Trench foot and shell shock - what were they called before WWI?

Shells and trenches, big parts of WWI that eventually figured into the names of two ailments from the conflict. But what were they called and what treatments existed before the shells and trenches?

The earliest reference to what we’d now call PTSD is from the War Between the States called ‘Soldier’s Heart’, but I can’t find any pre-WWI info on trench foot. Any ideas?

If I recall correctly, Cowards, unfortunately is what shell shocked soldiers were called. And shot for it too.

Just from a quick perusal of the Wikipedia cites, it sounds like trench foot was called… frostbite. Aside from occurring in non-freezing temperatures, the symptoms were not too different. Early in WWI, the Americans apparently had a variety of names for it: frostbite, water bite, chilled foot, boot bite, and frigorism. Apparently it was first noticed in Napoleon’s wars. Maybe someone has access to the whole article, but from the abstract it seems they called it frostbite as well.

Trench foot - if and when it occurred, would probably just have been called sores or lesions of the foot - since that’s pretty much what it is.

I recall reading a US Army (I think, might have been British) psychiatrist report on battle fatigue, as they called it then, and the irony that fleeing from the field and reporting as a psych case were two manifestations of the same thing, but one gets court martial and the other gets help.

@ Dr. Strangelove; Interesting, what’d they call actual frostbite? Did they think they were just the same disease (both involve bits falling off your feet I suppose).

I’m sure they called actual frostbite by that term as well; as you say, it seems they just thought they were the same disease. Apparently it wasn’t until WWI that they understood that it was a different enough condition to warrant a different name.

suffering bad morale, they first took on heart sickness, lost all Flux of humour, and showed symptoms of Podagra and Pemphigus .

Look them up
Of course a doctor may have ignored the gangrene … my joke diagnosis was to say said that the foot was falling off due to heart sickness ?? So old records don’t help so much.

If the foot was infected for a long time, or after recovery, they might have called it Scirrhus… cancer !.. the skin of the foot grows all lumpy and they’d confuse it with cancer.

During and after the American Civil War, they called it “Soldier’s Heart”.

I don’t know that trench foot or mouth was really much of a prevalent thing in armies prior to WWI- they didn’t spend a lot of time in wet boots in trenches prior to that. That’s not to say that it wasn’t something that happened to people, but it was probably not particularly common prior to the war.

In the US Civil War, there were extensive periods of soldiers sitting in trenches.

Or “Da Costa’s Syndrome”, this is the farthest back I managed to find the medical profession taking notice of PTSD.

Interestingly the Bard mentions both PTSD and trenches (no mention of trench feet) in Henry IV Part I, Lady Percy diagnoses the titular king with it;
Why hast thou lost the fresh blood in thy cheeks;
And given my treasures and my rights of thee
To thick-eyed musing and cursed melancholy?
In thy faint slumbers I by thee have watch’d,
And heard thee murmur tales of iron wars;
Speak terms of manage to thy bounding steed;
Cry ‘Courage! to the field!’ And thou hast talk’d
Of sallies and retires, of trenches…