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The authors reviewed the admission leukocyte indices of 338 consecutive admissions (203 males, 135 females, mean age of 60.2 +/- 12.9 years) with a primary diagnosis of diabetic foot infection in a multicenter retrospective study. The mean white blood cell count on admission for all subjects studied was calculated at 11.9 +/- 5.4 x 103 cells/mm3. Of all white blood cell counts secured for patients admitted with a diabetic foot infection, 56% (189 out of 338) were within normal limits. The average automated polymorphonuclear leukocyte percentage was calculated at 71.4 +/- 11.1% (normal range 40% to 80%). Normal polymorphonuclear leukocyte values were present in 83.7% of subjects. The authors stress that the diagnosis of a diabetic pedal infection is made primarily on the basis of clinical signs and symptoms, and that a normal white cell count and white cell differential should not deter the physician from taking appropriate action to mitigate the propagation of a potentially limb-threatening pedal infection.