Anatomic location of acute diabetic foot infection. Its influence on the outcome of treatment

Am Surg. 1987 Feb;53(2):109-12.


One hundred ten diabetic foot infections were studied in 76 patients with reference to the effect of the anatomic location of the infection on the treatment outcome. Distal infections were located in the toes or metatarsal-phalangeal joints; proximal infections were located along metatarsals, at the heel, or above the ankle. Overall limb salvage was significantly lower in the proximal group (47.8%) than in the distal group (96.6%). A revascularization for healing was required in 12 per cent of hospitalizations. Mortality was significantly higher in the proximal group, but the healing times for open wounds and overall morbidity were not different between the groups. Diabetic foot infections must receive careful and timely treatment by concerned surgeons. The outcome of proximal infections is poor, with major risk of limb loss and mortality, but not hopeless. The treatment of distal infections derives greater limb salvage with nevertheless similar morbidity and healing time.

MeSH terms

  • Acute Disease
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Amputation
  • Anti-Bacterial Agents / therapeutic use
  • Bacterial Infections / drug therapy
  • Bacterial Infections / etiology*
  • Bacterial Infections / surgery
  • Debridement
  • Diabetes Complications*
  • Drainage
  • Female
  • Foot Diseases / drug therapy
  • Foot Diseases / etiology*
  • Foot Diseases / surgery
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Prognosis
  • Toe Joint
  • Toes


  • Anti-Bacterial Agents