Consequences of foot binding among older women in Beijing, China

Am J Public Health. 1997 Oct;87(10):1677-9. doi: 10.2105/ajph.87.10.1677.


Objectives: This study examined the prevalence and consequences of foot binding in older Chinese women.

Methods: Women older than 70 years in Beijing, China, were assessed for bound feet, falls, functional status, and bone density.

Results: Thirty-eight percent of women aged 80 years and older and 18% of women aged 70 through 79 years had bound-foot deformities. Women with bound feet were more likely to fall, less able to squat, and less able to stand up from a chair without assistance than women with normal feet. They also had 14.3% less functional reach (a test of balance) and 5.1% lower hip bone density.

Conclusions: Foot binding has caused substantial disability that is still evident in many elderly Chinese women.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Accidental Falls / statistics & numerical data*
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Bandages / adverse effects*
  • China / epidemiology
  • Disability Evaluation*
  • Female
  • Foot Deformities, Acquired / complications*
  • Foot Deformities, Acquired / epidemiology
  • Humans
  • Logistic Models
  • Middle Aged
  • Postural Balance
  • Prevalence
  • Random Allocation
  • Urban Population