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Heel–Ball index: An analysis of footprint dimensions for determination of sexAnalysis of foot print dimensions in sex determination

Elsevier B.V.
DOI: 10.1016/j.ejfs.2014.02.002
  • Forensic Anthropology
  • Identification
  • Sex Determination
  • Footprints
  • Heel–Ball Index


Abstract Determination of sex from the footprints recovered at crime scenes can help the investigation by narrowing down the pool of possible suspects. The present research studies the dimensions of the heel and the ball in footprints, and derives the Heel–Ball (HB) index from these foot dimensions with the aim to find out if the foot dimensions and the HB index exhibit sexual dimorphisms. The study was carried out on 100 individuals (50males, 50females) of Indian origin. Footprints were obtained from both feet of the study participants using standard techniques. Thus, a total of 200 footprints were obtained. The breadth of the footprint at ball (BBAL) and the breadth of the footprint at heel (BHEL) were measured on the footprints. The HB index was derived as (BHEL÷BBAL)×100. The footprint measurements at the ball and heel were significantly larger in males on both the sides. Likewise, the derived HB index was larger in males in both feet, but the sex differences were not statistically significant. The study concludes that though footprint dimensions can be used in the determination of sex, the HB index may not be utilized in sex determination from footprints.

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