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Sweaty or Smelly Feet

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Sweaty or Smelly Feet

Hyperhidrosis is a condition where the sweat glands of the feet and hands are overactive, resulting in excessive sweating. Many thigs, including stress, changes in the weather, illness, and medications, can trigger an episode of excessive sweating. Most often, we don't know what the trigger is.

Excessive moisture on the skin can lead to such problems as foot odor, athlete's foot, blisters, and warts. The bad odor we associate with sweaty feet is usually caused by bacteria or fungi that thrive in the warm, moist confines of shoes. And while moisture does not itself cause blisters or warts, it can weaken the skin  making it more susceptible to blisters and warts.
Unfortunately, there is no cure for hyperhidrosis. Most treatments are aimed at keeping the feet dry. First and foremost, it is important that sufferers wear shoes made from "breathable" materials (materials that allow air to move into and out of the shoe). For casual or dress shoes, leather uppers tend to be more breathable than synthetic leather. Nylon mesh uppers are ideal, especially for sporting activities. 

Socks are important for preventing and treating hyperhidrosis because they can either trap moisture next to the skin or help to evaporate. Contrary to popular belief, cotton is not the ideal fabric for socks, because when cotton gets wet it stays wet. Though soft and absorbent, cotton is not as effective  as newer fabrics at protecting the skin of the feet.


Nylon and other synthetic materials can wick, or pull, moisture away from the skin and help it to evaporate. All shoe stores and sporting good stores carry socks that wick moisture from the skin. But wicking socks have their limitations, so even these socks should be changed two or more times a day if the feet are particularly sweaty,
topical skin treatments can also help control excessive moisture. Powders are very effective at keeping the feet cool and dry. Most powders are made from talc or cornstarch, or combination of the two. For those with sensitive skin, corn starch-based powders may be less irritating.


Foot powders that include antifugal ingredients are especially useful for those with sthlete's foot. It is best to apply the powder directly to the feet instead of sprinkling it into socks or shoes. 



Some roll-on and powder products contain the antiperspirant aluminum chloride and can decrease sweating when applied daily. They also work well in combination with other treatments described in these chapters. Aluminum chloride products are available without prescription at many stores and pharmacies.

Soaking the feet in a solution of one part aluminum acetate diluted in twenty parts of water (called Burrow's solution), followed by an application of an exfoliating lotion, can help in some cases. The addition of foot soaking to a regimen of daily use of powders can work well for stubborn cases of foot odor and sweating feet.
Powdering the skin directly is more effective than putting powder in the shoes and socks. A simple way to powder the feet is to cover the bottom of a small pan  or shoe box with powder and dip the feet in before putting socks and shoes on.


Reference:Great Feet For Life: Paul Langer, DPM 

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