Forensic Podiatry FAQs

  1. What is forensic podiatry?

    Forensic podiatry has been defined as "the application of sound and researched podiatry knowledge and experience in forensic investigations, to show the association of an individual with a scene of crime, or to answer any other legal question concerned with the foot or footwear that requires knowledge of the functioning foot". (Vernon D.W., McCourt F.J., "Forensic podiatry – a review and definition", British Journal of Podiatry, Vol. 2, No. 2, May 1999, p. 45 – 48.).

  2. Who are forensic Podiatrists and what do they do?

    The forensic podiatry sub-committee have produced a document entitled "The Role and Scope of Forensic Podiatry", which covers the training, education, role and scope of practice for the discipline.

  3. Purpose of this subcommittee is to:

    Lead on all matters relating to forensic podiatry as recognized and practiced under the auspices of the IAI. This includes:

    1. To promote the education, research, communication, and standardization of activities and goals in the area of forensic podiatry throughout the year and at each annual conference.
    2. To provide speakers for the general session and trainers for workshops on topics related to forensic podiatry. The chairperson will coordinate with the education seminar planner coordinator to ensure that the areas under this sub-committee are represented in the program.
    3. To communicate with the IAI membership through such media as the Journal of Forensic Identification (JFI) and the Identification News
    4. To provide information and resources on forensic podiatry to the IAI membership.
    5. To help develop responses to issues concerning forensic podiatry for the IAI.
    6. To work with other sub-committees of the IAI to encourage the collection and use of pedal evidence in crime scene investigation.
  4. How do I request to serve on this subcommittee?

    Anyone interested in serving on this sub-committee should contact the Chair of the Sub-Committee in writing (e-mail or hard copy) to express an interest in serving on the committee and at the same time submit a brief resume to confirm that they are suitably qualified to represent the discipline in this way.

  5. What are the terms for serving on the committee?

    The terms for serving on the forensic podiatry sub-committee are as follows:

    1. To serve on the sub-committee for the duration of the President's term of office (usually 12 months).
    2. To maintain and uphold the standards of the IAI in general and the forensic podiatry discipline in particular.
    3. To attend, if present, the annual business meeting of the sub-committee which will be held at the IAI conference/training seminar.
    4. To respond to requests from the sub-committee chair and the IAI via the sub-committee chair for information and comment.
    5. To actively participate in the sub-committee programme of work and development.
    6. To develop and recommend membership qualifications and standards for the forensic podiatry discipline.

  6. What are the responsibilities of the Chairperson?

    The responsibilities of the Chairperson are as follows:

    1. To lead the forensic podiatry sub-committee.
    2. To coordinate and set an agenda for the annual IAI forensic podiatry sub-committee meetings and provide an annual report of activity to the IAI's Chairperson of the Science and Practice Committee.
    3. To attend and chair the annual business meeting of the sub-committee which will be held at the IAI Educational Conference.
    4. To recommend appropriate sub-committee membership to the President of the IAI for the coming year.
    5. To recommend the formation of special committees and sub committees to the President of the IAI as required.
    6. To screen applications for membership of the IAI within the forensic podiatry discipline and provide a judgment as to suitability for membership.
    7. To assist the education seminar planner coordinator with workshops and lectures within the field of forensic podiatry.
    8. To make recommendations as required to the Chair of the Science and Practice Committee on matters pertinent to the forensic podiatry discipline.
    9. To act as a professional resource for the forensic podiatry discipline.
    10. To act as an expert witness for investigations and hearings which relate to the forensic podiatry discipline.
    11. To provide written reports as required by the IAI in relation to the activities of the forensic podiatry sub-committee.
    12. To liaise with other sub-committees within the IAI whose work closely relates to that of the forensic podiatry disciplines (e.g. Footwear and TireTrack) as required.
    13. To provide responses to relevant issues, resolutions, and forensic podiatry related documents.

