the problem or speed up its development.

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