Do you find yourself contending with smelly feet and foot infections? If you have hyperhidrosis, it can be terrifyingly embarrassing to take off your shoes in front of people!
Plantar hyperhidrosis or excessive sweating of the feet usually starts early in life and aside from extreme sweating, it can bring foot problems aplenty if you aren’t careful. It may surprise you, but sweaty feet are not necessarily related to increased water intake, body temperature, and strenuous physical activity.
The struggle is real for people with sweaty feet! Fortunately, there are home remedies and a technique called iontophoresis to address excessive feet sweating and avoid its complications.
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Causes of feet sweating
If you are excessively sweaty even if you aren’t feeling nervous, you might have an underlying condition called hyperhidrosis. This chronic skin condition is characterized by the malfunctioning of the autonomic nervous system, which leads to increased sweating due to neurogenic hyperexcitability of the reflex circuits. and causes hyperstimulation of otherwise normal eccrine sweat glands. Read on to know what’s causing your sweating episodes.
When excessive sweating is localized, it is called primary or focal hyperhidrosis, and this is further divided by the area affected.
While it is known that excessive sweating is due to the overactivity of the nerves, the reason behind it remains a mystery to experts. However, research shows this non-threatening medical disorder may have a hereditary component since symptoms of it often run in families and most severe cases of focal hyperhidrosis start during adolescence.
You may not know that you have relatives suffering from this idiopathic disease since most people are embarrassed to talk about it due to the overwhelming stigma around people who sweat excessively.
Chronic disease and medications
Aside from sweating of the feet, people afflicted with secondary or generalized serious hyperhidrosis may experience sweating in other parts of the body. Excess sweating due to secondary hyperhidrosis tends to occur in adults due to an underlying medical condition, such as:
- cardiovascular disease
- nervous system disorders
- bacterial or viral infections, and
- thyroid problems.
Many medications, including antidepressants, pilocarpine, and insulin, can also cause sweaty feet.
How to prevent sweaty feet
I’m sure you wash your feet every day but if you have plantar hyperhidrosis, you will want to go the extra mile. Here are some ways you can prevent sweaty feet:
Wash your feet every day
Aim to wash your feet at least twice daily using antibacterial soap.
After rinsing, soak your feet in warm water with a few drops of essential oil with antimicrobial properties, such as eucalyptus, lemongrass, peppermint, and tea tree. You can also use a few tablespoons of baking soda if you don’t have essential oils.
Be sure to dry your feet, especially between your toes where moisture tends to hide. As an additional measure, dab rubbing alcohol between your toes.
Dry your feet with antifungal powders
Excessive foot sweating puts you at a higher risk of getting smelly feet because moisture is the perfect playground for odor-causing bacteria and fungi. That said, you want to make sure to keep your feet dry.
Before you put your shoes on, dust your feet with Foot Sense All-Natural Foot and Shoe antifungal Powder. An antifungal foot powder not only prevents sweaty feet but puts off nail fungus and fungal infections.
Choose the right antiperspirant
Using an antiperspirant is the easiest way to tackle sweaty feet daily. Antiperspirants contain aluminum-based compounds and when you roll them onto your skin, they form a plug that temporarily blocks sweat ducts. However, most antiperspirants you find in drugstores don’t contain high enough concentrations of the required active ingredient.
That’s why you need a prescription-strength antiperspirant like Certain Dri. This product contains 12% aluminum chloride, which is the right amount for normal to sensitive skin, and it works for up to 72 hours. The antiperspirant works best when applied to dry feet before going to bed.
Wear the right socks
Did you know you’ll get excessively sweaty feet when you aren’t wearing socks or when you are wearing the wrong ones? This is why it is important to wear the right socks.
Avoid nylon socks as they trap moisture. The right moisture wicking socks choice for you is breathable cotton during warmer months. You’ll still sweat, but the reason you don’t feel that nasty dampness is that these moisture wicking socks absorb sweat and promote airflow.
In winter, the best socks are naturally insulating wool socks. These socks can absorb a high amount of perspiration while keeping your feet comfortably toasty. Also remember to change socks once or twice daily.
Get breathable shoes
When it comes to footwear, you’ll want to steer clear of uncomfortable shoes made of synthetic materials like plastic, rubber, and polyester, as they restrict airflow and cause your feet to sweat even more. If you need to wear boots and dress shoes, choose genuine leather. Breathability is a special property of leather that no other alternative exudes.
Moreover, choose nylon mesh for athletic shoes and use absorbent insoles. These insoles provide an additional defense against sweating and prevent foot odor. Avoid wearing the same pair of sneakers on two consecutive days to stop sweating and allow the shoes to dry out between wear. You may want to read our post on stopping sweaty feet from sliding in shoes to learn more.
Limiting your water intake in hopes that it will mitigate hyperhidrosis is counterproductive. This misconception can only lead to dehydration, which can harm your organs in serious cases. You should always replenish your water and electrolyte reserves, especially when you work out or when the weather is warm. Staying hydrated regulates body temperature and likely reduces sweating.
Complications of excessive foot sweating
- Tinea pedis:
Commonly known as athlete’s foot, it is a fungal infection that often starts in the spaces between the toes. If left untreated, it can lead to large painful fissures that expose your feet to invasive bacteria.
- Bromodosis (stinky feet):
Sweat has no smell, but bacteria and fungi make up residence on our feet no matter how clean we are. The minute bioforms feed off the sweat and produce an acid that causes an unpleasant odor.
- Social embarrassment and emotional stress:
Foot odor and sweaty feet have decreased many people’s confidence. Many people have reported numerous difficulties, especially during social gatherings.
When to visit a Podiatrist
Normally, plantar hyperhidrosis doesn’t warrant a trip to the doctor. But if your condition has caused you to develop a rash or fungal infection, it would be wise to see a podiatrist as soon as possible. Your doctor may prescribe stronger antiperspirants or iontophoresis.
Medical treatment of feat sweat
Iontophoresis is often recommended to treat primary hyperhidrosis, especially targeting sweaty feet. This non surgical procedure just involves sending a mild electrical current to shut down your sweat glands for the short term. The treatment lasts anywhere between 15 to 30 minutes, and if it works for you, you’ll have to do maintenance treatments to maintain the results.
Does hyperhidrosis go away?
There is no cure for hyperhidrosis, but there are ways to manage sweaty feet and moist skin to prevent further complications.
Do sweaty feet increase your chance of getting blisters?
Yes, and this is especially during warm seasons. Excessive sweating triggers skin bubbles to form in the feet due to clogged pores.
Can you use your underarm antiperspirant to treat sweaty feet?
No. You’ll want your feet to have their own antiperspirant; otherwise, you risk adding foot fungus to your armpits.
Simply put, having plantar hyperhidrosis means your sweat glands remain normal but your brain sends signals to your sweat glands to produce more sweat than needed. Identifying why this happens continues to prove challenging for experts, but it is known to be genetic. If you’ve acquired a chronic illness, you may also have more sweat glands and excessively in some other parts of your body.
While there is no cure, there are several treatment options. The key is to stay consistent in your solid game plan. With proper management, this condition doesn’t have to interfere with your daily activities!