BACKGROUND AND AIM Since 1998, many leg ulcer practice guidelines were developed. The aim of this paper is to describe the methodological and clinical content quality of those guidelines. Methods PubMed, CINAHL, Cochrane Library and websites known for publishing or collecting clinical practice guidelines were explored from 1998 up to June 2006. Reference lists of all identified guidelines were reviewed for other guidelines to be included. Guidelines were eligible if they were written in English, Dutch, French or German, if the scope was the treatment of venous leg ulcers, if the guideline was systematically developed and if the steps in guideline development were reported clearly. Seven guidelines were critically appraised. RESULTS The venous leg ulcer guidelines were clearly based on evidence. The stakeholder involvement varied during the development process. Especially patients' perspectives were often not considered. There was no uniform method used to weigh the evidence. Limited attention was given to pain and lifestyle advice recommendations. A paucity of information on compliance, quality of life, organizational aspects of care and economic evaluation data was given. Most of the guidelines failed to consider the issues of dissemination and implementation. Revisions of the guidelines for leg ulcer treatment were often not available. CONCLUSION AND IMPLICATIONS FOR FUTURE GUIDELINE DEVELOPERS It is recommended that leg ulcer guidelines should incorporate a multidisciplinary approach and patient involvement is necessary. Extensive background information and the formulation of the rationale are needed. The development of an implementation guide that addresses the barriers particular to the adoption of guidelines for leg ulcer treatment could support the process of implementation. Recommendations on pain, lifestyle advice, compliance and other quality-of-life issues should be incorporated in guidelines for leg ulcer treatment.