We are independent & ad-supported. We may earn a commission for purchases made through our links.
Advertiser Disclosure
Our website is an independent, advertising-supported platform. We provide our content free of charge to our readers, and to keep it that way, we rely on revenue generated through advertisements and affiliate partnerships. This means that when you click on certain links on our site and make a purchase, we may earn a commission. Learn more.
How We Make Money
We sustain our operations through affiliate commissions and advertising. If you click on an affiliate link and make a purchase, we may receive a commission from the merchant at no additional cost to you. We also display advertisements on our website, which help generate revenue to support our work and keep our content free for readers. Our editorial team operates independently of our advertising and affiliate partnerships to ensure that our content remains unbiased and focused on providing you with the best information and recommendations based on thorough research and honest evaluations. To remain transparent, we’ve provided a list of our current affiliate partners here.

What is Trench Foot?

By Shannon Kietzman
Updated Mar 03, 2024
Our promise to you
The Health Board is dedicated to creating trustworthy, high-quality content that always prioritizes transparency, integrity, and inclusivity above all else. Our ensure that our content creation and review process includes rigorous fact-checking, evidence-based, and continual updates to ensure accuracy and reliability.

Our Promise to you

Founded in 2002, our company has been a trusted resource for readers seeking informative and engaging content. Our dedication to quality remains unwavering—and will never change. We follow a strict editorial policy, ensuring that our content is authored by highly qualified professionals and edited by subject matter experts. This guarantees that everything we publish is objective, accurate, and trustworthy.

Over the years, we've refined our approach to cover a wide range of topics, providing readers with reliable and practical advice to enhance their knowledge and skills. That's why millions of readers turn to us each year. Join us in celebrating the joy of learning, guided by standards you can trust.

Editorial Standards

At The Health Board, we are committed to creating content that you can trust. Our editorial process is designed to ensure that every piece of content we publish is accurate, reliable, and informative.

Our team of experienced writers and editors follows a strict set of guidelines to ensure the highest quality content. We conduct thorough research, fact-check all information, and rely on credible sources to back up our claims. Our content is reviewed by subject-matter experts to ensure accuracy and clarity.

We believe in transparency and maintain editorial independence from our advertisers. Our team does not receive direct compensation from advertisers, allowing us to create unbiased content that prioritizes your interests.

Trench foot, also called immersion foot, is a medical condition characterized by a tingling or itching sensation in the foot, accompanied by swelling, pain, and numbness. A person with the condition may also develop blotchy, cold skin and have a heavy or prickly feeling in his or her foot. Typically, the foot also feels dry and painful and becomes red when warm.

This problem develops after a person’s feet become wet and stay damp for an extended period of time. Cold water also aggravates the problem. For this reason, it was a common illness for soldiers during World War I, as they spent a great deal of time standing in trenches that were cold and wet. In order to prevent the condition, a person should air dry and elevate the feet after they become wet. In addition, individuals should remove wet socks and shoes and replace them with dry ones, rather than walking around for extended periods of time wearing damp footwear.

Leg cramps are common in those with trench foot, and the pulse may be slowed or completely stopped in the affected foot. The person may also develop blisters on the foot within two to seven days after the feet get wet. After forming blisters, the skin and other tissues die and begin falling off. When the condition is severe and left untreated, the entire foot can be affected.

If a person develops trench foot, there are steps he or she should take to treat the problem in order to prevent it from spreading and causing long term damage. The first step is to clean the feet thoroughly and allow them to dry. It is also important to change the socks daily, making sure to wear only those that are dry and clean. In addition, socks should not be worn while sleeping or resting.

The affected foot or feet should also be treated by soaking them in warm water ranging from 102 to 110°F (about 38.9 to 43.3°C) for five minutes. Alternatively, a warm pack can be applied to the area for the same amount of time. Medical attention should be sought immediately.

It is important to keep in mind that trench foot is a wound to the foot, and as such, it makes the foot more prone to infection. Therefore, the affected foot or feet should be checked at least once every day for additional problems.

The Health Board is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
Discussion Comments
By anon330783 — On Apr 18, 2013

I just graduated from basic and I just found out I have trench foot. Because I have this injury, I also have two toes that turned black.

By anon321963 — On Feb 25, 2013

I feel bad for the solders who went through this.

By anon266005 — On May 03, 2012

Trench foot can also happen to trench shoring workers if they are not careful. That is why people in this industry should wear boots and the proper gear to prevent water from getting in contact with feet for a long period of time. Training is necessary in construction and trench shoring so that workers will know what to expect and how to take care of themselves.

By anon97406 — On Jul 19, 2010

i have foot ulcers which happened in the military. when i was overseas i was in water and cold a lot and was instructed to change socks to dry a lot. well I'm trying to get the military to pay me benefits for possible trench foot which led to chronic foot ulcers for 30+ years. what i need to know is did the trench foot turn into foot ulcers? i went to the doctor in the army a lot for exeme foot pain, which turned into a sore and wouldn't go away.

By pocurana — On Jun 10, 2008

If trench foot is left untreated and gets bad it can turn into gangrene -- when body tissue turns black and dies. While gangrene can be treated with antibiotics, treatment can also be as severe as amputation.

The Health Board, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.

The Health Board, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.