New Zealand yachtsman Grant Dalton has been told not to be surprised if he has permanent nerve damage to his feet after the punishing fourth leg of the round-the-world race through the Southern Ocean.
Dalton arrived in Rio de Janeiro eight days ago with badly damaged nerves in his feet.
He visited a circulation specialist in Auckland on Tuesday who told him he had "non-freezing cold injury," which is almost as serious as frostbite.
The injury was caused by having constantly wet and cold feet after leaving Auckland late last month and dipping deep into the Southern Ocean before heading north to round Cape Horn and head up the east coast of South America into Rio de Janeiro.
By the time he reached Rio, Dalton said he was on a cocktail of painkillers because of the damaged nerves in his feet.
He said yesterday that the specialist had told him the numbness he felt might be permanent and his big toe might need to be protected to avoid skin and bone damage because it had lost its sensitivity to touch and pain.
However, Dalton said some feeling was already returning to his toe and he hoped the recovery would continue. Dalton is back to full training and has regained 3kg of the 5kg he lost in the fourth leg.