Several infectious processes ranging in severity from mild to overwhelming that affect the soft tissues are reviewed. Superficial infections such as impetigo, erysipelas, cellulitis, and subcutaneous bursitis are common and, for the most part, can be easily treated. Because suppurative tenosynovitis has the potential to destroy tendons, consultation with a hand surgeon should be obtained immediately. Mycobacterial and fungal tenosynovitis is usually chronic and patients present with a mass which, when excised and examined with appropriate stain and culture, reveals the unexpected diagnosis. Tropical myositis (muscle abscesses) is seen in temperate climates, primarily as a complication of AIDS. Necrotizing fasciitis and gas gangrene represent the hyperacute end of the spectrum of soft tissue restrictions. Although in most cases a history of trauma is present, spontaneous gas gangrene may arise from occult and colonic cancer. Patients do poorly unless immediate and extensive surgery is performed and appropriate antibiotics are given.