Barriers and enablers to proper diabetic foot care amongst community dwellers in an Asian population: a qualitative study

Andrew Arjun Sayampanathan, Amit Nirmal Cuttilan, Christopher J. Pearce


Background: Diabetic foot complications are common within Asian populations. They arise due to poor diabetic control and foot care. In this study, we aimed to identify the causes for proper and improper diabetic foot care.
Methods: A qualitative study consisting of key informant interviews with 17 healthcare professionals, including doctors and various allied health workers, was conducted. Participants included had at least five years of caring for diabetic foot patients either in public institutions or private clinics. Data collected was analyzed via thematic analysis.
Results: Diabetic patients were generally observed to have a mixture of proper and improper information and beliefs which eventually resulted in the extent of proper foot care. Factors which influenced the extent of proper and improper state of information and beliefs were classified into predisposing and precipitating factors. Predisposing factors were further categorised into modifiable factors (e.g., education level, socioeconomic status, social support) and non-modifiable factors (e.g., age, presence and severity of co-morbidities restricting ability to selfcare, past experiences). Precipitating factors were categorized into patient factors (e.g., degree of reception of information, presence of psychological barriers), provider factors (presence and degree of multi-disciplinary approach to care, presence of administrative inconveniences) and disease factors (presence of diabetic sensory neuropathy, complexity of disease process).
Conclusions: The extent of proper foot care amongst diabetic patients is influenced by numerous predisposing and precipitating factors. Further studies can look at further development of the described structure as well as quantitatively defining the various components and factors which make up the described system.