Trench foot, also known as immersion foot, is an injury of the feet resulting from prolonged exposure to wet and cold conditions. Trench foot can occur at temperatures as high as 15 degrees C if the feet are constantly wet. Injury occurs because wet feet lose heat 25-times faster than dry feet. Therefore, to prevent heat loss, the body constricts blood vessels to shut down circulation in the feet. Skin tissue begins to die because of lack of oxygen and nutrients and due to the buildup of toxic products.
Symptoms of trench foot include:
- Reddening of the skin
- Leg cramps
- Tingling pain
- Blisters or ulcers
- Bleeding under the skin
- Gangrene (the foot may turn dark purple, blue, or gray)
Workers suffering from trench foot should:
- Remove shoes/boots and wet socks.
- Dry their feet.
- Avoid walking on feet, as this may cause tissue damage. And seek medical attention