Fashion vs. Feet

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Earlier this week I saw a story in the Daily Mail that Victoria Beckham (Posh Spice) is in need of foot surgery. It appears that she has bunions, caused by her incessant wearing of ridiculously high heels.

The article has a sidebar explaining bunions:

Many women will have winced at the sight of Victoria Beckham’s gnarled feet in her killer heels. That’s because 15million of us can feel her pain – we, too, have bunions.

A bunion is a bony bump at the base of the big toe joint – as your shoe rubs on this, it becomes painfully inflamed.

Sufferers tend to have lax tendons and ligaments – these are the bands of fibrous tissue that join the bones and muscles.

If these aren’t as taut as they should be, the top of the big toe drifts towards the little toe. This causes the bottom of the toe bone to stick out, creating a bump on the side of the foot.

It is overwhelmingly a female problem, largely as a result of high heels. A towering heel throws your weight forward onto your splayed out toes and forefoot, putting pinching pressure on the big toe joint.

Of course, Victoria says that there is no way she could give up her heels, because she is such the fashion icon, and she loves her heels. Hint: deformed and painful feet do not make you look good. The story shows a picture of her feet, and they are painful just to look at. How can that possibly be “fashionable”?

And it’s not just bunions that are caused by high heels. A couple of studies, “Knee osteoarthritis and high-heeled shoes” and “Women’s shoes and knee osteoarthritis” show that the peak torque on your knees when wearing high-heeled shoes is 20-30% higher when wearing such heels. The location of that peak torque is right at the site at which knees wear out as you get older, leading to osteoarthritis.

What’s really annoying from the barefooter’s point of view is that stores and other entities are so concerned (unjustifiably) about us hurting our feet in their venues, yet, as long as the the damage to the feet and body is slow and long-term, as it is with high heels, they are perfectly OK with that. (Of course, some of that is fed by an unjustified fear of lawsuits.)

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3 Responses to “Fashion vs. Feet”

  1. Anemone Says:

    I can understand why women would want to wear fashionable shoes, and I fully support their right to ruin their feet for fun if they want to (even as I can’t even get my feet into such shoes myself). I think a large part of the problem, though, is the fashion modelled in fashion magazines and on the runway. It’s human nature for most people (barefooters probably an exception to this) to want to do what other people are doing. So we see people dressing in a certain way and we want to imitate. I wouldn’t blame the shoe stores or shoe manufacturers – if they only stocked healthy shoes they could go out of business. It’s the people who set the fashions in the first place (and how many of *them* wear heels) who are driving this.

    (Of course there’s also the footbinding=attractive motif, too – as long as some men find women in heels attractive some women will wear them. I don’t understand that part very well.)

  2. High Societal Pressure « Society for Barefoot Living Says:

    […] Here’s a different idea: maybe Sarandon doesn’t need to torture her feet simply because some so-called fashion maven tries to apply social pressure. Maybe Sarandon is more sensible than Victoria Beckham. […]

  3. Eric Says:

    High heels are fashionable? Must be a cultural thing. Throughout recent history, many people (especially women) have been stuffing their feet into ridiculous cases in attempt to make them look good. They forget that the skin is more beautiful than any man-made garment and that the foot itself can be fashionable at an inevitably cheaper price.

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