The fashion of pointe shoes that was popular in medieval England

An excavated medieval foot bone with a valgus mother val, with the big toe offset outward.Credit: Jenna Dittmer

A new study suggests that the epidemic of pointed shoes led to a sharp increase in the big toe valgus — (often called the valgus bun) in the late Middle Ages. New research shows that fashion has been struggling for centuries.

Researchers investigating the bodies of Cambridge, England, have found that people buried in the center of town, especially in plots for wealthy citizens and clergy, are far more likely to have a valgus mother had. I found it expensive. ..

The Cambridge University team also said that medieval seniors with valgus mothers Fractured bone This is because they are more likely to fall than children of the same age who have normal feet.

The valgus mother is a mild deformity in which the largest toe is angled outward and a bony prominence is formed at the medial groin of the foot.

Factors ranging from heredity to muscle imbalance are prone to valgus mothers, but the most common modern causes are contractile boots and shoes.Condition is often associated with wearing High heels..

Archaeologists analyzed 177 skeletons from the city of Cambridge and the surrounding cemeteries and found that only 6% of individuals buried between the 11th and 13th centuries had evidence of distress. However, 27% of them, dating back to the 14th and 15th centuries, were hampered by long-standing valgus mothers.

Researchers have pointed out that the style of shoes has changed significantly. 14th century: From a functional rounded toe box to a longer and more elegant pointed tip.

In a treatise published today in International Journal of PaleopathologyThe team at the After the Plague project at the University of Cambridge claims that these “Purein” shoes caused the rise of valgus mothers in medieval England.

“In the 14th century, a wide variety of new styles of dresses and footwear appeared in a variety of fabrics and colors. Fashion trends It was a pointed toe shoe called Pourin, “said Dr. Pears Mitchell, co-author of the study, in the Department of Archeology, Cambridge.

“By the late 14th century, almost all types of shoe debris excavated in London, Cambridge, etc. shoes At least slightly pointed-it was a style common to both adults and children. “

“Investigating the changes that took place between the late Middle Ages and the Middle Ages, we found that the increase in valgus halls over time must have been due to the introduction of these new footwear styles,” Mitchell said. T.

Dr. Jenna Dittmar, the lead author of the study while attending the University of Cambridge, said, “I think the valgus mother of is a modern problem, but this study actually affected medieval adults in general. It shows that it is one of the conditions. “

The fashion of pointe shoes that was popular in medieval England

An adult sole in Cambridge in the late 14th century, with a pointed shape.Credits: Cambridge Archeology Unit

The bodies were brought from four separate locations around Cambridge. Charity Hospital (now part of St. John’s College). The site of the former Augustine Monastery, where priests and wealthy patrons were buried. A local parish graveyard on the edge of the town. A rural burial ground near a village 6 km south of Cambridge.

Researchers conducted a “paleontological evaluation,” such as examining the bones of the foot for valgus mother’s characteristic toe ridge.

They found a sliding scale of valgus mother prevalence associated with the wealth of people buried at each site. The signs were seen in only 3% of the rural graveyards, 10% of the parish graveyards (which mainly housed the working poor), and up to 23% of the graveyards on the hospital grounds.

However, nearly half (about 43%) of those buried in the monastery, including five of the 11 individuals identified by the belt buckle as priests, had the mark of valgus mother.

“The dressing rules of Augustine’s monks included footwear that was” black and strapped to the ankles “to suit the lifestyle of worship and poverty,” Mitchell said.

However, in the 13th and 14th centuries, it became more and more common for British clergy to wear stylish clothes. This was a concern among high-ranking church officials. “

In 1215, the church banned clerics from wearing pointed-toed shoes. This may have been of little help in curbing trends, as a number of additional legislation on clerical dress indiscriminateness had to be passed in 1281 and 1342.

“As seen in the description of Chaucer’s monks in The Canterbury Tales, the adoption of fashionable clothing by clergy was very common and spurred criticism in contemporary literature,” said Mitchell. ..

In late medieval society as a whole, the pointed shoes became so extreme that in 1463 King Edward IV passed a law in London limiting the length of the toes to less than 2 inches.

At all sites and times surveyed, the majority of bodies with signs of valgus mothers were male (20 of 31 valgus mother patients). The study also suggests that the health costs of foot fashion are not limited to valgus mothers.

Dr. Jenna Dittmar found that skeletal bodies with valgus mother val with are also likely to show signs of fractures, usually due to falls.

This association turned out to be important only among those who died over the age of 45. This suggests that young fashion choices have returned to bother middle-aged people even in the Middle Ages.

“The latest clinical studies of valgus mothers have shown that deformity makes it harder to balance and increases the risk of falls in the elderly,” said Dittmer. “This explains the high number of healed fractures found in the medieval skeleton of this condition.”

Studies show that cancer incidence in the United Kingdom in the Middle Ages is about 10 times higher than previously thought.

For more information:
International Journal of Paleopathology, DOI: 10.1016 / j.ijpp.2021.04.012

Quote: The bunion pla (2021) that was prevalent in medieval Britain, searched from on June 10, 2021. June 10, 2014) Pointe shoe fashion

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