This retrospective study reviewed the culture results of 112 admissions to a multidisciplinary diabetic foot care team with a primary diagnosis of infected diabetic pedal ulceration. An average of 1.5 +/- 0.9 species per patient (P < 0.0001) were isolated. Eighty-nine percent of wounds cultured grew two or fewer organisms. Anaerobic species were isolated in only 5% of all cultures. Of these isolates, the distinction between anaerobic colonization and true anaerobic infection is made. Results suggest that aggressive early hospitalization, coupled with aggressive intraoperative debridement, may yield less microbiologically complex infections that may be controlled with less expensive narrow spectrum antibiotic therapy. Diagnosis of the infected pedal ulceration of a patient with diabetes is a clinical one. If this diagnosis is combined with appropriate surgical intervention, microbiologic correlation, and antimicrobial therapy, the result may be a less complex hospital course and improved outcome.