Fifty-one diabetic patients with osteomyelitis of the foot were studied to determine potential prognostic factors and the role of antimicrobial therapy. Most of the patients were elderly, with diminished pulses, a sensory neuropathy, and a polymicrobial infection. Twenty-seven patients had a good outcome, defined as clinical resolution at the time of the last follow-up examination, without the need for amputation. The mean duration of follow-up for these patients was 19 months. Fifteen patients had a below-knee amputation, and nine had a toe amputation. The absence of necrosis and/or gangrene, the presence of swelling, and the use of antimicrobial therapy active against the isolated pathogens for at least four weeks intravenously, or combined intravenously and orally for 10 weeks, predicted a good outcome. Diabetic foot osteomyelitis, in the absence of extensive necrosis or gangrene, usually responds to antimicrobial therapy without the need for an ablative surgical procedure.