Xerosis and callus formation as a key to the diabetic foot syndrome: dermatologic view of the problem and its management

J Dtsch Dermatol Ges. 2006 Nov;4(11):935-41. doi: 10.1111/j.1610-0387.2006.06123.x.
[Article in English, German]


The diabetic foot syndrome is a major complication of diabetes mellitus. The two most important pathophysiologic factors are peripheral arterial occlusion and peripheral neuropathy. The cutaneous lesion is a plantar ulcer, often accompanied by soft tissue and bone infections which can require amputation. Triggers include poorly fitting shoes, poor foot care, or overlooked foreign bodies, often coupled with a structural foot deformity. Increased plantar pressure, especially beneath the metatarsal heads, and the resultant callus play an important role. The patients often already have xerosis of the plantar skin with scales, fissures, erosions and impaired barrier function, complicating the situation. Prompt neurologic and vascular diagnostic studies, coupled with routine examination of the feet and primary prophylactic measures are most important. The most important therapeutic goals are optimal control of the diabetes mellitus, relieving pressure points and avoiding or reducing callus formation.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Callosities / complications
  • Callosities / diagnosis*
  • Callosities / therapy*
  • Dermatology / methods*
  • Diabetic Foot / diagnosis*
  • Diabetic Foot / etiology
  • Diabetic Foot / therapy*
  • Humans
  • Practice Guidelines as Topic
  • Practice Patterns, Physicians'
  • Pressure Ulcer / complications
  • Pressure Ulcer / diagnosis*
  • Pressure Ulcer / therapy*
  • Syndrome