OBJECTIVE: To determine the incidence of plantar puncture wound infections. METHODS: Ambulatory emergency patients were surveyed with regard to a previous history of plantar puncture wounds and any subsequent infections. RESULTS: 200 questionnaires were analysed. Forty four percent of respondents had previously sustained at least one plantar puncture wound. Of 156 wounds, 79 (50%) came to the attention of a physician. There were 10 infections, nine of which were seen by a physician. Counting only those wounds seen by a physician, the apparent infection rate in the study population is 11.4%. When all wounds are included, the infection rate is 6.4%. CONCLUSIONS: The infection rate of plantar puncture wounds is lower than most studies report because many wounds with a benign outcome never come to medical attention. Recommendations for treatment of fresh puncture wounds in the emergency department should be evaluated in light of this infection rate.