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Non-freezing cold injury (NFCI) results from cold exposure, above freezing point, of sufficient severity and duration to cause sensory and vascular abnormalities, which can persist for years and even permanently, often resulting in medical discharge from the Armed Forces and restrictions on alternative career prospects.

Whilst the condition was previously known as ‘trench foot’, symptoms are commonly suffered in the feet and/or hands, typically after a soldier has been cold and wet for a sustained period of time. On rewarming, there is altered sensation and often discolouration with periods of paleness followed by redness, along with swelling and pain.

What is a non-freezing cold injury?

Non-freezing cold injuries (NFCI’s) often lead to long term/ permanent increased sensitivity to cold. Whilst all soldiers are at risk of NFCI, research suggests those of black Afro-Caribbean ethnicity are at 2.8 to 6 times more susceptible. Smokers are also more predisposed to NFCI, which is primarily a neurovascular condition.

What should you do if you have a non-freezing cold injury?

It is important that soldiers noticing any of the above symptoms report them promptly to their medical officer/ centre. They should then be referred immediately for the requisite investigations. These are typically carried out at the Cold Injury Clinic at the Institute of Naval Medicine. Delays in investigation and diagnosis should be minimised because those diagnosed with NFCI should immediately be placed on restricted employment, sheltered from cold and damp conditions and are unlikely to be able to play many sports or to be fully deployable, in order to maximise the chances of recovery.

Making a legal claim for a non-freezing cold injury

It is vital that those suffering with suspected NFCI’s seek early legal advice, as strict time limits (usually three years from the incident causing the injury) apply in bringing claims. This is particularly important in the many cases where soldiers face the possibility of early medical discharge.

How can Gorvins help?

Gary Boyd, Head of Gorvins’ Military Injury department, is an acknowledged expert in the highly specialised field of military non-Freezing cold injuries. Gary has a wealth of experience in dealing with military cases of this nature and will give you the specialist legal advice and support that you deserve.

Next Steps

To discuss your case with Gary you can call us on 0161 930 5117 or fill in our online enquiry form and let us call you back to see how we can help.

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What do our clients say?

  • Gary Boyd is praised for great attention to detail ...Legal 500

  • The service received was outstanding and you never gave up ...Mr Liam Sprigg

  • When working with Gary Boyd, I have been impressed by his dedication ...Lady Justice Yip, High Court Judge

  • You have been a great representative, an amazing solicitor ...Kelly Darlow

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Meet the Military Claims team

  • Gary Boyd

    Head of Military & Serious Sports Injury Claims
    Military Claims

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