Trench foot, also known as “immersion foot syndrome,” is a severe problem caused by your feet getting immersed in water for too long. The condition first came to light in World War I, when soldiers suffered from trench foot due to combating in wet, cold conditions in trenches with no shoes or socks to keep their feet dry.

Trench foot was responsible for the deaths of 2 000 Americans and 75,000 British soldiers from the Trusted Source during the war of Independence.

After the notorious incident of trench feet in WWI, it’s become more aware of the benefits of maintaining your feet dry. But, it’s still possible to contract trench foot, even when you’re exposed to your feet too wet and cold circumstances for too long.

Please continue reading to learn about trench feet and how to stop and treat them.

Trench foot images

Trench foot signs

If you have a trench foot condition, you can see specific changes in your feet. For instance:

  • blisters
  • blotchy skin
  • redness
  • skin tissue goes through a decline and then disappears

In addition, trench foot may create the following sensations in the feet:

  • Coldness
  • The weight
  • Apathy
  • discomfort caused by exposure to warmth
  • the constant itching
  • The prickliness
  • tingling

The symptoms of trench feet may only affect a tiny portion of your feet. In the worst cases, the symptoms can extend across the entire foot, even your toes.

Trench foot triggers

It is caused when feet get damp and do not dry effectively. It is also prevalent when temperatures range from 30 to 40 degrees Fahrenheit. However, trench foot may find in desert climates as well. It’s all in how wet your feet are, but it is not the fact that they are cold (unlike frostbite). Wearing wet shoes and socks for an extended period is likely to cause more harm than other activities, like swimming in the water wearing shoes.

If exposed to cold or wetness for long periods, your feet could lose nerve circulation and nerve function. They also lack vital nutrients and oxygen your blood typically delivers. Sometimes, the loss of nerve function may result in other signs like pain less obvious.

As time passes, trench foot may result in complications when left untreated. They include:

  • Amputations
  • severe blisters
  • Inability to walk on feet affected by the condition.
  • Gangrene or loss of tissue
  • permanent nerve damage
  • ulcers

It is also possible that you are more susceptible to complications if you have any foot injuries. As you recover from trench foot, look for symptoms of infection, for example, swelling or bleeding from any wounds.

Diagnostic trench foot

Your doctor can determine the cause of the trench foot by conducting a physical examination. They will assess the extent of tissue damage and injuries and evaluate the severity of the loss in circulation. They can also check for nerve function by checking whether you feel pressure points on your feet.

Learn more about three massages to help the pressure points in your feet

Foot Treatment for Trench

Medical professionals have gained how to treat trench foot better, and the treatment has improved. In WWI, trench foot was initially treated with rest. Soldiers also received foot washes that make of lead and opioids. As their health improved massages, plant-based oils and massages (such as olive oil) were used. When the signs of foot trenches become worse, an amputation may require to stop circulation issues spread to different parts of the body.

The condition treats using relatively simple techniques. In the beginning, you’ll be able to take a break and raise your affected foot to increase circulation. This will help avoid the formation of new wounds and blisters. Ibuprofen (Advil) helps reduce swelling and pain. If you cannot use ibuprofen, your physician may suggest aspirin or Acetaminophen (Tylenol) to help reduce the pain. Still, they don’t aid in reducing swelling.

The initial signs of trench foot may treat at home with treatments. Based on the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Trusted Source, It is possible to use specific techniques similar to frostbite. Here’s how to do it:

  • Take off your socks
  • Avoid wearing dirty socks when going at night.
  • Make sure to clean the affected area as soon as possible
  • Dry your feet thoroughly
  • Apply hot packs of heat on the site to be treated for at least five minutes.

Suppose the symptoms of trench foot do not improve following home remedies. In that case, you should consult a physician to prevent issues.

The patient can take painkillers to reduce the pain. They should also take care to take care to treat any pressure sores.

Other actions comprise:

  • Drying and cleaning the feet completely
  • wearing dry, clean socks each all-day
  • Do not wear socks when you sleep, or not wearing socks when you are

In the case of serious injuries, individuals might find walking challenging due to swelling, blisters, and pain. It recommends avoiding walking and elevating their feet, as this can reduce swelling. Ibuprofen helps to lessen swelling.


Hydration, nutrition, food, shelter, and appropriate protective clothing are essential to stop trench foot from occurring.

For those getting ready to go out, suggestions include the following:

  • Wearing boots that fit well
  • wearing wool socks that are thick and thick
  • keeping your body warm
  • Remove socks and shoes two times every day to dry them and massage your feet
  • Never sleep in wet shoes or socks
  • Drying wet socks against the skin before applying them to the skin when there’s no other alternative
  • making sure feet are kept out of the mud or water whenever possible
  • Responding rapidly to any tingle
  • Wearing loose shoes to allow for movement

To avoid trench foot, individuals should remove their socks and shoes and dry their feet with air.

The Bottom Line

If caught early enough, Trench foot can treat without causing further problems. One of the most effective methods to reduce the symptoms and health risks associated with trench foot is to avoid the condition altogether. Always keep extra footwear and socks in your bag when you’re outside for an extended time. It’s also helpful to dry your feet following the wear of socks and shoes, even if your feet are wet.


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