Frozen Chips: An Unusual Cause of Severe Frostbite Injury

British Journal of Sports Medicine, 2000; 34: pp. 382-384; doi: 10.1136/bjsm.34.5.382; Colin A Graham, James Stevenson

Abstract Content:  A severe case of frostbite injury to the right foot is presented. This was caused by the inappropriate application of a bag of frozen chips to the foot in an attempt to ease non-specific pain. No specific acute traumatic injury was identified. As the patient was a teacher of physical education, the pain had initially been assumed to originate from a minor musculoskeletal injury. Full recovery ensured after surgical excision of necrotic tissue and split skin grafting. The danger of inappropriate over-enthusiastic use of ice packs or other frozen material to treat soft tissue injuries is emphasized. The need for education to prevent similar future injuries is discussed. Key Words: Cold injury; frostbite; ice pack; necrosis; skin