• assessment;
  • epidemiology;
  • Germany;
  • nurses;
  • nursing;
  • type 2 diabetes

Aim.  The object of this study was to find out which self-care activities patients with diabetes perform to prevent diabetic foot syndrome (DFS) and to look for differences between patient groups (diabetes education and foot at risk).

Background.  Besides the importance of screening patients at risk to develop a DFS and the clinical interventions, it is also necessary to involve the patient with diabetes in the self-care of their feet. There is no information in Germany concerning self-care activities carried out by patients for the prevention of DFS.

Design.  A cross-sectional study.

Method.  A secondary analysis of the data used in the study for the development of the ‘Frankfurter Catalogue of Foot Self-Care – Prevention of Diabetic Foot Syndrome’. Two hundred and sixty-nine patients with type 1 and type 2 diabetes were included. The study population was divided into different training experience groups and foot at risk groups based on self-reported data.

Results.  Patients who had participated in more than three education programmes performed significantly better self-care than patients who had no or only one training programme. Patients with a foot at risk for the development of diabetic foot ulcer perform more adequate self-care regarding professional assistance in foot care, but are not more active in the self-control of the feet, shoes and socks.

Conclusions.  There are self-care deficits regarding self-control of feet, shoes and socks. Based on the data it seems to be that more than three education programmes are needed to lead to performance of adequate self-care. Especially patients with a foot at risk need more professional support for their daily self-care activities to prevent DFS or further foot complications.

Relevance to clinical practice.  The first findings support that it might be helpful to identify patients with self-care deficits and therefore to improve patients daily foot self-care.