Diabetes foot self-care practices in the German population

J Clin Nurs. 2008 Nov;17(21):2920-6. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-2702.2008.02352.x.


Aim: The object of this study was to find out which self-care activities patients with diabetes perform to prevent diabetic foot syndrome (DFS) and to look for differences between patient groups (diabetes education and foot at risk).

Background: Besides the importance of screening patients at risk to develop a DFS and the clinical interventions, it is also necessary to involve the patient with diabetes in the self-care of their feet. There is no information in Germany concerning self-care activities carried out by patients for the prevention of DFS.

Design: A cross-sectional study.

Method: A secondary analysis of the data used in the study for the development of the 'Frankfurter Catalogue of Foot Self-Care - Prevention of Diabetic Foot Syndrome'. Two hundred and sixty-nine patients with type 1 and type 2 diabetes were included. The study population was divided into different training experience groups and foot at risk groups based on self-reported data.

Results: Patients who had participated in more than three education programmes performed significantly better self-care than patients who had no or only one training programme. Patients with a foot at risk for the development of diabetic foot ulcer perform more adequate self-care regarding professional assistance in foot care, but are not more active in the self-control of the feet, shoes and socks.

Conclusions: There are self-care deficits regarding self-control of feet, shoes and socks. Based on the data it seems to be that more than three education programmes are needed to lead to performance of adequate self-care. Especially patients with a foot at risk need more professional support for their daily self-care activities to prevent DFS or further foot complications.

Relevance to clinical practice: The first findings support that it might be helpful to identify patients with self-care deficits and therefore to improve patients daily foot self-care.

MeSH terms

  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Diabetic Foot / nursing*
  • Diabetic Foot / therapy
  • Germany
  • Humans
  • Self Care*