What are sweaty feet?
Excessive sweating of the feet is clinically known as hyperhidrosis. Smelly feet are most commonly caused by sweating, and are worsened by wearing the same shoes every day. The feet are home to more sweat glands than anywhere else on the body (approximately 250,000), and their function is to keep the skin moist and therefore supple. They secrete all the time, not just in response to heat or exercise as elsewhere in the body, therefore anybody can get sweaty, smelly feet. You are more likely to sweat a lot if you are on your feet all day, if you are stressed, pregnant, adolescent, or if you have an infection such as Athletes Foot.
Signs and symptoms
The most obvious symptom of hyperhidrosis is feet that sweat excessively. People with sweaty feet may find their feet slip around inside their shoes, which can also make it difficult to wear thongs. Constant slipping in shoes can also result in regular blister formation. Other signs and symptoms include:
- Redness or painful areas of the soles
- White, wrinkled skin (a sign of excessive moisture and possible fungal infection)
- Changes in skin texture, such as pitting (small craters)
- Itchy or scaly skin (may be signs of Athletes Foot)
Treating sweaty feet
- Hygiene. Good foot hygiene is essential. Wash your feet daily with an antibacterial soap; be sure to wash between the toes. Dry your feet thoroughly, particularly between your toes. Applying cornstarch, foot powder, or an antifungal powder to your feet may also be helpful.
- Special socks. Wear wicking socks can help as they draw the moisture away from your feet instead of trapping it. Synthetic blends are designed to wick moisture away from the skin and work best to keep the feet dry. One hundred percent cotton socks absorb moisture but do not wick it away from the skin and frequently lead to blisters, so they should be avoided. You should also change your socks at least once daily. Keep a spare pair of socks available at school or at work, and change socks mid-way through the day.
- Mesh upper shoes. Wear shoe’s that have a breathable mesh upper. Shoe driers can also help your shoes to dry thoroughly and quickly so they are ready to wear again, smell better, and last longer. Odor and sweat absorbing innersoles can also be helpful.
- Doeodorant. You might also like to try an antiperspirant deodorant on your feet to slow down the production of sweat. If the cause of the smell is a fungal infection (Athletes Foot), an antifungal cream will help.
If your signs and symptoms do not improve with these simple treatments, then it is recommended you see a podiatrist.