Having sweaty feet isn’t something that people often want to talk about, but it’s something that everyone can suffer from. There are in fact sweat glands all over the body, however areas such as the feet, palms and armpits are the ones most likely to sweat excessively, since they have a high concentration of sweat glands. If not treated, unwanted side-effects such as athlete’s foot and other skin conditions can occur.
What Are the Symptoms & Causes of Sweaty Feet?
Sweat production starts when the brain sends signals along your nerves towards the sweat glands in the skin in order to control the body’s temperature, or in response to emotional triggers such as fear and excitement. Some people may notice that they sweat beyond what is necessary for the body, which is known as “hyperhidrosis.” Other symptoms of sweaty feet are excessive smell, whitened appearance, and also a difficulty in gripping your shoes. The odour is caused by bacteria that emerge in humid and warm conditions in the shoe. There are no guidelines for what “normal” sweating is, but if it is interfering with your daily life, and if you feel self-conscious, this may be classed as excessive. Whilst we know that this is triggered by an involuntary part of the nervous system, the exact cause of excess sweating is still unknown.
3 Tricks to Avoid Foot Odour
There are more sweat glands in the feet than anywhere else, which is why you are more likely to notice foot perspiration if you’re on your feet all day, and the sweat collecting in your shoes becomes a perfect habitat for bacteria. There are a few tips you can work towards preventing foot odour:
1. Foot Care
Try not to put socks or shoes straight on wet feet after showering, and don’t forget that an antiperspirant can block sweat anywhere, so don’t be afraid to spray some on your feet before putting on socks. It’s always important to establish a foot care routine, but if you suffer from foot odour, a daily foot-care routine becomes even more essential. Get in the habit of washing your feet daily, and using an anti-bacterial soap. Home remedies can also have a slight benefit; lavender oil, for example, smells wonderful and can help kill bacteria. Rubbing a few drops onto your feet before bed can work wonders overnight, and your feet will thank you in the morning.
2. Proper Footwear
In severe cases, changing your socks two or three times a day and replacing them with a clean pair each time can potentially help. Consider wearing sports socks that are designed to absorb moisture. Alternate between two pairs of shoes, and store them somewhere well ventilated where they can get plenty of light. Bacteria thrive in warm, dark wardrobes and cupboards, so allowing your shoes to air out, and making sure that the insides are dry before you store them, can free them from bacteria and can help to reduce unwanted odours. Make sure that you’re wearing the right shoes for your feet, in terms of both fit and material. This applies to socks as well – go for synthetics rather than 100% cotton. Make sure you wash your shoes regularly, and wear them on rotation, allowing them to dry out between uses. Foot odour can sometimes be an indicator of other problems, such as fungal infection, so it’s a good idea to use anti-fungal sprays and powders as a precautionary measure.
3. Simple Remedies
Make use of medicated insoles that have a deodorizing effect to help combat foot odour. You could also try wearing antibacterial socks that can have a discouraging effect on bacteria. Changing your lifestyle and daily activities is unlikely to get rid of sweaty feet completely, but it can improve your symptoms and bring confidence back into your life. Many of the preventative methods can also work as treatments. Creams, disinfectant sprays, and shoes or socks made out of breathable materials are all good ways to treat and prevent foot odour.