Page last updated:
13th November 2023

Living with a chronic diabetic foot ulcer – Daphne’s story

Daphne's story
Read Daphne's diabetic ulcer on the foot story – “A cut on my foot from a seashell led to me losing part of my foot”

Daphne is a grandmother of five and great grandmother of one. Her long-term problems with her diabetic foot ulcer began back in the summer of 1999

“I was walking barefoot along Studland Beach with my family and didn’t realise that I had stood on a razor shell. The shell had cut the sole of my left foot and caused a small wound. I didn’t really pay much attention to it until a few weeks later when I noticed it hadn’t healed and was actually getting worse”

Getting diagnosed with diabetes

Daphne made an appointment with her GP who told her go to A&E. It was at A&E that Daphne was diagnosed with type 2 diabetes and told she needed urgent hospital treatment to stabilise her dangerously high blood-sugar levels:

“I had no idea that I was diabetic. I was always thirsty and drinking gallons of water, but that was the only symptom. The diabetes had caused neuropathy in my feet, which was why the cut wasn’t healing and had actually turned into an ulcer.”

Daphne spent two weeks in hospital having her blood sugars stabilised and her diabetic foot ulcer treated, but this was just the beginning of a 21-year ordeal:

“I spent years and years trying everything to heal this ulcer. It would nearly heal but would then flare up again. The diabetes had shortened the tendons on my feet, so they inserted surgical steel screws into the big toes of both feet to try and alleviate the pressure on the ulcer. This didn’t work and actually made things worse because I was allergic to the surgical steel. The ulcer on my foot became infected and the infection travelled into the bones. It was then that they told me I needed to have three toes and part of my foot amputated”

Daphne’s partial amputation of her left foot took place in 2012 – 13 years after the ulcer had first occurred. Unfortunately, this wasn’t the end of Daphne’s problems with her feet but the beginning of further complications:

“There was still a screw in my right big toe. I had an allergic reaction and had to have the screw removed in 2013/2014. This left me with a huge ulcer on the sole of my right foot. I was on intravenous antibiotics at home for six months. I was very worried about what would happen to my right foot, but my consultant at the diabetic foot clinic was adamant that they would do their utmost to prevent me having amputation.”

Avoiding amputation due to a diabetic foot ulcer

Clinicians were able to save Daphne’s right foot but the past eight years have still been hugely challenging for her:

“I have spent the last eight years sitting with my legs elevated and on minimum weight bearing. The ulcer is gradually healing after several setbacks and many different types of dressings, but it’s still hard thinking about all the things I can’t do any more. I used to love walking. I had dogs and I’d walk them for miles and miles. I’ll never be able to do that again. It’s quite soul-destroying really”

Daphne wants people to take their foot health more seriously:

“It’s really important that you look after your feet. The one thing I’d say is to never ever walk around without something on your feet. You have to protect your feet because if you lose or injure one of them, it affects your whole life.”

Other support

If you’ve been affected by this story – get the help you deserve.

Samaritans Samaritans are there 24 hours a day, 365 days a year providing emotional support to anyone in emotional distress. Call them free any time, from any phone.

Contact details
116 123
Find out more on the Samaritans' website

Mind Mind is the UK’s leading mental health charity. They're there to make sure no one has to face a mental health problem alone you can call or text for free anytime.

Contact details
0300 123 3393 or text 86463
Find out more on the Mind's website

Foot in Diabetes UK Part of Foot in Diabetes UK is an organisation dedicated to continuous improvement in the care and management of people with diabetic foot problems.

Contact details
020 3735 8244
Find out more on the Foot in Diabetes UK website

The Circulation Foundation The Circulation Foundation is the UK’s only dedicated vascular charity. They fund and promote research into the causes, treatment and prevention of vascular disease.

Contact details
020 7205 7151
Find out more on The Circulation Foundation website

Royal College of Podiatry The Royal College of Podiatry exists to ensure the public has access to high quality foot care delivered by qualified and regulated professionals.

Contact details
020 7234 8620
Find out more on the Royal College of Podiatry website

Tell us what you think

If there’s anything you want to ask us or tell us, whether it’s a suggestion about our website, a complaint, or a compliment, drop us a line at