Diabetic foot ulcers: a quality of life issue

Diabetes Metab Res Rev. 2001 Jul-Aug;17(4):246-9. doi: 10.1002/dmrr.216.


Foot ulcers are a serious complication of diabetes mellitus that are associated with adverse sequelae and high costs. In addition, such foot ulcers have a significant impact on quality of life (QoL). For example, the loss of mobility associated with foot ulcers affects patients' ability to perform simple, everyday tasks and to participate in leisure activities. These and other consequences of foot ulcers often lead to depression and poor QoL. Notably, several studies have shown that patients with diabetes mellitus and foot ulcers were more depressed and had poorer QoL than those who had no diabetic complications. Given the detrimental effect foot ulcers have on patients, it is essential that these foot ulcers are prevented or treated more effectively than at present. Evidence suggests that many foot ulcers can be prevented by using intensive interventions and adopting a multidisciplinary approach to treatment. In addition, preventative strategies may become more effective if new research into how patients with diabetes experience and interpret their health threats (e.g. diagnosis "loss of sensation" or a foot ulcer episode) is taken into account. With regard to treatment, new options should enable ulcers to heal more quickly than with standard therapies. One area of interest is the use of growth factors. For example, recombinant platelet-derived growth factor, in addition to good ulcer care, has been shown to improve the number of ulcers that heal and healing times significantly compared with good ulcer care alone. Other potential new treatments include the use of skin substitutes. In summary, improved preventative measures and wound treatment should reduce the potential for patients with diabetes mellitus to experience impaired QoL caused by foot ulcers.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Diabetic Foot* / prevention & control
  • Diabetic Foot* / psychology
  • Diabetic Foot* / therapy
  • Growth Substances / therapeutic use
  • Humans
  • Quality of Life*
  • Skin, Artificial


  • Growth Substances