The objective is to evaluate the effectiveness and safety of surgical off-loading to heal diabetic foot ulcers and prevent ulcer recurrence. Usually, structural foot deformities such as hallux rigidus, hammertoe deformities and equinus of the ankle contribute to abnormal pressure and shear forces and non-healing foot ulcers. Elective surgery to remove the deformity and restore joint mobility has been shown to be safe and effective to improve wound healing of recalcitrant ulcer and to reduce the risk of re-ulceration. Unfortunately, there is very little high-level evidence to help guide patient selection or to compare clinical outcomes. Copyright © 2012 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.