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Forensic Podiatry Discipline
Forensic podiatry is 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, McCourt, 1999).
Forensic podiatrists assist in the identification of perpetrators of crime where barefoot prints, footwear and CCTV evidence are involved. Their expertise is required in identification in the assessment of the effects of foot and lower limb function, the evaluation and matching of wear associated with the foot/shoe interface and in comparisons requiring consideration of shoe size. In their CCTV work, forensic podiatrists compare the gait patterns of individuals captured on CCTV with those of suspected offenders. Forensic podiatrists are also involved in the identification of human remains from comparison of the feet of the deceased with detail listed in the podiatry records of missing individuals.
In footwear identification work, forensic podiatrists have close and complimentary links with footwear examiners. Although both disciplines may consider the same features and use the same basic approaches of measurement and description, the forensic podiatrist is mainly concerned with the interpretation of these features and in considering whether differences observed between known and unknown feet and worn shoes can be justified.
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.