Wolf Starchild Asks About Sweaty Feet in Shoes:
I have gone barefoot nearly my entire life. When I wear shoes, sandals or boots, my feet get so hot, sweaty and then start to swell until I am barefoot again. Often even sandals will make them sweat and swell. Other than get a doctors note to go barefoot, what else can I do?
Dr. Nirenberg replies:
I love that you have gone barefoot nearly your entire life! That is great, and generally, going barefoot is very healthy for our feet. Unfortunately, at some point, we are forced to wear shoes and for the sweat glands on our feet this is a problem.
Our feet are not meant to be confined to shoes–the more you are barefoot, typically the better.
When a foot is entombed in dark, secure shoe, the sweat of our feet has nowhere to go—it can’t evaporate. Often, bacteria can fester, leading to foot odor and infections. (Sweat in itself does not have a odor but the bacteria cause the odor).
In areas of the world where people do not wear shoes, sweaty feet and for that matter, foot odor, is rarely a problem.
Our feet our loaded with sweat glands. In fact, our feet have a higher concentration of sweat glands than any other part of our body. Some people’s feet can secrete up to half a pint of perspiration a day! The medical term for over-active sweat glands is hyperhidrosis.
Excessively sweaty feet (hyperhidrosis) can cause athlete’s foot, blisters, foot odor, infections, and can be just plain irritating.
What Causes Our Feet to Sweat Too Much?
Excessively sweaty feet may be due to hormonal imbalance, thyroid problems, or your genetics. Hot weather can worsen sweaty, wet feet, though I have seen the problem occur in the winter too.
As mentioned above, shoes are a big part of the problem. Make sure your shoes are breathable as possible. In general, avoid shoes with synthetic materials such as vinyl, plastic or nylon. Wear leather shoes if possible.
How Can I Treat My Sweaty Feet?
1.Sprinkle a good foot powder, one with zinc, in your socks.
2.Use a good spray anti-perspirant on your feet, such as Gold Bond Foot Spray
3. Wash your feet daily. This doesn’t mean standing in the shower and letting the water hit your tootsies! Use antibacterial hand soap and wash your entire foot, including between the toes. Then dry your foot completely (and dry between the toes).
4. Wear good socks that wick moisture away from your feet, and change the socks twice a day.
5. Whenever possible, do not wear shoes or socks—go barefoot and let the air at your feet.
6. Wear different shoes each day–let the shoes air out, preferably in sunlight, and spray the inside of your shoes each day with Lysol. Lysol does not kill all germs, but it does kill many of them.
What Can a Podiatrist Do For Excessively Sweaty Feet?
If your sweaty feet persists, a podiatrist can prescribe topical medications to lessen the sweating.
If you have severe hyperhidrosis, some podiatrists will inject botox into your foot. Yes, you heard right! Botox can help your feet, though I doubt this is something our new, upcoming government run healthcare will pay for (or your current insurance). Botox does stop feet from sweating and it will last several months.
I hope this helps. Let me know how your feet do.