Diabetic foot infection is the leading cause of non‐traumatic lower limb amputations worldwide. In addition, diabetes mellitus and sequela of the disease are increasing in prevalence. In 2017, 9.4% of Americans were diagnosed with diabetes mellitus (DM). The growing pervasive-ness and financial implications of diabetic foot infection (DFI) indicate an acute need for improved clinical assessment and treatment. Complex pathophysiology and suboptimal specificity of current non‐invasive imaging modalities have made diagnosis and treatment response challenging. Current anatomical and molecular clinical imaging strategies have mainly targeted the host’s immune responses rather than the unique metabolism of the invading microorganism. Advances in imaging have the potential to reduce the impact of these problems and improve the assessment of DFI, particularly in distinguishing infection of soft tissue alone from osteomyelitis (OM). This review presents a summary of the known pathophysiology of DFI, the molecular basis of current and emerging diagnostic imaging techniques, and the mechanistic links of these imaging techniques to the pathophysiology of diabetic foot infections.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number11552
JournalInternational journal of molecular sciences
Issue number21
StatePublished - Nov 1 2021


  • DWI
  • Diabetic foot infection
  • Molecular imaging
  • Optical tomog-raphy
  • Test predictive value
  • X‐ray

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Catalysis
  • Molecular Biology
  • Spectroscopy
  • Computer Science Applications
  • Physical and Theoretical Chemistry
  • Organic Chemistry
  • Inorganic Chemistry


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