Plantar hyperhidrosis is the medical term used to describe a condition characterized by excessive sweating of the feet. This condition affects approximately 1-3% of the population. Today, we will be answering some the most frequently asked questions about plantar hyperhidrosis.
In most cases, the cause of sweaty feet is idiopathic, meaning the cause is unknown. Onset is usually in childhood suggesting a hereditary component to this physiological disorder. Emotional and physical distress as well as heat can initiate sweating and/or make it worse. Sweaty feet can also be secondary to a chronic systemic illness or it can simply be a side effect of a drug.
More often than not, plantar hyperhidrosis can be controlled by conservative measures including topical antiperspirants, foot powders, deodorants, proper footwear, moisture-wicking socks, and absorbent insoles. In severe cases, treatments include but are not limited to prescription oral medications, Botox injections, and iontophoresis.
Plantar hyperhidrosis will likely require ongoing treatment and management.
The general trend is sweaty feet actually improve with age. This is because as we age, our sweat glands become less active and less responsive to stimuli.
According to the Canadian Federation of Podiatric Medicine, your feet contain approximately 250 000 sweat glands and the average person will perspire about a cup of moisture throughout the day.
Wearing socks with closed toe shoes help to reduce sweating in feet. When you don’t wear socks with closed toe shoes, the increased friction between your feet and the interior of the shoe in combination with poor air circulation tends to induce sweating.
The type of sock is also important. Choose socks made out of cotton, wool, or merino wool and avoid synthetic materials such as nylon and polyester.
In general, look for socks that have a “moisture-wicking” property. Finally, socks that contain silver, copper, or bamboo will control odors and growth of micro-organisms.
Sweaty feet can cause foul odors, increase risk of fungal and bacterial infections, and dramatically affect your quality of life.
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