Diabetic amyotrophy is a syndrome whose recognition may be difficult or delayed. We reviewed thirteen patients with this disorder, all of whom had significant proximal lower limb wasting and weakness as the predominant feature and eleven of whom had pain in the affected limbs. Significant weight loss was common. In nine patients the deficits were largely or totally reversible. Important variations from the classical features were observed. Only five patients displayed asymmetric proximal lower limb wasting, weakness and pain, motor deficits in the remainder being either unilateral or bilateral and symmetrical. The shoulder girdle and arms were also involved in two patients. Proximal limb pain was not invariable, a distal sensory peripheral neuropathy was common, and diabetic control at diagnosis was likely to be good. No prognostic factors were identified. Thus, not all patients with diabetic amyotrophy exhibit the classically-described features. Other than careful clinical examination, a thorough bilateral electromyographic and nerve conduction study remains the most helpful diagnostic test. Appreciation of the clinical spectrum and context of diabetic amyotrophy should facilitate its differentiation from other disorders, including other forms of diabetic neuropathy.