Literature search of electronic databases (MEDLINE®, Embase® and Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews) was undertaken. English language studies investigating economic and resource burden, quality of life and management of diabetic foot disease in the EU5 countries were included. Additionally, websites were screened for guidelines and current management practices in diabetic foot complication in EU5. Diabetic foot complications accounted for a total annual cost of €509m in the UK and €430 per diabetic patient in Germany, during 2001. The cost of diabetic foot complications increased with disease severity, with hospitalizations (41%) and amputation (9%) incurring 50% of the cost. Medical devices (orthopaedic shoes, shoe lifts and walking aids) were the most frequently utilized resources. Patients with diabetic foot complications experienced worsened quality of life, especially in those undergoing amputations and with non-healed ulcers or recurrent ulcers. Although guidelines advocate the use of multidisciplinary foot care teams, the utilization of multidisciplinary foot care teams was suboptimal. We conclude that diabetic foot disorders demonstrated substantial economic burden and have detrimental effect on quality of life, with more impairment in physical domain. Implementation of the guidelines and set-up of multidisciplinary clinics for holistic management of the diabetic foot disorders varies across Europe and remains suboptimal. Hence, guidelines need to be reinforced to prevent diabetic foot complications and to achieve limb salvage if complications are unpreventable. Copyright © 2014 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.