Sweaty Feet

Sweaty Feet

Almost everyone has experienced or knows someone who has dealt with sweaty feet, also known as hyperhidrosis. Sweaty feet is a common disorder that affects about 3 percent of the world population.  Because the feet contain over 250,000 sweat glands and can produce a half pint of sweat a day, the condition can be uncomfortable as well as embarrassing. The sweat glands can become over active for many reasons: emotions, physical activity, and heat are well known contributors to plantar hyperhidrosis.  Some foods or drugs such as nicotine and caffiene can also trigger perspiration.

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Excessive foot sweating in severe cases can be socially embarrassing. Foot odor caused by bacteria that feed off the sweat produced can be offensive and embarrassing. The moisture from sweaty feet can ruin shoes and contribute to other foot disorders such as athlete’s foot, toe nail fungus and plantar warts.

So why do our feet sweat more than the rest of the skin on our body? Because usually our feet our covered with socks and shoes that inhibit evaporation and cooling of the skin. The excreted sweat can’t evaporate. In other areas of the body sweat evaporates, removing heat and cooling the skin.

What you can do about sweaty feet?

Wear appropriate foot ware. Ventilated shoes and cotton or wool socks can allow your foot to breath and wick sweat away from the skin. If possible wear a different pair of shoes, every other day, allowing them to dry out completely between wearing. Avoid synthetic socks or plastic covered shoes that can hamper foot ventilation. Avoid tennis or training shoes except when needed, these are often heavily insulated and synthetic.   Work boots with thinsulate or gortex work very well with evaporation and ventilation.

There are also antiperspirants specifically made for the foot. Make sure the foot is completely dry before applying, most recommend nightly applications.

If you have persistent sweaty feet a physician can prescribe a stronger antiperspirant or anti-cholinergic drugs to help control the disorder.