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Antibiotics after puncture wounds to the foot
  1. Magnus Harrison,
  2. Martin Thomas
  1. Department of Emergency Medicine, Manchester Royal Infirmary, Oxford Road, Manchester M13 9WL, UK
  1. kevin.mackway-jones{at}


A short cut review was carried out to establish whether antibiotics reduce infective complications after puncture wounds to the foot. A totla of 29 papers were found using the reported search, of which none answered the question posed. Further research is needed in this area.

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Report by Magnus Harrison, Clinical Research Fellow
 Checked by Martin Thomas, Research Fellow

Clinical scenario

A 32 year old man presents with a pedal puncture wound, which was sustained four hours before attending the emergency department. You wonder whether antibiotics should be prescribed to reduce infective complications.

Three part question

In [patients presenting with pedal puncture wounds] does the [administration of antibiotics] reduce [infective complications]?

Search strategy

Medline 1966–10/01 using the OVID interface. [(exp foot injuries OR exp foot OR OR OR OR AND {(exp wounds and injuries OR injur$.mp) AND (penetrate$.mp or OR exp punctures OR puncture$.mp) OR exp wounds, penetrating)}] AND (exp antibiotics OR antibiotic$.mp) LIMIT to human AND English.

Search outcome

Altogether 29 papers found of which none were relevant to the original question.


While there are many review articles in this area, there appears to be no published evidence to underpin the views expressed.


Local advice should be followed.