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Frozen chips: an unusual cause of severe frostbite injury
  1. Colin A Graham,
  2. James Stevenson
  1. Department of Accident and Emergency Medicine, Crosshouse Hospital, Kilmarnock KA2 0BE, Scotland
  1. Correspondence to: Mr C A Graham, Department of Accident and Emergency Medicine, Southern General Hospital, Govan Road, Glasgow G51 4TF, Scotlandemail: ColinGraham{at}


A case of severe 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 ensued after surgical excision of necrotic tissue and split skin grafting. The danger of inappropriate overenthusiastic use of ice packs or other frozen material to treat soft tissue injuries is emphasised. The need for education to prevent similar future injuries is discussed.

  • cold injury
  • frostbite
  • ice pack
  • skin
  • necrosis

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