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Diabetes foot disease: the Cinderella of Australian diabetes management?

Peter A Lazzarini12*, Joel M Gurr3, Joseph R Rogers4, Andrew Schox5 and Shan M Bergin6

Author Affiliations

1 Allied Health Research Collaborative, Metro North Health Service District, Queensland Health, Brisbane, Australia

2 School of Clinical Sciences, Queensland University of Technology, Brisbane, Australia

3 Podiatry Department, Royal Perth Hospital, South Metropolitan Health Service, WA Health, Perth, Australia

4 John Morris Diabetes Centre, Launceston General Hospital, Launceston, Australia

5 The Perth Foot and Ankle Clinic, Perth, Australia

6 Diabetic Foot Unit and High Risk Foot Service, Dandenong Hospital, Southern Health, Victoria, Australia

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Journal of Foot and Ankle Research 2012, 5:24  doi:10.1186/1757-1146-5-24

Published: 1 October 2012


Diabetes is one of the greatest public health challenges to face Australia. It is already Australia’s leading cause of kidney failure, blindness (in those under 60 years) and lower limb amputation, and causes significant cardiovascular disease. Australia’s diabetes amputation rate is one of the worst in the developed world, and appears to have significantly increased in the last decade, whereas some other diabetes complication rates appear to have decreased. This paper aims to compare the national burden of disease for the four major diabetes-related complications and the availability of government funding to combat these complications, in order to determine where diabetes foot disease ranks in Australia. Our review of relevant national literature indicates foot disease ranks second overall in burden of disease and last in evidenced-based government funding to combat these diabetes complications. This suggests public funding to address foot disease in Australia is disproportionately low when compared to funding dedicated to other diabetes complications. There is ample evidence that appropriate government funding of evidence-based care improves all diabetes complication outcomes and reduces overall costs. Numerous diverse Australian peak bodies have now recommended similar diabetes foot evidence-based strategies that have reduced diabetes amputation rates and associated costs in other developed nations. It would seem intuitive that “it’s time” to fund these evidence-based strategies for diabetes foot disease in Australia as well.

Diabetes; Foot; Complication; Disease; Australia