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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).

By Healthwise Staff
Primary Medical Reviewer William H. Blahd, Jr., MD, FACEP - Emergency Medicine
Specialist Medical Reviewer H. Michael O'Connor, MD - Emergency Medicine
Last Revised April 15, 2013

WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise

Last Updated: April 15, 2013
This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information.