The different types of physical urticaria are triggered by mechanical and thermal stimuli, as well as electromagnetic waves. Localized forms restricted to the skin and mucous membranes are most common, but generalized urticaria with variable extracutaneous manifestations can also occur. Physical urticaria is usually sporadic but may rarely have a familial form; it is often associated with chronic urticaria. In most instances, the short time interval between the physical stimulus and reaction points to a causal relationship, but in delayed types the exact diagnosis may be missed without provocation tests. The clinical implication of physical urticaria is demonstrated by investigations showing a greater degree of disability in affected patients as compared to other types of urticaria. There is still an incomplete understanding of the crucial pathophysiological aspects; most likely inflammatory reactions involving leukocytes, endothelial cells and nerves stimulated by various mediators play an important role in this form of urticaria.