Because the workers had to stand all the time they were working, not even being allowed to sit to eat, young children employed in such factories often grew up with deformities such as knock knees. Sir Samuel Smith, a doctor, explained how when he was interviewed on the 16th of July, 1832:
"Up to twelve or thirteen
years of age, the bones are so soft that they will bend in any direction. The
foot is formed of an arch of bones of a wedge-like shape. These arches have to
sustain the whole weight of the body. I am now frequently in the habit of seeing
cases in which this arch has given way. Long continued standing has also a very
injurious effect upon the ankles. But the principle effects which I have seen
produced in this way have been upon the knees. By long continued standing the
knees become so weak that they turn inwards, producing that deformity which is
called "knock-knees" and I have sometimes seen it so striking, that
the individual has actually lost twelve inches of his height by it."
Also, because of having to stand for long hours, young girls employed grew up with deformed pelvises. Because their bones were soft and still growing, when they have to stand for ages, the pelvis cannot develop properly.
"Instead of forming an oval aperture, it forms a triangular one, the part supporting the spine being pressed downwards, and the parts receiving the heads of the thigh-bones being pressed inwards."
This meant that if the girl became pregnant in later life, the foetus could not leave the womb and the doctor would be forced to kill the child to save the woman's life.