The International Working Group on the Diabetic Foot: Stories and Numbers Behind Three Decades of Evidence-Based Guidelines for the Management of Diabetes-Related Foot Disease

Jaap J. van Netten, Jan Apelqvist, Sicco A. Bus, Robert Fitridge, Fran Game, Matilde Monteiro-Soares, Eric Senneville, Nicolaas C. Schaper

Research output: Contribution to journalComment/Letter to the editorAcademic

1 Citation (Scopus)


Foot disease is a devastating complication of diabetes. For almost 3 decades, the mission of the International Working Group on the Diabetic Foot (IWGDF) is to produce evidence-based guidelines to inform health care providers worldwide on strategies for the prevention and management of diabetes-related foot disease. In this publication, we aim to better inform the reader about ‘the story behind’ the IWGDF Guidelines and thus facilitate improved uptake of the recommendations described in the guidelines. The first IWGDF Guidelines were published in 1999, and these have been successfully updated every 4 years since. With each update, IWGDF has improved the methodological rigour and extended the topics covered. This has been possible thanks to the involvement of > 100 experts from > 60 countries, all voluntarily dedicating their time. We estimate that the 2023 update of the IWGDF Guidelines required a total 10 years of full-time work, which would have cost 2 million euros if the voluntary work had been financially compensated. The IWGDF Guidelines are not only published in English but also translated to support local implementation. Currently available translations serve 2.9 billion people globally in their native language. As an independent and multidisciplinary organisation, IWGDF hopes that the 2023 update will continue to stimulate clinicians from all different disciplines to deliver the best care possible for these patients, will motivate researchers to undertake the high-quality trials needed to deliver the new evidence to advance the field further, and collectively will support people with diabetes-related foot disease to minimize their disease burdens.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)19-31
Number of pages13
JournalDiabetes Therapy
Issue number1
Early online date2023
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2024


  • Diabetic foot
  • Evidence-based medicine
  • Foot disease
  • Guidelines
  • Implementation

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