Bumble Foot: A Rare Presentation of a Fusobacterium varium Infection of the Heel Pad in a Healthy Female

J Foot Ankle Surg. 2016 Sep-Oct;55(5):1087-90. doi: 10.1053/j.jfas.2015.08.015. Epub 2015 Oct 9.


Fusobacterium infection is common in herd animals and caged birds; the infection is typically referred to as "bumble foot" or "foot rot." These are opportunistic anaerobic bacteria that cause abscesses in the feet of animals that have developed inflammation in the foot pad secondary to the terrain. In humans, F. varium is known to cause abscesses associated with the oropharynx and gastrointestinal tract, also known as Lemierre's disease. The present study reports the case of a rare presentation of a F. varium soft tissue infection of the heel pad in a healthy young female with no associated oropharynx or gastrointestinal abscesses. Therefore, her presentation and disease course were similar to that described in herd animals. The patient was treated with 3 weeks of intravenous antibiotics, incision and drainage, and a gracilis free flap to the weightbearing surface of the right heel.

Keywords: Lemierre's disease; anaerobic infection; calcaneus; fasciitis; free flap; pododermatitis.

Publication types

  • Case Reports
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Ambulatory Care
  • Anti-Bacterial Agents / therapeutic use
  • Debridement / methods
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Fusobacterium / isolation & purification*
  • Fusobacterium Infections / diagnosis*
  • Fusobacterium Infections / therapy
  • Heel / microbiology*
  • Heel / physiopathology
  • Heel / surgery
  • Humans
  • Infusions, Intravenous
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging / methods
  • Rare Diseases
  • Reoperation / methods
  • Severity of Illness Index
  • Skin Transplantation / methods*
  • Soft Tissue Infections / diagnostic imaging
  • Soft Tissue Infections / therapy*
  • Treatment Outcome
  • Wound Healing / physiology


  • Anti-Bacterial Agents