Purpose: To compare Quality of Life (QoL) between diabetic patients with (former or present) and without foot ulcers.
Methods: Two patient groups of comparable age, sex distribution, type distribution and duration of diabetes were studied. Fourteen patients with former or present, but clinically stable diabetic foot ulcers (DFUs) were studied. The control group was 24 unknown patients with DFUs. None of the participants had other diabetic complications or conditions that would potentially affect QoL. A diabetic foot risk score and QoL were assessed. QoL was scored with the RAND-36, the Barthel Score (ADL) and the Walking and Walking Stairs Questionnaire (WSQ).
Results: Marked and significant differences were found in physical functioning (p < 0.001), social functioning (p < 0.05), physical role (p < 0.001) and health experience (p < 0.05) between the two groups with the RAND-36 and the four subscales of the WSQ (all p < 0.001). On all these scales, QoL was significantly poorer in the study group. A correlation was found between the risk scores and QoL (physical functioning and physical role Spearman's r: -0.66, -0.56 and WSQ -0.63, -0.64, -0.67 and 0.71, respectively).
Conclusion: Presence or history of DFUs has a large impact on physical role, physical functioning and mobility. Physical impairments especially influenced QoL. Probably, QoL can be increased by providing attention that will enhance mobility and by giving advice about adaptations and special equipment.