Here are data from a terrific, practical study from our long-time friends from Madrid and Gran Canaria. Bottom line: lesser toes are more likely to heal than everywhere else at 8 weeks. 1st metatarsal osteomyelitis is less likely to heal than everywhere else.
The forefoot has been reported as the most frequent location of osteomyelitis in the feet of patients with diabetes. The forefoot includes toes and metatarsal heads as common locations of bone infections, but the anatomy of these bones is quite different. As a result, such differences in anatomy may have an impact on the outcomes. The aim of the present study was to determine whether different locations of osteomyelitis in the forefoot have any influence on time to healing after undergoing surgery in a prospective series including 195 patients without peripheral arterial disease and osteomyelitis confirmed by histopathology. Location of the lesion was classified into 4 groups: hallux, first metatarsal head, lesser metatarsal heads, and lesser toes. The time required to achieve healing and the cumulative rate of wounds healed and likelihood of healing were analyzed at 4, 8, and 12 weeks after surgery. Time of healing (mean ± SD) in the whole series was 10.7 ± 8.4 weeks. Osteomyelitis located in the lesser toes has a higher probability of healing by the fourth week (odds ratio [OR] = 5.7, 95% confidence interval [CI] = 2.8-11.6, P < .001), eighth week (OR = 3.2, 95% CI = 1.6-6.4, P < .001), or twelfth week (OR = 3.1, 95% CI = 1.3-7.0, P = .008) than other osteomyelitis locations. Osteomyelitis located in the first metatarsal joint was less likely to heal by the eighth week (OR = 0.4, 95% CI = 0.2-0.9, P = .037) and 12th week (OR = 0.4, 95% CI = 0.2-1.0, P = .040). In conclusion, time to healing is significantly different according to the location of the bone infection in the forefoot.