Most of us have suffered from sweaty and smelly feet from time to time, but for some people this is a persistent problem that makes them feel embarrassed and uncomfortable.

The problem of sweaty feet is also known as hyperhidrosis, or excessive sweating, which is about how the sweat glands in the feet work. The feet have 250 thousand sweat glands and tend to sweat more than other parts of the body. With daily care and hygiene of the feet, fewer and fewer people will suffer from discomfort that can be caused by sweaty feet.

Why do the feet sweat more than other parts of the body?

There are more sweat glands per inch in our feet than anywhere else in the body and their function is to keep the skin moisturized, so that it remains flexible. These glands constantly secrete sweat and not just as a result of high temperature or activity.

What are the causes of hyperhidrosis of the feet?

Foot hyperhidrosis may be caused by stress on the feet. This can occur when the feet are under strain or tired (e.g. when standing on your feet all day long).

Hot weather can make things worse, although sweaty feet are a problem both in the summer and winter. This condition may also be inherited.

In adolescents, hyperhidrosis is possibly caused by over-active sweat glands due to alternations in hormonal levels in the body. Sweat glands in the feet and palms are affected by emotion, which is why psychological or emotional stress is a frequent cause of hyperhidrosis.

How important are shoes in excessive sweating?

The correct choice of shoes and socks is essential. The best option for shoes is footwear that fits well to the feet and is made of leather, a material which allows the foot to breathe.

Sweat is absorbed by the shoe material and therefore a different pair of shoes needs to be worn every day, in order for the other pair to dry and air out before you use it again.

Wool or cotton socks help to absorb the feet’s moisture. You need to change your socks at least daily or more often if you have a serious problem with hyperhidrosis.

How can I avoid bad odour of the feet?

Another problem with sweaty feet is bad odour that can be caused by bacteria on the skin, which break down the sweat and release an unpleasant odour. This can be avoided by following some correct and careful foot hygiene rules, such as:

  1. Wash your feet daily with an antibacterial soap
  2. Change your socks at least once or more per day
  3. Use an antifungal spray for your feet and shoes to prevent fungal infections
  4. Dry your feet thoroughly after a shower and if there aren’t any sores on the skin, use surgical spirit to eliminate excess moisture

Cyprus Association of Registered Podiatrists - Blog, Sweaty Feet

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