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A Theory of Shoe Wear Pattern Influence Incorporating a New Paradigm for the Podiatric Medical Profession

Wesley Vernon Podiatry Service, Community Health Sheffield, Sheffield, England.

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Anne Parry School of Health and Community Studies, Sheffield Hallam University, Sheffield, England.

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Michael Potter Podiatry Research Group, School of Health Professions and Rehabilitation Sciences, University of Southampton, Southampton, England.

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Qualitative analysis of shoe wear patterns collected from a questionnaire evaluating podiatric physicians’ experiences in this area suggests that wear patterns could indicate causative function within a known pathologic context. Several different functions are suggested by patterns associated with each of the pathologic entities involved, and analysis of the relationship between patterns and reasons given by respondents for pattern-form variations show the strongest associations to be with functionally termed conditions. A basic model is proposed to present factors important in wear pattern production, suggesting that a new concept of primary walking intention is more influential than foot pathologies in wear pattern formation and that external factors are also influential, with the combined factors being described as the “holistic foot function.” This model may provide a variety of benefits to podiatric medicine; as shoe wear patterns are records of the usual long-term activity of the functioning foot, this paradigm could form a basis for podiatric medical practice. (J Am Podiatr Med Assoc 94(3): 261–268, 2004)

Corresponding author: Wesley Vernon, PhD, DPodM, Podiatry Service, Community Health Sheffield, Centenary House, Heritage Park, 55 Albert Terrace Rd, Sheffield S6 3BR, England.