The purpose of this study was to evaluate and validate the Cardiff Wound Impact Schedule (CWIS), a disease-specific quality-of-life measure, in a diabetic foot ulcer (DFU) population. Patients with DFUs have restrictions as part of their treatment and rehabilitation, which can affect health-related quality of life (HRQoL). Because of the high number of comorbidities experienced in diabetes, a disease-specific quality-of-life measure is needed to best assess the affect of a foot ulcer on HRQoL. Patients with DFUs completed the CWIS and a World Health Organization generic quality-of-life questionnaire. Validity was assessed by comparing domains of the questionnaires. Patients were categorised using the University of Texas wound classification system. Mean CWIS scores were compared between categories to assess the questionnaire's ability to differentiate wound severity. Patients with open ulcers scored significantly lower on the CWIS than those with healed ulcers. Correlations between questionnaire domains were as follows: Social Life with Social Functioning (r = 0·641, P < 0·001); Well-Being with General Health (r = 0·533, P < 0·01); Physical Symptoms and Daily Living with Physical Functioning (r = 0·631, P < 0·01) and Health-Related Quality of Life with Vitality (r = 0·425, P < 0·01). However, there was no significant difference in mean CWIS scores between categories of wound severity. We have demonstrated the ability of the CWIS in assessing HRQoL in a DFU population and its ability to differentiate between healed and non healed states. © 2010 The Authors. Journal Compilation © 2010 Blackwell Publishing Ltd and Medicalhelplines.com Inc.