Trench foot as the name indicates is a medical problem concerned with feet and is caused due to long exposure to damp, cold and unsanitary conditions. It is also known as Immersion Foot Syndrome. Trench Foot is can occur both in cold and warm conditions. In cold conditions, due to repeated exposure to cold and in warm conditions the constant perspiration in the shoes can also cause it to occur. The term trench has its association with the trench warfare that was an integral part of World War I. Let us understand what association this condition has with the First World War period and also the problems associated with it.
The association of trench foot with the First World War is because this condition was developed majorly during this war. The conditions in which the soldiers fought the war was very cold and unhygienic. Everywhere there were waterlogged trenches and the whole climatic conditions were wet and cold. Insanitation and regularly wearing of wet socks and boots led to increase in trench foot in many soldiers. Due to this gradually the feet of the soldiers became numb and skin discolored into blue or red. When left unattended for long period, Trench foot resulted into gangrene and caused amputations of many legs. During the 1914-1915 winter period, the British Army had over 20000 soldiers suffering from this condition. The only solution which was advised for preventing and coping with trench foot in those conditions was changing of socks couple of times a day and to keep the feet as dry as possible. So as to keep their feet dry, soldiers were ordered to grease their feet by using whale-oil grease and in those days one battalion used around ten gallons of such grease everyday.
Trench foot leads to numbness and development of erythrosis which makes the feet turn red or cyanosis which causes the feet to become bluish owing to poor vascular supply. As the early period of necrosis starts to set in the feet starts getting stink due to decay. Further when the condition worsens, the feet also start to swell. In advanced stages, trench foot also can have open sores or blisters that can lead further to fungal infections. When trench foot reaches this condition it is known as jungle rot or topical ulcer. If the treatment is done in the earlier stages, trench foot can recover completely but otherwise can cause gangrene leading to amputation in more serious conditions.
Trench foot condition is categorized into three stages. This first one is the time when the blood vessels are tapered due to wetness and become cold inside the shoe or boot and the foot does not get enough oxygen. Due to this the foot gets swollen, discolored, numb and very tender. At this stage if the foot is attended and kept warm, the damaged tissue get back their sensitivity and the discomfort can be controlled within few hours to couple of days. In the stage two conditions, the foot is swollen and damaged due to poor blood circulation. This opens up the blood vessels and the foot swells up embedding excess fluid. The patient starts feeling tingling You do not have access to view this node which is constant. If the foot is warmed at this stage, the blisters come up forming ulcers. When the blisters fall off the dead tissue hidden underneath is revealed. The trench foot at this stage may take 2 to 6 weeks for recovery with the help of proper precaution and medication. The third stage is a very crucial trench foot condition in which the foot looks normal, but it sweats profusely and becomes very sensitive to cold giving rise to itching, creeping, prickly and tingling like feeling along with intense You do not have access to view this node.
Some of the most common symptoms of trench foot are:
The best remedy or treatment is to keep your feet away from cold and wet conditions. Prevent them by wearing dry socks and dry shoes. Control excessive perspiration by using good anti perspiring powder.