Foot ulcers in older people with diabetes mellitus: prevention and management
Intended for healthcare professionals
Evidence and practice    

Foot ulcers in older people with diabetes mellitus: prevention and management

Jayne Robbie Senior lecturer, Birmingham City University and senior podiatrist, University Hospitals Birmingham NHS Foundation Trust, Birmingham, England

Why you should read this article:
  • To increase your awareness of the heightened risks of amputation and early death for people with diabetes foot ulcers

  • To remind yourself of your role in the prevention and management of diabetes foot ulcers in older people

  • To enhance your knowledge of referral pathways for patients with diabetes foot ulcers

Foot ulcers in a person with diabetes mellitus can be life-changing and threaten the viability of their lower limb. As many as one in three people with diabetes develops a foot ulcer in their lifetime. These foot ulcers are prone to fast-spreading infection and often precede lower-limb amputation. In older people with diabetes, foot ulcers can have significant negative long-term effects in terms of quality of life, morbidity and mortality. Appropriate care is crucial to prevent the development of foot ulcers and to manage them if they develop despite adequate preventive measures. Multidisciplinary team working and robust care pathways are essential. This article outlines the role of nurses in supporting older people with diabetes to maintain optimal foot health, ensuring that they undergo an annual foot assessment, assessing them for foot ulcers and referring them promptly to specialist care when required to avoid amputation.

Nursing Older People. doi: 10.7748/nop.2023.e1407

Peer review

This article has been subject to external double-blind peer review and checked for plagiarism using automated software



Conflict of interest

The author is a clinical champion for the charity Diabetes UK

Robbie J (2023) Foot ulcers in older people with diabetes mellitus: prevention and management. Nursing Older People. doi: 10.7748/nop.2023.e1407

Published online: 23 August 2023

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