In recent years, there has been a rapid increase in the size and number of medical image collections. Thus, the development of appropriate methods for medical information retrieval is especially important. In a large collection of spine X-ray images, maintained by the National Library of Medicine, vertebral boundary shape has been determined to be relevant to pathology of interest. This paper presents an innovative partial shape matching (PSM) technique using dynamic programming (DP) for the retrieval of spine X-ray images. The improved version of this technique called corner-guided DP is introduced. It uses nine landmark boundary points for DP search and improves matching speed by approximately 10 times compared to traditional DP. The retrieval accuracy and processing speed of the retrieval system based on the new corner-guided PSM method are evaluated and included in this paper.