Trench Foot

Trench foot (immersion foot) is a cold injury that occurs gradually over several days of exposure to cold, but not freezing, temperatures. The name comes from World War I troops who developed symptoms after standing in cold, wet trenches.

Signs and symptoms of trench foot include:

  • Red skin that turns pale and swollen.
  • Numbness or burning pain.
  • Leg cramps.
  • No actual freezing of the skin.
  • A slow or absent pulse in the foot.
  • Development of blisters or ulcers after 2 to 7 days.

First aid for trench foot includes rewarming the affected areas, relieving pain, and preventing problems such as infection or dead skin (gangrene).

Is it an emergency?

If you or someone in your care has chest pains, difficulty breathing, or severe bleeding, it could be a life-threatening emergency. Call 9-1-1 or the local emergency number immediately.
If you are concerned about a possible poisoning or exposure to a toxic substance, call Poison Control now at 1-800-567-8911.

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