Sweaty Feet and How to Treat Them
By Sam Nardi 2022 Mar 9th
Everyone suffers from sweaty feet once in a while. Whether you’re participating in some exercise, are stuck in some boots all day long, or simply just going about your day while it's hot out, sweaty feet are unavoidable. However, if sweaty feet are a constant occurrence, not dependent on any external factors such as footwear and temperature, then you may suffer from a condition called plantar hyperhidrosis, the scientific term for excessively sweaty feet. This week is National Feet Week, so we’ll be discussing the importance of dry feet in maintaining healthy feet! This medical condition is quite common, affecting approximately 1 in 20 people, and can be a considerable nuisance that can potentially lead to a range of related conditions affecting the feet. Sweaty feet are actually one of the leading causes of both athlete’s foot and ingrown toenails, as damp environments, such as sweaty feet in an enclosed shoe, favors the production of bacteria and fungi and the softening of the skin. While no cure exists for plantar hyperhidrosis, there are a range of products, treatments, and specialized socks and footwear to help manage the effects of the condition, i.e. excessive sweating. Dry feet are a key component of healthy feet, and maintaining proper foot health can be aided by utilizing targeted and specialized products
What is plantar hyperhidrosis?If you constantly sweat excessively from your feet then you likely suffer from the medical condition known as plantar hyperhidrosis. Sweaty feet can be embarrassing and bothersome, especially in social situations, and can even contribute to foot and nail infections such as athlete’s foot and ingrown toenails. If you sweat excessively from your feet, then you often stay clear of certain footwear, as you're constantly sweating through your socks and into your shoes. The fear of bad odor and leaving sweaty footprints behind may even lead you to avoid situations where you must remove your shoes. Sound familiar? Well, you may suffer from a condition called plantar hyperhidrosis. The most obvious symptom of hyperhidrosis is feet that sweat excessively. Some people sweat so much that their feet may slip around inside their shoes. It may also stop them from wearing certain types of shoes out of concerns for comfort and safety. Think of those clear plastic jelly shoes, or insulated closed-toe winter boots, both a nightmare for those with sweaty feet! Excessive sweating of the feet leads to the skin of the foot softening due to constant moisture. This can make the feet have a whitish appearance that can lead to foot and nail infections and conditions. Constant wetness breaks down the skin, which allows infection to set in. Moist environments also lead to the growth of fungi and bacteria. Foot odor is also common in those suffering from excessively sweaty feet. This can lead to embarrassment, stress, and social anxiety. Odor and sweat can lead someone not to want to take their shoes off and can prevent them from participating in certain activities or going over to people’s homes where taking off your shoes is common courtesy. It can be particularly stressful for adolescents as well.
Sweaty Feet and InfectionsSweaty feet are consistently ranked as one of the top risk factors for athlete’s foot and ingrown toenails, and excessive sweating is often the cause of recurring cases of the conditions. Athlete’s foot is the most common type of fungal skin infection. It is a contagious infection that is caused by fungi, which can be spread by direct or indirect contact with the infected skin. Once these fungi have contaminated the skin, they thrive in similar moist conditions, such as closed, damp shoes. Something those suffering from hyperhidrosis simply can’t avoid. Excessive sweat can soften the skin and decrease the defense against fungal infection, and can also weaken toenails, leading to ingrown toenails. Ingrown toenails are one of the most common diseases affecting the nail and surrounding areas that can result in infections and inflammation. As excessive sweating of the feet is one of the leading causes of the most common types of conditions affecting the feet, treating it can help also treat and prevent recurring cases of related conditions.
How to Treat Sweaty FeetThere is no cure for hyperhidrosis, so proper management through adequate treatment is key in improving quality of life. Here are our top tips to maintain dry and healthy feet:
- - Wear moisture-wicking socks and breathable shoes. Opt for socks made of natural fibers such as merino wool and bamboo, and look out for specially formulated and labeled moisture-wicking socks and breathable shoes.
- - Protect your feet by wearing sandals in shared public areas like sports facilities (gyms, saunas, etc.), locker rooms, and swimming pools. Don’t share towels, mats, shoes, or any other types of materials that hold in moisture, as these can easily spread the infection from one person to the other. This can prevent your feet coming into contact with athlete’s foot-causing fungi, which can especially thrive in those with hyperhidrosis of the feet.
- - Avoid tight-fitting, closed shoes. Leave some room for your feet to breathe! Walking around in closed-off shoes all day creates the perfect breeding ground for this type of bacteria. When possible, try wearing non-slip type shoes made of natural materials that allow your feet to breathe, but stay away from plastic and other materials that will become slippery when wet.
- - Use foot powder and removable insoles to help combat odor and dampness throughout the day. These can help prevent your shoes from becoming too worn and odorous. Be sure to maintain proper foot hygiene and let your shoes dry properly before putting them back on.
- - Try a treatment that will provide long-lasting results and not leave any residues like powders and antiperspirants. Dermadry’s iontophoresis machine can help you get dry for up to 6 weeks at a time.
How Dermadry Treats Sweaty FeetIontophoresis is a non-invasive, drug-free, and needle-free treatment option. It is ideal for those looking for long-lasting dryness that antiperspirant sticks and creams just cannot provide. Due to its effectiveness and its limited side effects, it is also recommended over more dangerous and/or invasive treatment options such as medications, injections, and surgery. Learn more about hyperhidrosis and iontophoresis treatment. Dermadry has a seal of approval from the American Podiatric Medical Association as well as the Canadian Podiatric Medical Association Shop Dermadry’s range of anti-sweat devices below to start your journey towards healthy and dry feet! Learn more about how Dermadry can help you get dry feet by subscribing to our newsletter below!
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