A review of trench foot: A disease of the past in the present

K. Mistry, C. Ondhia, N. J. Levell

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

11 Citations (Scopus)


From the French Invasion of Russia in 1812, to Glastonbury festival in 2007, trench foot has been reported, yet the exact nature of the condition remains unclear. This review explores the pathogenesis and treatment of trench foot. Trench foot is considered to be a nonfreezing cold injury often complicated by infection, in which exposure to cold temperatures just above freezing, combined with moisture, results in a peripheral vasoneuropathy. The presence of physical trauma, bacterial or fungal infections, malnutrition, venous hypertension and lymphoedema mean that some individuals are at greater risk of trench foot. Trench foot may be prevented by warming the feet, changing socks, staying active, rubbing the skin with oil and regularly inspecting the feet. Avoiding risk factors may help prevent the condition. The management of trench foot is less clear. Vasodilators such as iloprost and nicotinyl tartrate or sympathectomy may help. Trench foot may lead to necrosis, cellulitis, sepsis and amputation. It remains a poorly understood condition.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)10-14
Number of pages5
JournalClinical and Experimental Dermatology
Issue number1
Early online date15 Jul 2019
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2020


  • Cellulitis/etiology
  • Cold Temperature/adverse effects
  • Foot/pathology
  • Humans
  • Immersion Foot/etiology
  • Risk Factors
  • Vasodilator Agents/therapeutic use
  • Water/adverse effects

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