Our modern world encourages people to stay active. There are many apps that help you get running, or jogging, or taking more steps. And that’s on top of all the walking that we’re doing every day, whether you’re trying to stay on the move or not.
With all the demands that we put on our feet, it’s a good idea to be aware of the most common problem that being on our feet leads to: sweaty feet.
Everyone has them now and then, but when is some sweating actually too much sweating? What causes that, and how can you prevent it? Let’s find out.
- 1 Plantar Hyperhidrosis
- 2 Sweaty Feet Causes
- 3 How to Prevent Sweaty Feet
- 4 Home Remedies for Sweaty Feet
- 5 When Should You See A Professional?
- 6 Treatments
- 7 Living With Sweaty Feet
The technical term for sweaty feet is plantar hyperhidrosis. Plantar refers to feet, while hyperhidrosis refers to excessive sweating.
It’s not exactly something that people talk about every day, but ironically, there are a huge number of people who suffer from it.
The IHS, or the International Hyperhidrosis Society, estimates that about 5 percent of the population worldwide suffers from hyperhidrosis. That is 367 million people who also have problems with excessive sweating.
According to this study, plantar hyperhidrosis is the fourth most common type of hyperhidrosis, just after excessive sweating in the underarms, head and face, and arms.
Sweaty Feet Causes
If you have sweaty feet, you may have asked yourself more than once, “Why do my feet sweat?” Chances are, you may need to keep asking this for a bit longer.
Science still has no definitive answer for why we sweat excessively. It could be attributed and exacerbated by a number of factors, such as stress, anxiety, and our environment.
Indeed, teenagers are more likely to suffer from excessive sweating. Sweaty feet and hands are also more common during winter and summer, when the temperatures are either too high or too low for comfort.
However, these explanations haven’t been thoroughly studied, and studies that have already been conducted remain inconclusive.
On the other hand, doctors believe that hyperhidrosis is caused by your genes. It is hereditary; if one of your parents has it, chances are, you’ll have it too.
How to Prevent Sweaty Feet
While it is hereditary, there’s no harm in trying to prevent getting sweaty feet.
Thankfully, preventing excessive sweating isn’t too hard; it’s just a matter of good hygiene and conscious decision-making.
Keep Your Feet Clean
You’ve heard of dental hygiene, but have you heard of foot hygiene?
You may know that it’s important to regularly brush and floss your teeth, but how often do you pay attention to the cleanliness of your feet?
If you are sure to keep your feet in clean, healthy condition, they’re not only more likely to fend off fungus or other infections but can even reduce the amount of excess sweat they produce.
Experts suggest washing your feet at least once a day, even twice if they get particularly dirty.
There are also soaps on the market that are specifically made to keep your feet clean. These soaps have anti-bacterial properties, as well as moisturizing ingredients, to ensure that your feet stay in top shape.
Other than washing your feet, however, it’s important that you pat them dry afterward. Water increases the risk of bacterial growth, and the spaces between your toes are notorious for locking in moisture that germs prefer.
For good measure, try not to put your feet in socks or shoes immediately after washing them. Get them dry first to ensure they don’t get trapped with unwanted moisture.
Lotions, Creams, and Powders
Foot hygiene doesn’t just end with keeping your foot clean. Have you ever thought about giving your feet a bit of TLC?
Thanks to a growing demand, there are now many products on the market that are made specifically to pamper feet.
You will be able to buy lotions, creams, and powders, all to ensure that your feet stay healthy and clean.
Depending on how much activity your feet see every day, and the care that they need, there will be a product for you.
Perhaps your feet need to be moisturized more to avoid chafing? Or perhaps you need to ensure that your feet don’t become infected by bacteria?
By searching out the right skincare products for your situation, you’ll be able to guarantee healthier feet – and healthy feet don’t often sweaty unnecessarily.
While you may work hard on keeping your feet clean and healthy, you really can’t overlook what you put on them.
Your socks and shoes can be the culprit for why you always seem to break out in sweats. Maybe the material that they’re made of just isn’t the most comfortable, or that material does a terrible job of staying dry.
When it comes to socks, a good rule of thumb is to change them at least once per day, and even more if you are sweating a great deal. Of course, make sure that your socks are clean and dry before putting them on.
If that doesn’t seem to work well enough, check the material that your socks are made of. Cotton socks are always a good option, as well as wool.
These fabrics are breathable, which means that they won’t trap moisture. They are also very comfortable, lessening the risks of chafing.
If you can afford their price, there are also socks on the market that are made specifically for sweaty or smelly feet. These socks will be made of breathable material and can lessen bacteria as well.
No matter the socks of your choice, however, always opt to wear them when putting on close-toed shoes.
When it comes to shoes, opt for ones that are a good fit. Uncomfortable shoes will only worsen whatever issues your shoes have, which is a terrible idea if you already have sweaty feet to begin with.
