In the present study, the role of finger millet feeding on skin antioxidant status, nerve growth factor (NGF) production and wound healing parameters in healing impaired early diabetic rats is reported. Hyperglycemic rats received food containing 50 g/100 g finger millet (FM). Non-diabetic controls and diabetic controls received balanced nutritive diet. Full-thickness excision skin wounds were made after 2 weeks prior feeding of finger millet diet. The rate of wound contraction, and the levels of collagen, hexosamine and uronic acid in the granulation tissue were determined. The skin antioxidant status and lipid peroxide concentration were also monitored during the study. In hyperglycemic rats fed with finger millet diet, the healing process was hastened with an increased rate of wound contraction. Skin levels of glutathione (GSH), ascorbic acid and alpha-tocopherol in alloxan-induced diabetic rat were lower as compared to non-diabetics. Altered activities of superoxide dismutase (SOD) and catalase (CAT) were also recorded in diabetics. Interestingly, thiobarbituric acid reactive substances (TBARS) were elevated in the wound tissues of all the groups, when compared to normal (unwounded) skin tissues. However, in diabetic rats the TBARS levels of both normal and wounded skin tissues were significantly elevated (P < 0.001) when compared with control (non-diabetic) and diabetics fed with FM. Impaired production of NGF, determined by ELISA, in diabetic rats was improved upon FM feeding and further confirmed by immunocytochemical observations reflects the increased expression of NGF in hyperglycemic rats supplemented with FM-enriched diet. Histological and electron microscopical evaluations revealed the epithelialization, increased synthesis of collagen, activation of fibroblasts and mast cells in FM-fed animals. Thus, increased levels of oxidative stress markers accompanied by decreased levels of antioxidants play a vital role in delaying wound healing in diabetic rats. However, FM feeding to the diabetic animals, for 4 weeks, controlled the glucose levels and improved the antioxidant status, which hastened the dermal wound healing process.