Being fashionable usually comes at a cost, and stylish people toward the end of the Middle Ages in Britain paid a steep price for wearing pointy shoes.
Pointy-shoe wearers often developed bunions, a type of foot deformity in which a bony mass forms at the base of the big toe and pushes that toe inward at an angle. While many factors can cause bunions, known medically as hallux valgus, this condition was far less common in the 13th century and earlier, when footwear styles were less extreme, according to a new study.
As these fashion victims grew older, they incurred other injuries, too. Bunions can lead to balance problems, and an examination of medieval skeletons showed that older individuals with bunions were also likely to have fractures in their upper limbs, from falls that were serious enough to break their bones.