Summit Pedorthics: Trench Foot

trench cover

Summit Pedorthics: Trench Foot

Trench foot? Sounds a bit odd, doesn’t it? “Trench foot” is described by the CDC, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, as immersion foot. Immersion foot happens when a persons’ foot is wet for extended periods of time. This is a completely preventable and treatable condition. This problem first arose with soldiers fighting in the trenches of war for long periods of time. Left untreated, trench foot causes gangrene and amputations, especially back in those first days.

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If you’re wondering if you have it, the first sign would be that your feet are kept in wet conditions, often looking “pruny” with sock removal, or water logged. Other common symptoms of this are numbness, pain, swelling, tingling, itching, grey skin, fissures and cold patchy skin. Blisters are very common in this condition, and can cause pain and tissue death if not treated correctly. In severe cases, trench foot can affect the heels, toes, and even the entire foot.


There are three stages to this problem. The first stage constricts blood vessels, and the foot becomes cold to the touch. Swelling may occur, and damaged tissue appears red and splotchy. This stage can last from hours to days. Stage two happens when the tissue is affected by the lack of blood flow into the tissue, and has much more swelling. Re-warming feet can be painful in this stage, and blisters and ulcers may fall off revealing dead tissue underneath. This stage can last for two to six weeks. The third stage may last for weeks or months, and during this stage the person will experience cold sensitivity, itching, creeping pain and a tingling, itchy feeling.

How can you control and treat your trench foot outbreaks? When it’s wet and cold, make sure your feet have a chance to air dry as often as possible, with a bit of elevation too. Keep spare pairs of dry socks around to change frequently if your feet sweat, or remain wet for long.

how to prevent trench

Follow these steps to help heal your trenched feet!

*Avoid synthetic foot coverings

*Wear cloth or leather to help with absorption of wetness

*Use clean, dry socks daily; and carry extra pairs

*clean and dry the feet thoroughly

*Use talc to keep moisture away

*While sleeping or resting, do not wear socks

*Affected areas should be treated by applying warm packs and seeking medical attention as soon as possible. Open wounds need to be treated immediately.

A more recent treatment method for curing sweaty feet is botox injections. Something to consider if you have an overabundance of sweat, or regular trench foot problems.

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