Perspiration, or sweat, is your body’s way of regulating your temperature. Sweat is mostly water, and as it evaporates from the surface of your skin, it helps cool your blood and your entire body when you’re hot.
The average person produces about one quart of sweat in a day, and about 25% of that comes from feet alone. Sweating is an important process, but sweating too little or too much can impact your health in a number of ways.
Feet have more sweat glands than any other part of your body. Having sweaty feet can be uncomfortable, smelly, and embarrassing — but is excessive sweating a sign of something more serious?
Sean Rosenblum, DPM, and our team at Foot and Ankle Care of Passaic specialize in foot care for all ages. We regularly work with people suffering from sweaty feet, and we’re here to help you understand why it’s happening and what you can do about it.
Why your feet sweat
Together, your feet have about 250,000 sweat glands. Feet have more sweat glands per square inch than any other area of your body, so it’s no surprise that everyone experiences sweaty feet from time to time.
It’s normal for feet to sweat more when it’s hot or you’re participating in a strenuous activity that elevates your body temperature. However, some people experience extremely sweaty feet regardless of the time of year or their activity level.
About 5% of people consistently sweat too much, and they may have a condition called hyperhidrosis. Hyperhidrosis of the feet occurs when your feet sweat too much, leaving you with wet socks, smelly feet, and an increased risk of foot complications.
What sweaty feet could mean for your health
Having hyperhidrosis or excessively sweaty feet could affect your foot health. When your feet sweat, your skin gets wet. Wearing socks and shoes traps this moisture against your skin, creating a welcoming environment for bacterial growth.
Bacteria naturally collect on your skin, socks, and shoes. If you have sweaty feet, this bacteria is more likely to multiply, release a smelly odor, and cause issues like foot and nail fungus.
Bromodosis is the medical term for smelly feet. It’s a common side effect of excessive sweating, and it affects up to 15% of people. Bromodosis doesn’t usually pose a health risk, but it can be embarrassing.
Foot and nail funguses are a common problem for people with sweaty feet, because fungal organisms thrive in warm, damp environments. Signs of foot fungus can include dry, raw, and itchy skin, while nail fungus often causes flaky, discolored nails. One of the most common types of foot fungus is athlete’s foot.
Smelly feet may also be a side effect of diabetes. Having excessively sweaty or smelly feet doesn’t automatically mean that you have diabetes, but people with diabetes are at risk of significant foot complications. For example, a wound may develop on your foot and begin to smell, but you may not feel it due to nerve damage from diabetes.
When you have questions about your foot health, we’re here to help. Dr. Rosenblum and our team offer comprehensive care for foot problems, including fungal treatments and diabetic foot care.
Schedule your first appointment at Foot and Ankle Care of Passaic today. Call our Lodi, New Jersey, office at 973-218-5720 or book online now.