“Trench Foot” or “Foot Rot” Still a Hidden Threat Today

December 12, 2011 | Author: | Posted in Health & Fitness

During World War I the soldiers lived in trenches for long periods. The conditions they were exposed to were harsh. A cold, damp and unhygienic environment is what they dealt with day in and day out and their feet were especially exposed thanks to the long-term exposure to moistness that authorized bacteria to grow and skin to fester “the was long before the discovery of antibacterial gels or lotions. A substantial number of the men developed what came to be known as “trench foot” or what is also known as “foot rot”. In one winter, 20,000 men developed blue, gangrenous feet and many actually had their legs amputated.

According to the specialists, foot rot sets in after less than 11 hours of exposure to wetness. So whether you are a soldier, hunter, skier, hiker, camper or just love the outdoors, it is important to keep your feet dry irrespective of what it takes and no matter whether it’s summer or winter.

When the situation presents itself and conditions are perfect for trench foot, the body goes into survival mode and begins to preserve heat by restricting blood flow to extremities. Symptoms begin to appear including swelling, itching, redness, numbness, tingling, agony, ulcers and finally infection and gangrene.

Many folks think that freezing temperatures are a major factor allowing ditch foot to set in. Nevertheless the threat can happen in most temperatures below 60 degrees Fahrenheit or 16 degrees Celsius. The key contributors are essentially a fatal mixing of constricting footwear and exposure to moistness for long amounts of time.

In the early days of warfare, armed forces covered their feet with a lubricator made from whale oil to attempt to keep these extremities from developing the rot. One brigadier general related, “ten gallons a day is what is needed to keep the feet of my whole corps greased.”

Today, regardless of our advanced technology, we face much the same issue as the early World War I infantrymen did so far as keeping feet warm and dry when we are out in the cold and damp. Some may scoff and say that this is not a modern day problem, but in 1982 for example, foot rot tormented the British forces in the Falkland Islands during the war. There are reported cases from the Performing Humanities holiday in Glastonbury, Britain in 2007. Doctors ‘ also report seeing cases in a large range of doubtful folks like extraordinary sports fans, builders and security guards.

We have come a long way since World War I in combating the “foot rot” nightmare those heroes faced as they attempted to survive in the ditches. It is great information for anyone who is faced with wet mud, cold damp feet and soggy shoes for any extended period to change socks at least twice a day, wear socks that wick sweat away, apply a top quality germicidal gel such as “fiteBac” to help prevent bacteria from finding a foothold and help stop moisture from reaching the skin. Today, with data and readiness, it is actually possible for history not to repeat itself.

Boniface Clairmont writes regularly on the subject of the best hand sanitizers and other products for germaphobes.


This author has published 7 articles so far. More info about the author is coming soon.

Leave a Reply