Foot infections are a common problem in patients with diabetes and a risk factor for limb amputation. They occur as a result of skin ulceration, which facilitates penetration of pathogens to deeper tissues. The diagnosis of infection is clinical. Aerobic gram-positive cocci are the most common pathogens. Ulcers which are chronic, preceded by administration of antibiotics and hospitalization or complicated by severe infection are polymicrobial. Antibiotic therapy is initially empiric based on the severity of the infection. Definitive therapy is modified according to the results of the microbiological culture and the response to empiric treatment. The optimal duration of antibiotic therapy ranges from 1-2 weeks for mild infections to 2-4 weeks and even longer for severe infections and osteomyelitis. Surgical consultation should be sought for infections complicated with abscesses, necrotizing fasciitis or osteomyelitis. With appropriate care, infection resolves in about 80-90% of non-limb threatening and in about 60% of severe infections.
Keywords: Chronic ulcers; Diabetes mellitus; Diabetic foot infections; Osteomyelitis.