Trench Foot is not a disease that you see every day but it can be a big problem for the patient who has acquired it. Trench foot occurs when feet are exposed to damp and cold conditions for long periods of time. “Trench” refers to trench warfare from World War I. Many of the soldiers fought in trenches that filled up with water and soaked their feet for long periods of time. Due to exposure and lack of a podiatrist, many of these soldiers acquired trench foot and suffered.

3 Stages of Trench Foot

  1. First the blood vessels begin to constrict due to the cold conditions and the wetness inside of the shoe. The shoe has little oxygen and the feet do not get enough of it. The foot starts to feel cold to the touch. It swells and becomes discolored and numb. It feels like cold feet at first, maybe even the onset of frostbite but is completely different. If feet are warmed and remedied at this stage the foot will become red, puffy and tender.
  2. If the foot is not healed and warmed within stage one, it progresses to stage two. The tissues in the foot become damaged from lack of good circulation. The vessels open and tissues swell from the excess fluid in the shoes. If the foot is warmed at this stage, ulcers and blisters will appear. The ulcers will fall off and dead tissue will remain. Sometimes infection and gangrene occur at this stage.
  3. At the last stage of trench foot, the foot has been exposed to harsh temperatures and extreme moisture for long periods of time. Swelling will lessen and go away. The foot will begin to look normal. The foot will start to sweat more frequently and have a tingling sensation. It will be itchy, feel prickly and be extremely sensitive to cold.

Trench foot does not solely occur from standing in a trench. Fishermen with improper shoes can get the disease from standing in water for too long. People with extremely sweaty feet can also get this disorder due to moisture being trapped in their socks and shoes from the excessive sweat.

Have you stood in cold and damp situations for long periods of time? Does your foot tingle, have a sensitivity to cold, and ache? Call James C. Ricketti, DPM located in Hamilton Square, New Jersey at 609-587-1674. There Dr. James C. Ricketti and Dr. Stephen J. Skokan can examine your feet and make a diagnosis. Don’t want to fill out all that paperwork? Go to the patient portal and get a head start!

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