6th international symposium on the diabetic foot


William H. van Houtum, Department of Internal Medicine, Spaarne Hospital Hoofddorp, Hoofddorp, The Netherlands.

E-mail: wvanhoutum@spaarneziekenhuis.nl

The problem of the diabetic foot has been well established worldwide. This dreaded complication of diabetes has a great impact on the lives of many people with diabetes. The morbidity and mortality associated with lower extremity complications are high as well as the burden of disease on a more global, economical scale. Previously, it was shown that a lower limb is lost due to diabetes every 30 seconds. The current morbidity can only be estimated to be much higher, and the medical and social costs associated with this feared complication are rising exponentially.

Several studies have shown that many of the disease entities involving the diabetic foot are preventable when guidelines are implemented, and a multidisciplinary approach is enforced. In recent years, foot complications in diabetes have increasingly been subject to scientific research. Both in a clinical and more basic setting, new diagnostic and treatment strategies have been developed and tested. Publications are arriving from every corner of the world aiming to improve the care for people with diabetes and their feet in particular. Also, the global awareness of the diabetic foot has risen in the last years due to the work of many key individuals that made diabetic foot care their number one priority.

The 6th International Symposium on the Diabetic Foot was held in Noordwijkerhout, the Netherlands from 10–14 May 2011. More than a thousand participants from almost 80 countries gathered in the Leeuwenhorst Congress Centre. An ambience was created in which learning and sharing of experiences concerning the state of the art of the diabetic foot was the main focus.

Up-to-date information regarding the prevention and management of the diabetic foot was provided. The scope of the meeting covered both findings from basic research and new clinical insights important to everybody's daily practice. A variety of well-known specialists in the field of diabetic foot presented state-of-the-art lectures on a broad selection of topics regarding lower extremity problems in diabetes; the latest insights and developments in the prevention, diagnosis and treatment of the diabetic foot were covered. Besides lectures, there were multiple interactive workshops focused on providing useful information for daily clinical practice. Additionally, oral and poster presentations of submitted abstracts informed attendees on the current status of the research.

The symposium is unique as it brings together representatives from all the specialist areas involved in the care for people with diabetes suffering from foot-related problems. Moreover, more than 18 different disciplines were represented during the symposium. This multitude and variety of participants from all over the world created an environment in which new insights and future ideas were developed and could blossom.

The prestigious diabetic foot award was renamed the ‘Karel Bakker Foot Award’ to honour the godfather of the Diabetic Foot, Karel Bakker. His contribution to the International Symposium on the Diabetic Foot and the International Working Group on the Diabetic Foot has been pivotal, and he has lead both organisations to great success.

The Karel Bakker Foot Award 2011 was awarded to Professor Michael Edmonds, King's College, London, UK, who has been a true pioneer in many areas of the diabetic foot.


On the last day of the symposium, an update of the International Working Group on the Diabetic Foot (IWGDF) guidelines was presented. Their aim is to provide practical information, combined with more in-depth background information on how to diagnose, manage and treat diabetes-related foot problems. Three new evidence-based consensus guidelines that were just finalised by the IWDGF (peripheral arterial disease and diabetes, treatment of the infected diabetic foot, and wound management) were presented to the participants of the symposium on an attractive foot-shaped USB stick.

In this supplement, the main state-of-the-art lectures held at the symposium are summarised as review articles, together with the aforementioned global IWGDF Consensus Guidelines 2011 and their accompanying background articles. This supplement provides the reader with a state-of-the-art overview of the latest developments in the field of diabetic foot disease.

Finally, please save the following dates in your agenda as a new 7th edition of this inspiring symposium is planned from 19–23 May 2015.

  • William H van Houtum,
  • Chair ISDF 2011
  • Also on behalf of the editors,
  • Nicolaas C Schaper
  • Andrew JM Boulton

Conflict of interest

None declared.