Diabetic foot problems are common throughout the world, resulting in major economic consequences for the patients, their families, and society. Foot ulcers are more likely to be of neuropathic origin, and therefore eminently preventable, in developing countries, which will experience the greatest rise in the prevalence of type 2 diabetes in the next 20 years. People at greatest risk of ulceration can easily be identified by careful clinical examination of the feet: education and frequent follow-up is indicated for these patients. When assessing the economic effects of diabetic foot disease, it is important to remember that rates of recurrence of foot ulcers are very high, being greater than 50% after 3 years. Costing should therefore include not only the immediate ulcer episode, but also social services, home care, and subsequent ulcer episodes. A broader view of total resource use should include some estimate of quality of life and the final outcome. An integrated care approach with regular screening and education of patients at risk requires low expenditure and has the potential to reduce the cost of health care.