Millions of people suffer from sweaty feet
Nearly 8 million people in the U.S. suffer from hyperhidrosis – a condition that causes excessive perspiration. About 3 million of these people cope with the specific problem of sweaty feet, says Dr. James R. Christina, executive director of the American Podiatric Medical Association. “It can be idiopathic, meaning no known cause,” he says. “This is often referred to as primary hyperhidrosis. Secondary hyperhidrosis has many potential causes,” including diabetes, some types of cancer, an overactive thyroid gland, some prescription and over-the-counter medications and low blood sugar. People are most commonly afflicted between the ages of 14 to 65, he says.
Here are seven strategies for coping with sweaty feet:
1. Check your medications.
More than 200 prescription and over-the-counter medications could cause sweaty feet and excessive perspiration in other body parts, such as your palms, according to the International Hyperhidrosis Society. One such drug is abciximab, also known by its brand name, ReoPro. It’s used to prevent blood clots during a heart attack and can also be used during heart surgery, according to UC San Diego Health. About 1 percent of people who use this medication experience increased sweating as a side effect, says Dr. Erin Robles, a podiatrist who practices in the District of Columbia and suburban Maryland.
2. Choose your socks wisely.
Wear socks made of either natural fibers or synthetic materials that don’t trap moisture on your feet, Robles says. “Keep an extra pair of socks with you and change them during the day,” she suggests. “When moisture stays in the skin for long periods of time, your skin can become very wet and moist. It has the same effect as staying in the pool too long. This allows the skin to break down more easily, which can create wounds and blisters.”
3. Try antiperspirants on your feet.
You probably apply antiperspirant on a daily basis under your arms; try using it on your feet. The active ingredient in most antiperspirants is aluminum salts, which reduce the amount of sweat released by forming a temporary gel that covers the sweat gland. “You can use antiperspirants anywhere on the body,” says Dr. David Pariser, a dermatologist in Norfolk, Virginia, and founding president of the International Hyperhidrosis Society. Apply antiperspirant on top of your feet, the sides, the soles and the top of your toes. In addition to over-the-counter options, prescription-strength antiperspirants are available.
4. Let your feet breathe.
Pariser urges women to wear open-toed shoes as much as possible; there are a number of open-toed options that are appropriate for the workplace. On the other foot, wearing sandals may not be possible for most men in a typical workplace. However, men can still wear shoes that have ventilation. If you have sweaty feet, certain types of footwear may not be the best for you, he says: “Wearing boots may be fashionable, but they’re the most occlusive (closed) footwear possible.”
5. Wash your feet with antibacterial soap.
“Using antibacterial soap is very effective at helping to dry out the skin and kill bacteria on your feet,” Robles says. “Wash your feet daily with antibacterial soap. These soaps contain agents that strip the skin of hydrating oils, thus helping to dry out the skin. It also helps prevent any skin infections in the feet from small cuts or wounds.” Using antibacterial soap also decreases the chances of having malodorous feet, she says. “Antibacterial soap can help cut down the amount of bacteria living on the feet, which helps prevent the smell.”
6. Apply cornstarch.
“Cornstarch isn’t just for the kitchen,” Robles says. It’s commonly used as a thickener in place of flour and as something that can coat desserts such as pies or tarts before they’re baked. But cornstarch can also be a useful part of your foot-care regimen, she advises. After washing and drying your feet, apply cornstarch, Robles says. Many people with sweaty feet also have sweaty hands, and “cornstarch works similar to talcum powder and stops sweaty hands and feet instantly.”
Sprinkle talcum powder and antifungal powder on your feet.
These powders help keep your feet cool and absorb and mask odors, Robles says. Before applying them, wipe the skin of your feet dry with a towel, coffee filter or tissue paper. This prevents the powder from clumping.
Dr. Zinoviy Rabinovich D.P.M., Board Certified Physician and Surgeon of Foot and Ankle – a doctor who is on time, who looks at and listens to you and not the computer, who provides immediate relief and follows through to complete satisfaction. Experience, expertise, convenience of scheduling, evening hours, and a personal innovative approach for all your and your children’s foot care needs. Northbrook 847-297-9660, Crest Hill 815-838-9505 or book online at www.absolutefootandankleclinic.com.