Human palms and soles contain large numbers of sweat glands. Sweat production increases with certain hormonal changes, such as during adolescence and menopause. Emotional disturbances such as anxiety can increase sweating. It is not unusual that people suffer from excessively sweaty or smelly feet. Both of these problems can cause a great deal of embarrassment and distress to the sufferer and their housemates! However, there are several ways these problems can be minimised.
How much is too much!
Some people have higher rates of sweating than others. This tends to run in families. It may occur constantly, or it may be worse in summer. If the increased sweating is not confined to the feet, it is advisable to seek medical advice to have this investigated.
What causes the smell?
Sweat on its own does not have a strong odour. It is a combination of the sweat and bacteria or fungi that make the smell noticeable. The dead skin and the number and types of microbes are worsened by the high moisture levels.
What should I do about these problems?
Treatments fall into two main categories.
1.Reduce the moisture by:
a.Reducing sweating (Discuss with our Podiatrist)
b.Helping the sweat to evaporate (Discuss with our Podiatrist)
2.Reduce the microbes (bacteria and fungi) A surgical option is available but is rarely recommended.
How can I reduce the moisture?
Your options are best discussed with our Podiatrist as not all treatments are suitable for all people.
How do I reduce the microbes?
-Regular washing with antimicrobial or antiseptic soap.
-Dry feet very thoroughly. Using a hairdryer is proven to give a reduced microbial count however you need to discuss this with your Podiatrist first. Anyone with diabetes, poor circulation, or loss of feeling in their feet should not use a hairdryer.
-Antibacterial washes and skin treatments may be recommended if the odour problem persists after the above measures have been trialled. This is best discussed with your Podiatrist.
-There are some anti-microbial insoles available, the best option for you will be determined by the cause of your condition and can be discussed with our Podiatrist.