In this paper we prove a well known contour evolution technique can result in inconsistent non-simple or self-intersecting polygons. This technique is used as a pre-processing step to a number of shape matching and part-decomposition strategies which are only well-defined for simple polygons. We analyze one such class of shape matching strategies, which use a highly cited method based on turning-functions to determine similarity. We prove that due to the possibility of self-intersecting polygons these methods are not well-defined. A simple alteration to the original contour evolution technique, which ensures the evolution of a consistent simple polygon, is proposed. This technique only alters the result slightly relative to the original evolution technique and therefore maintains the property of suitable shape evolution. Â© 2009 World Scientific Publishing Company.