OBJECTIVE: To identify and quantify the anatomic sites of foot lesions resulting in amputation among patients suffering from peripheral arterial disease with and without diabetes mellitus. DESIGN: A retrospective study. SETTING: Department of Orthopaedic Rehabilitation. PATIENTS: A total of 212 recent lower limb amputees with diabetes mellitus (158) or peripheral arterial disease only (54) admitted for prosthetic rehabilitation. RESULTS: In 62.2% of all amputees the site of lesion that led to amputation was located in the digits. A lesion under the metatarsal heads was reported in 8.0%, along the mid-foot and heel in 8.5%, on the dorsum of the foot in 3.3%, around the ankle joint and lower leg in 5.7%. Finally, 12.3% reported multiple lesions or were unable to recall the exact anatomic location. CONCLUSIONS: Most foot lesions resulting in amputation are located around the digits. These high-risk sites, therefore, need the patient's and the health care team's special attention. The patient should be trained in self foot examination and meticulous daily care, whereas the role of the health care team is in foot evaluation and provision of protective foot wear.