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August 1, 2023

Health expert issues warning over viral Barbie feet challenge: ‘Keep the fad to movie stars’

Filed under: Fitness — Tags: — admin @ 1:08 am

The Barbie phenomenon continues to sweep the globe after the release of Margot Robbie’s epic pink flick in cinemas, inspiring everything from homeware trends to Barbiecore fashion.

But one of the most iconic scenes from the movie has sparked a different kind of viral trend online, that has prompted a health warning from experts.

The scene in question shows 33-year-old Robbie’s legs walking down a bright pink hallway in sparkly, furry high heels, which she slips out of to reveal her still-arched feet. Just like a Barbie doll.

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Aussie Barbie Dreamhouse for sale Margot Robbie Queensland Domain
Margot Robbie’s Barbie movie has prompted a host of trends. (Warner Bros)

Since that scene was included in one of the trailers, hashtags #BarbieFeet and #BarbieFeetChallenge have garnered a combined total of over 80 million views on TikTok, with people recreating the walk themselves.

Searches for ”Barbie Foot Challenge” have also increased a huge 2,950 per cent, according to Foot, Ankle & Leg Vein Center

But while the scene may prompt some feelings of nostalgia for many, becoming particularly popular among ballerinas and dancers, a podiatrist has warned that following the trend “is not without risk”.

“If someone attempts the pose once or twice, they will likely be OK and produce a great TikTok video,” Dr. Jodi R. Schoenhaus told the New York Post.

“However, if attempting the pose and stride over long periods, there are some risks involved. The ankle is unstable, which can lead to ligament sprains and injuries, commonly seen with high heel use.”

'Barbie feet challenge' has gone viral on TikTok after Margot Robbie movie
Hashtags #BarbieFeet and #BarbieFeetChallenge have over 80 million views on TikTok. (TikTok)

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While the move generally mimics the foot position of simply wearing heels, the difference is in the support.

Schoenhaus warns the high-arched position of the Barbie foot can also lead to muscle and spine issues since it strains the lower back – and it can damage growth plates, which is particularly problematic for younger girls who are still growing.

“To walk on your toes without heels isn’t sustainable,” she said.

“Considering we aren’t trained ballerinas en pointe, let’s keep the fad to movie stars who have props and multiple takes to make it look perfect.”

'Barbie feet challenge' has gone viral on TikTok after Margot Robbie movie
Health experts warn doing the trend too often can damage feet. (TikTok)

Even wearing heels can have a dramatic affect on your posture, plus affect the knees, calf muscles and the ball of the foot – and the higher the heel, the more pressure will be put on the forefoot.

“The height of the heel really changes the total function of the lower limbs – it totally changes gait,” Adam Glascock, principal podiatrist at Newcastle Podiatry

“When you are in heels for a long time, you will get shortening of muscle and that can cause problems with your Achilles, calf muscles and hamstrings. “

Heels can also switch off our core and glut muscles, which can cause back issues.

“While we’re in the heels we can look quite slender and beautiful, but when we get out of them it can affect our posture by slouching, creating curvature in the back and our knees can come in,” Nicole Reilly, podiatrist and founder of Sole Therapy, added at the time.

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