Those working with patients with diabetic foot wounds are well aware that individuals who take a considerable time to heal pose ongoing challenges for health care professionals and informal carers; cycles of breakdown, recurrent infections, pain management, and adherence to treatment all require regular reassessment, renegotiation of care goals, and review of care plans. Those patients with ulcers for many years are clearly hard-to-heal and often reach a state where the wound is 'static'-not always with any apparent reason. Whilst such scenarios lead professionals to feel exasperated by the lack of progress-how often do we fully consider what this must be like from the patient's point of view? This article will focus on aspects of educational research and health psychology that can lead to a clearer understanding of ways in which professionals can negotiate with patients and empower them to take more responsibility for their own health, within a framework that clearly distinguishes between 'compliance', 'adherence', and 'concordance'. Motivation is fundamental to adherence; the key to developing individual motivation is personal self-awareness and knowledge. However, education on its own will not lead to behaviour change. Readiness to change, confidence in having the necessary skills and family support are key factors when structuring behavioural change programmes.