Management of diabetic foot ulcers presents a major clinical challenge. The response to treatment is often poor and the outcome disappointing, while the costs are high for both healthcare providers and the patient. In such circumstances, it is essential that management should be based on firm evidence and follow consensus. In the case of the diabetic foot, however, clinical practice can vary widely. It is for these reasons that the International Working Group on the Diabetic Foot has published guidelines for adoption worldwide. The Group has now also completed a series of non-systematic and systematic reviews on the subjects of soft tissue infection, osteomyelitis, offloading and other interventions designed to promote ulcer healing. The current article collates the results of this work in order to demonstrate the extent and quality of the evidence which is available in these areas. In general, the available scientific evidence is thin, leaving many issues unresolved. Although the complex nature of diabetic foot disease presents particular difficulties in the design of robust clinical trials, and the absence of published evidence to support the use of an intervention does not always mean that the intervention is ineffective, there is a clear need for more research in the area. Evidence from sound clinical studies is urgently needed to guide consensus and to underpin clinical practice. It is only in this way that patients suffering with these frequently neglected complications of diabetes can be offered the best hope for a favourable outcome, at the least cost.