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01-12-2019 | Review | Uitgave 1/2019 Open Access

Journal of Foot and Ankle Research 1/2019

Where do we stand? The availability and efficacy of diabetes related foot health programs for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians: a systematic review

Journal of Foot and Ankle Research > Uitgave 1/2019
Vivienne Chuter, Matthew West, Fiona Hawke, Angela Searle
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The online version of this article (https://​doi.​org/​10.​1186/​s13047-019-0326-1) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.



Aboriginal and Torres Islander Australians experience considerably higher rates of diabetes and diabetes related foot complications and amputations than non-Indigenous Australians. Therefore there is a need to identify aspects of Aboriginal and Torres Islander focussed foot health programs that have had successful outcomes in reducing diabetes related foot complications. Wider knowledge and implementation of these programs may help reduce the high burden of diabetes related foot disease experienced by Aboriginal and Torres Islander Australians.


PubMeD, Informit Indigenous collection, CINAHL, SCOPUS, the Cochrane Library and grey literature sources were searched to 28th August 2018. We included any published reports or studies of stand-alone diabetes related foot care interventions, programs, services, educational resources or assessment of these interventions, designed for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians.


Thirteen studies detailing interventions in the Northern Territory, New South Wales, Queensland and Western Australia met the inclusion criteria. Five reports described delivery of podiatry services while the other eight investigated educational and training programs. Half of the reports related to aspects of the Indigenous Diabetic Foot program which provides culturally appropriate foot education and training workshops for health care providers. One article reported quantitative data related to clinical patient outcome measures.


No state- or nation-wide foot health programs for prevention of diabetes related foot complications in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians were identified. One program achieved high adherence to the national guidelines regarding timing of podiatry review treatments through use of an evidence based foot risk classification tool and provision of services in a culturally appropriate centre.

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