When picking out shoes, try to choose those which are breathable, so that they won’t trap in moisture. Shoes made out of canvas or leather are ideal to choose from.
Apart from ensuring they’re made out of breathable material, the most effective way you can avoid trapping in moisture is to keep them dry or to allow them to dry after trudging through the rain.
Shoes with removable insoles are also a great way to ensure that they don’t lock in moisture and can easily be dried when wet.
Should they become soaked in a puddle, take them off as soon as possible. If you are able, you could also remove your shoes every now and then to give your feet a break as well as space to breathe.
Healthy Diet and Good Hydration
As with any medical problem, healthy diet and exercise will lessen your sweaty feet issues.
For one thing, a strong immune system will help you avoid infections, as well as fight infections if they occur.
Hydration is also important, especially for those who sweat excessively, to make sure that your body isn’t low on fluids.
Home Remedies for Sweaty Feet
While there are many products on the market that can help you alleviate the symptoms of sweaty and smelly feet, you could also gather some materials you have lying around the house to help reduce symptoms.
Here are a few DIY remedies to help lessen how sweaty your feet become.
If you can’t find the ideal product or if you just want to save money, you could always create your own foot soak. Foot soaks are a great way to make sure that your feet stay healthy and clean.
For example, a soak with about 1/4th cup of baking soda to several cups of water for twenty minutes is a good solution.
You could also use other products lying around the house to remove bacteria. Good alternatives include vinegar and black tea.
Exfoliation is the process of removing dead skin cells and is a good way to avoid smelly feet. This is because bacteria feeds on dead skin cells, which in turn cause bad odors.
Removing dead skin cells will lessen the chances of bacteria staying on your feet. Exfoliation can be done by a number of ways.
One is by using an exfoliating brush or glove and simply scrubbing away at your feet. You could also use scrubs, which you could make out of salt or sugar.
Be sure to soak your feet in water beforehand; this is a great follow-up to a foot soak as well.
While there are antiperspirants made for feet available in the market, you could easily make your own.
Rubbing alcohol can act as an antiperspirant and is also a great way to kill bacteria. Cornstarch, as well as baking soda, is excellent for soaking up moisture.
You can add cornstarch directly to your feet and sprinkle baking soda in your shoes afterward.
Here’s a video showing more information on how to stop sweaty feet.
When Should You See A Professional?
As with most cases of excessive sweating, sweaty feet usually aren’t a huge issue. They usually aren’t a symptom of a larger, underlying disease.
In fact, if you sweat excessively, chances are you’ve grown use to this problem and have learned to cope with it on your own.
However, if you feel like you need some help in treating your sweaty feet, or you just want to make treatment much easier, you can always contact a doctor; in this case, a dermatologist or a podiatrist.
When you go to a medical professional, they will first try to cross out any other possible causes of your sweaty feet.
After they have not found any other underlying symptoms, they will prescribe a few of the usual remedies, such as creating better foot hygiene habits and choosing the right socks and shoes.
If those remedies still aren’t enough, they may recommend a few treatment options. These will include the following.
Prescription Strength Antiperspirant
While there are antiperspirants that are available on the market, you may need something stronger.
Your doctor will write you a prescription depending on the symptoms that you have. This can be prescribed alongside oral medicine.
If your doctor prescribes you oral medicine to lessen sweating, it will most likely be an anticholinergic.
Anticholinergics function by blocking neurotransmitters, which will then, among other things, stop sweaty feet.
However, depending on your lifestyle, this may not be a viable choice, as they will stop all forms of sweating.
Iontophoresis is the process of passing electrical currents through the skin surface, so as to administer medication.
Its function is akin to that of an injection. While it may sound a bit scary, the currents are very weak, and you can even administer them yourself after you have bought the necessary equipment.
While you may think of them more in terms of cosmetic surgery, the main job of Botox injections is to paralyze muscles.
These are helpful for those who want to stop their feet from sweating, although the effect is temporary. Botox injections will last about six to nine months.
Sympathectomy refers to the surgical cutting of nerves to stop signals from reaching the brain. Without nerves sending messages that you need to sweat, there will be no sweating.
This is, of course, a very severe form of treatment, and will only be recommended in cases where there are no other options.
Here’s a video showing an example of professional treatment for sweaty feet.
Living With Sweaty Feet
Having sweaty feet is if you excuse the pun, no walk in the park.
They are a health hazard, and not just in the usual sense of blisters and bacteria; they also give you stress and anxiety, making you think twice about certain activities that you want to enjoy.
On the other hand, there is a huge percentage of people who choose to continue living with excessive sweating all their lives, just because they have gotten used to their situation and have managed the symptoms.
However, if you need help in managing excessive sweating, try out one of the remedies described above.
If you really need to ask help from a professional, there’s no harm in discussing it with a doctor – whether they be your general practitioner, a dermatologist, or a podiatrist.
Do you have any tips to prevent sweaty feet?