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Sweaty feet

Woman holding up trainers that are smelly while holding her nose

In the summer months, it’s natural to sweat more all over your body. Whereas sweat can naturally and odourlessly evaporate from your skin when exposed to the air, it’s not as easy for your feet if they’re encased in trainers or shoes.

Some people suffer from the condition hyperhidrosis. This is when the feet sweat excessively, and it affects men more than women, and younger men at that. 3% of the population has the condition, and it’s common for sufferers to also endure sweaty palms.

A build up of sweat can turn smelly, which can make those who suffer from sweaty feet conscious of the problem when they’re out and about in public. Odour occurs when sweat mixes with naturally-occurring bacteria that lives on our skin. Bacteria breaks down protein molecules within sweat and it’s this process that results in an odious odour.

So, what can be done about sweaty feet?

Those with hyperhidrosis may have to exercise the following tips more often than most, given how often their feet sweat and smells occur. Good hygiene should be followed by everyone, however, to prevent bacteria multiplying and other conditions developing, such as athletes’ foot, etc.

Wash your feet well

Washing your feet will eliminate smelly feet syndrome

As we spoke about in this article, many people don’t actually make a point of washing their feet when in the bath or shower, believing that simply standing/laying in soapy water is enough to keep them clean. As podiatrists, we see so many issues and conditions of the feet that could be prevented or contained if the individual exercised better and more consistent hygiene practices.

Apply antibacterial soap to your feet and use a sponge to work it over the skin. Make sure you wash in-between your toes and rinse well, and also consider running a pumice stone over your heels to get rid of dead skin cells.

Apply talc or similar

White talcum powder to be applied to smelly feet as a treatment

Talc is great at absorbing moisture, and it’s therefore a good idea to sprinkle some on your feet if they’re going to be encased in socks, and trainers or shoes, which may limit the amount of air reaching the skin.

There are also antifungal foot powders and deodorants you can buy that bring about the same result, i.e.

absorbing moisture. Apply these whenever your feet feel moist. You can also buy insoles for your shoes that contain charcoal or similar compounds, which are designed to stifle smells.

Change your socks

It may seem like common sense, if you’re someone who has smelly feet, to change your socks regularly—even up to two or three times a day if they feel particularly wet. However, some people can’t smell their own feet and may be oblivious to the odour they’re giving off.

It may also be an idea to switch to socks made of alternative materials. Cotton socks aren’t as effective as bamboo at drawing moisture away from the skin, for example.

Botox isn’t just an anti-ageing treatment

Botox Needle ready for injection into sweet glands in your feet

Sweat is released from sweat glands all over our bodies. If excessive sweating becomes unmanageable, a doctor may recommend Botox injections in the sweat glands of the feet. These can block signals from the brain to the sweat glands and prevent them from releasing moisture (such injections can be applied to a person’s underarms for the same result).

Choose shoes wisely

No one is suggesting you wear sandals all the time, particularly if you play sports and your feet need support; however, you can find shoes and trainers whose material allow the feet to breathe and air to circulate.

Also ensure your socks and shoes aren’t too tight. Not only will this restrict the amount of air around your feet, too-small socks and shoes will cause your feet to sweat even further, through friction.

Drink more water

This may sound counterproductive…if you’re producing more moisture than you’d like within the confines of your socks and shoes, why would you take in even more fluid?!

Good hydration doesn’t mean you’ll expel more moisture through your skin, it actually helps to regulate your body’s temperature and can reduce how much you sweat.

Sweaty feet may not seem much of an issue to those who don’t suffer from hyperhidrosis, but it can cause misery for those that do. If you’d like help with this condition or any other affecting your feet, contact us on 01226 492412 (for our Wombwell clinic) or 0113 238 0330 (Morley clinic).


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