What Is Trench Foot And How To Treat It?

When you expose your feet to unsanitary, cold, or damp conditions, the development of trench foot is inevitable. And when this happens, you notice changes like numbness, color change, swelling, and bad odor. This is nothing but a result of your skin, nerves, and blood vessels getting damaged. So here’s the answer to the question, what is trench foot?

The condition of trench foot can sometimes take up to six months to heal completely. And during this process, proper treatment of trench foot is essential. It helps in preventing gangrene and potential foot amputation.

So let’s learn more about trench foot, what causes trench foot, and how to get rid of trench foot.

Trench Foot: What is It?


You must have heard about immersion foot being the common illness during the First World War. So trench foot is just another medical term for immersion foot. The condition was very common during that period. And it’s because soldiers used to spend hours standing in wet, cold trenches.

Trench Foot 

The lack of proper and immediate treatment of trench foot in the 19th and even the 20th century resulted in the loss of many lives. Countless soldiers lost their limbs due to the condition. Trench foot doesn’t have any limitations, which means it can affect people of any gender, race, or age.

Trench Foot: What are the Causes?

Since now you know what is trench foot, let’s discuss the causes of the condition. Continuous exposure of the feet to cold, damp, or unhygienic conditions can lead to the development of trench foot.

In such cases, your blood vessels struggle to keep you warm by lowering the flow of blood to a great extent. And when this happens, the nutrients and oxygen traveling to your feet get minimized. Such a reduction can cause severe nerve and tissue damage. (Importance of foot health)

Trench foot is not like frostbite, which means it’s not necessary for the temperature to be freezing in order for the condition to develop. Sixteen or fifteen degrees Celsius temperature is enough to provide a hospitable environment for the formation of the condition.

Trench foot is an illness that can occur even if you’re indoors. All it needs is a wet environment. And this can be made possible even when someone suffering from excessive sweating wears damp shoes and socks.


Trench foot is one of those medical conditions that take less than a single day to develop. It affects people like hikers, security guards, builders, campers, sports and adventure enthusiasts, aid workers, music festival goers, etc. So if you fall in any one of the mentioned categories, then please take note.

Trench Foot Trouble​

Trench Foot: What are the Symptoms?

  • Numbness.
  • Blisters.
  • ​Blotchy and cold skin.
  • ​Burning sensation when the weather is even a little warm.
  • ​Heavy or prickly feeling.
  • ​When your foot starts to look gray in color.
  • ​Swelling.
  • ​Itching or tingling sensation.
  • Pain.
  • ​When the foot becomes red, dry, and painful in warm conditions.
  • ​Loss of any feeling or sensation in the foot.
  • Tissue and skin of the foot falling off.

How to Get Rid of Trench Foot?

Immersion or trench foot causes permanent damage to the tissue if it’s not treated properly and immediately. So make sure that prompt treatment is performed as soon as you spot the first signs of the condition.

Now that you’ve understood for trench foot, you can begin to grasp its severity and the fact that the condition needs to be treated thoroughly. This means that no temporary solution will prove to be beneficial in the long run.

So I have listed four trench foot treatment options below. Depending on how severe your condition is, you can opt for any one or more.

  • The best thing that you can do if you want to know how to get rid of trench foot uses a solution that has antibacterial and antifungal properties. Then put on a clean dressing and make sure that your feet receive sufficient amount of air circulation daily.
  • Once you start spotting symptoms of trench foot, it’s important to soak your feet in warm water for at least fifteen minutes. You can also use heat packs. The goal is to improve blood circulation in that region. But please make sure that the water or heat pack is not very hot, so you don’t burn your skin.
  • The most efficient trench foot treatment method comes in the form of potassium permanganate. A foot bath with potassium permanganate does an excellent job of drawing out all the fluids from the injured or affected region.

Credit: wikihow.com

That’s a Wrap!

It’s important to note that once gangrene sets in, no other treatment option will seem to work except for amputation. So now you know what is trench foot and how bad the condition can get if not treated appropriately.

You can go through the content once more just to make sure that you’ve grasped each and every detail thoroughly. It’s always better to be safe than sorry.

I hope you found what you were looking for in the article. And more importantly, I hope it helped solve your problem or query.

Please feel free to share any more information you have on the topic in the comments section below. We would be happy to know what you have to say about the condition of trench foot.


1. http://www.foot-pain-explored.com/trench-foot.html

2. http://www.footvitals.com/injuries/trench-foot.html

3. http://byebyedoctor.com/trench-foot/

Lamont Ly

My name is Lamont Ly and I have spent the countless number of hours researching and studying the best solutions for foot care related problems. My goal is to save your time as well as money by offering all the assistance backed by relevant and reliable information so that the health of your feet is not compromised in any way.

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