Is there a cure for sweaty feet?
Mind Your Body, The Straits Times
Q. My son is 18 years old. Both his feet are often cold and damp, such that his socks are always wet, regardless of what the weather is like. It is worse when he does not put on socks.
His feet also give out a smell and he has become quite conscious about it.
He has had this condition for several years but it seems to be getting worse in this hot and humid weather. He is a healthy young man who is active in sports and has a good appetite.
What is the cause of such a condition? Is there a cure? If there is a need to consult a doctor, what kind of specialist should he see? Are there any products that he can use to reduce the odour?
A. Anyone can get sweaty feet, regardless of the temperature.
There are more sweat glands in our feet than anywhere else in the body.
Teenagers are especially prone to sweaty feet because hormonal changes make them sweat more.
One is also more likely to have increased foot perspiration if the weather is warm, if he engages in more physical activities, if he is nervous, or has a medical condition called hyperhidrosis.
In hyperhidrosis, the nerves responsible for triggering sweat glands become overactive and this leads to excessive sweating.
Given that sweating is the body's mechanism to cool itself, the increased sweating of your son's feet will cause his feet to feel cool to the touch.
People get smelly feet when the sweat cannot evaporate. Shoes and socks can prevent sweat from evaporating. The entrapped sweat creates a moist environment which encourages bacteria growth.
Sweat also softens keratin, a component of the outer layer of skin. This promotes bacterial breakdown of the keratin, yielding a foul smell.
Poor hygiene, such as infrequent washing of the feet or the failure to change your socks at least once a day, also encourages bacteria growth and cause smelly feet.
Fungal infections can also give rise to smelly feet. In general, the management of smelly feet is aimed at reducing moisture and bacteria on the skin's surface.