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Platformed overshoe, England, 1950-1970

Platformed overshoe, England, 1950-1970

Credits: Science Museum

Here a standard leather black children’s shoe has been strapped into an overshoe 70 mm tall. Shoes like this are worn by those who have one leg significantly longer than the other. This condition may be present at birth or be caused by diseases such as polio. Today, surgical treatment by lengthening or shortening the bone can be offered. The shoe was used at the Lord Mayor Treloar Orthopaedic Hospital in Alton, Hampshire, England. Founded in 1908, the hospital specialised in treating children with orthopaedic conditions – primarily caused by tuberculosis and polio. By the 1960s, the hospital was treating more general orthopaedic cases.

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Glossary: shoe

A durable covering for the human foot, made of leather or similar material with a rigid sole and heel, usually extending no higher than the ankle.

Glossary: tuberculosis

An infectious disease that is caused by a bacterium first identified by Robert Koch in 1882. The disease usually affects the lungs first, and is accompanied by a chronic cough.

Glossary: polio

An infectious disease affecting the central nervous system. Affected individuals can exhibit a range of symptoms if the polio virus enters the blood stream.