  7. Who can I contact to obtain information regarding this subcommittee?

    Information regarding the forensic podiatry sub-committee can be obtained from the Chair of the sub-committee, which for 2015 is:

    Dr Sarah Reel
    Chair of the IAI Forensic Podiatry Sub-Committee
    c/o Sheffield Podiatry Service
    Jordanthorpe Health Centre
    1 Dyche Close
    Sheffield
    S8 8DJ
    Tel: +44 114 2371183
    Fax: +44 114 -2377531


  8. Are there any requirements for obtaining employment in the Forensic Podiatry discipline?

    As Podiatrists commonly work in discrete clinical practices, or are based within the health community, it would be unusual for a Podiatrist to be employed solely in a forensic capacity. The Role and Scope of Practice document does however define the education and training recommended for forensic podiatrists, which are as follows:

    1. Initial gaining of qualification as a Podiatrist.
    2. Gaining post graduate knowledge of specific relevance to the practice of forensic podiatry. While there are currently a few post graduate programs specifically for the forensic podiatrist (see, for example, the University of Huddersfield in the UK www.hud.ac.uk/courses/part-time/postgraduate/forensic-podiatry-msc/), there are several universities worldwide that offer post graduate courses in forensic science/forensic identification study, research, or demonstrable experience, that the can be useful in the educational process of the forensic podiatrist.
    3. Becoming competent as a forensic practitioner (e.g. through forensic science/forensic identification study, workshop, seminar, or conference attendance, comparative analysis training, expert witness training, assessed mock case working, supervised assistant work, mentorship). It has been suggested that this final phase of training as a forensic podiatrist could not be completed in less than 12 months.

  9. What source(s) such as a website, standards, best practices or guidance that is utilized by practitioners working in this field?

    Forensic podiatry practitioners adhere to the code of ethics and standards of professional conduct as required of all IAI members (see https://www.theiai.org/about/code_of_ethics.pdf) and also The IAI Role and Scope of Practice of Forensic Podiatry document.

  10. Can you provide recommendations on where to find information and resources to support research or a science project for

    1. Elementary school
    2. High school
    3. College
    4. Practitioners in the field

    Forensic podiatry is a highly specialized field. General forensic science -based literature would be suitable for Elementary and High School students, e.g. Forensic Science: The Basics (2010) Siegle & Marakovits, CRC Press. For under graduate and post graduate university students and practitioners, the following publications are recommended:

    • Birch, I., Ray, L., Christou, A., Fernando, M., Harrison, N., & Paul, F. (2013). The reliability of suspect recognition based on gait analysis from CCTV footage. Science and Justice, 53, 339-342.
    • Birch, I., Vernon, W., Burrow, G., & Walker, J. (2013). The effect of frame rate on the ability of experienced gait analysts to identify characteristics of gait from closed circuit television footage. Science and Justice, 54, 59-63. doi: 10.1016/j.scijus.2013.10.002.
    • Birch, I., Vernon, W., Walker, J., & Saxelby, J. (2013). The development of a tool for assessing the quality of closed circuit camera footage for use in forensic gait analysis. Journal of Forensic and Legal Medicine, 20, 915-917.
    • DiMaggio, J. (2004) The role of feet and footwear in medicolegal investigations. In Rich, J. & Dean, D. E. (Eds.) Forensic medicine of the lower extremity: human identification and trauma analysis of the thigh, leg, and foot. Totowa, N.J., Humana; Oxford: Blackwell.
    • DiMaggio, J. A. & Vernon, D. W. (2011) Forensic podiatry: Principles and methods. Humana Press.
    • Gunn, N. (1991) Old and new methods of evaluating footprint impressions by a forensic podiatrist. British Journal of Podiatric Medicine and Surgery, 3, 8-11.
    • Krishan K., Kanchan T., DiMaggio J.A. (2015) Emergence of forensic podiatry-A novel sub-discipline of forensic sciences. Forensic Science International, 255, 16-27.
    • Larsen P.K., Simonsen E.B., Lynnerup N. (2008) Gait analysis in forensic medicine, Journal of Forensic Sciences, 53, 1149–1153
    • Qamra, S. R., Sharma, B. P. & Kaila, P. (1980) Naked foot marks - a preliminary study of identification factors. Forensic Science International, 16, 145-52.
    • Reel, S., Rouse, S., Vernon, W. & Doherty, P. (2010) Reliability of a two-dimensional footprint measurement approach. Science and Justice, 50, 113-8.
    • Vernon, D. W. & McCourt, F. J. (1999) Forensic podiatry - a review and definition. British Journal of Podiatry, 2, 45-48.
    • Vernon, W. (2007) The Foot. In Thompson, T. & Black, S. (Eds.) Forensic Human Identification: An Introduction. Boca Raton FL: CRC Press.
    • Vernon, W. (2009) Forensic podiatry: A review. Axis: The Online Journal of Centre for Anatomy and Human Identification, 1, 60-70.
    • Vernon, W., Parry, A. & Potter, M. (1998) Preliminary findings in a delphi study of shoe wear marks. Journal of Forensic Identification, 48, 22-38.