4 Things You Need To Know About Trench Foot
Trench foot is a serious foot condition that occurs when the feet are exposed to wet conditions for a prolonged period of time. It was a common problem for soldiers fighting in the trenches during the First World War, which is how it got its name, but the condition is still around today, and you don't need to go to war to contract it. Here are four things you need to know about trench foot.
How do you know you have it?
If you have trench foot, you may notice a wide range of changes in your feet. If you notice any of these symptoms after your feet have been exposed to wet conditions, see your podiatrist immediately for treatment.
- Tingling, numbness, or itching in your feet
- Pain in your feet
- Blotchy skin that is cold to the touch
- Feet that feel heavy and tired
- Red, dry skin after warming your feet
- Blisters or peeling skin
How can you get trench foot?
Trench foot is a type of immersion foot syndrome. It develops when your feet are exposed to conditions that are wet, unsanitary, and cold. Not changing out of wet socks and shoes after a hard workout or after getting caught in a rainstorm can lead to this condition. People who take part in outdoor activities like camping and hiking may also develop this condition if they don't pack extra pairs of dry socks and shoes to change into. It can also happen after a natural disaster such as a hurricane or a flood.
You can prevent trench foot by keeping your feet dry and clean, putting on dry socks if yours get wet, and by keeping your feet warm. If you can't keep your feet dry, like if you're camping or stuck in flood conditions, put on dry socks at least three times a day to keep your feet safe.
Is trench foot serious?
Trench foot is a very serious condition. If it's not treated, it can lead to gangrene. Gangrene means that your tissue dies and decays. Gangrene occurs when your feet don't get adequate blood flow or when bacteria enters your feet through your blisters or peeling skin. Depending on the cause of the gangrene, it can make your feet turn black or it can make brown pus bubble out of your skin. If you develop gangrene, you could lose your foot. Fortunately, getting prompt medical care for trench foot can help you avoid this complication.
How do podiatrists treat trench foot?
The treatment for trench foot is similar to the treatment for frostbite. The first thing that needs to be done is to warm the feet. This is done by soaking the feet in warm (not hot) water for a few minutes. Once your feet have been warmed, you'll need to monitor them closely for problems like blisters or color changes. These changes need to be evaluated by a podiatrist.
If your feet develop blisters, your podiatrist may give you a prescription for antibiotics to prevent an infection from developing. You may also be given painkillers to help you manage the pain in your feet.
If your skin starts to turn black, your podiatrist will need to surgically remove the dead tissue. This dead tissue can't be saved, and removing it will keep the problem from spreading. Once the dead tissue is gone, your healthy tissue will be able to heal. Later, you may need skin grafts to repair the areas that were operated on.
Trench foot is a very serious foot condition that can lead to amputation, so try your best to avoid it by keeping your feet dry and warm. If you think you have trench foot, see your podiatrist immediately so that serious complications can be avoided. Contact a facility like Mid Nebraska Foot Clinic for more information.