Frostbite - Recovery Time

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What is the recovery time for a frostbite injury?

The recovery time for a frostbite injury depends on the extent of tissue injury and whether or not there are any subsequent complications, such as infection. It may take 1 to 3 months before it is possible to determine the extent of tissue damage, and to clearly delineate which tissue is still viable. Some individuals will require debridement, skin grafting, or amputation of the affected area. Some patients will experience long-term sequelae from frostbite injuries, such as sensitivity to the cold with associated pain or burning, arthritis, increased sweating, and tingling of the affected area. Rarely, death occurs from infection-related complications.

Return to Frostbite (Cold Weather-Related Injuries)

See what others are saying

Comment from: 45-54 Male (Patient) Published: February 20

I was out all day in the cold weather and my feet froze. After I got into my warm house my feet started to get warm but I was in a lot of pain, numb, and felt like pins and needles. It has been a few hours and my feet are still in a lot of pain. Feet seem to be a little red, but not that bad. It seems like my toes hurt more than my actual feet. I looked at the pictures of the people that have frostbite, I don't see any of the same symptoms. I wonder if something could be really wrong, or just too many hours outside working on my truck.

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Comment from: norm, 55-64 Male (Patient) Published: January 10

I was in and out of the house for only 3 hours in 15 degrees F weather, working in the yard. I got very mild frostbite on toes and fingers because I had on summer sneakers and no gloves. It was a very dumb move on my part. Anyway, toes felt funny for almost a month and I had stinging, burning and stiffness, and very cold feet. I had no blistering or extreme signs of frostbite. No infections. Hands tingle and sting for almost 3 weeks then extreme nerve pain in hands for 2 days. I took lots of ibuprofen and soaked in 104 deg F water. I am finally starting to feel better and consider myself very lucky that it was not worse. Frostbite can happen very quickly and takes a long time to feel better.

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