Do your feet sweat a lot? We don’t just mean when they’re trapped in sneakers on a hot Florida day, but all the time?
It’s natural for your feet to expel a little moisture if you’re active or in the heat, but those whose feet sweat regularly and randomly may have a condition called hyperhidrosis.
Let’s look at what exactly this condition is to help diagnose and treat your overly sweaty feet:
What is Hyperhidrosis?
Hyperhidrosis is a condition characterized by excessive, abnormal sweating. It commonly affects underarms or hands, but feet are equally common targets. Those diagnosed usually have at least one episode a week, during waking hours, where their feet become drenched with sweat.
According to WedMD, roughly 2-3% of Americans suffer from hyperhidrosis, and when left untreated, the condition can last a lifetime.
What Causes Overly Sweaty Feet?
For those with hyperhidrosis, there doesn’t have to be a real cause of the sweating. Whereas those without the condition may sweat with activity or anxiety, those with this disorder can experience excessive sweating despite the temperature or their level of stress.
Sufferers typically have overly active sweat glands. Neurologic, endocrine, infectious and other systemic diseases can sometimes cause hyperhidrosis as well. In some cases, you can develop secondary hyperhidrosis from other conditions such as thyroid problems, certain cancers, diabetes and more.
There’s no real “cause” for why certain individual’s sympathetic nervous system overreacts in this way, although the condition does appear to be hereditary. In this way, there’s nothing you can do to prevent the condition from forming, however, there are absolutely ways to manage it.
You may have hyperhidrosis if you experience:
- Feet that sweat abnormally, even if climate, anxiety, or other influences like pregnancy are not a factor
- Excess sweat inside of shoes, causing your feet to slip around uncomfortably even if you have the right shoe size
- Intense foot odor in association with abundant perspiration
- Overly sweaty palms or underarms in addition to feet, equally affected on both sides
- Frequent foot infections, from the moisture in your shoes breeding bacteria
Treating Excessively Sweaty Feet
The most common ways to treat overly sweaty feet include:
- Over-the-counter or prescription medication. Certain medications like anticholinergics block the neurotransmitters that arouse the nervous system and cause excessive sweating. OTC or prescription meds are often quite effective for those with mild cases of hyperhidrosis.
- Clinical strength antiperspirants. Antiperspirants which contain a low dose of aluminum or aluminum chloride can help stop unwanted perspiration. Paired with drying agents like foot powders, a combination of oral medications and strong antiperspirants is often highly effective.
- Iontophoresis. For those who’ve tried special medications and antiperspirants but still experience abundant sweating, iontophoresis is another option. It’s a device that sends a small electrical current through water— and those who take a 15-40 minute foot soak three times a week can see incredible results. One study found that this treatment helped 91% of patients with excessive foot sweating, according to the International Hyperhidrosis Society.
- Surgery. This may be a last resort for those suffering from extreme over-sweating. Endoscopic thoracic sympathectomy involves the process of severing the nerves that are overacting from the spinal column, but because the effects are irreversible, this option is chosen with great care.
Get Your Diagnosis
Do you suspect you have hyperhidrosis? A trained podiatrist can provide you with answers and solutions for managing your sweaty feet to avoid uncomfortable situations.
Visit our contact page to make a quick appointment or give us a call today at 239.936.5400.
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