Hyperhydrosis (foot perspiration) is a condition in
which the sweat glands found on the bottom of the foot are over productive resulting in excessive
perspiration. Excessive perspiration of the foot is most common in adolescents and young
adults. Hyperhydrosis is also more common in men than women.
Sweat gland disorders, including hyperhydrosis are collectively
called dyshydrosis. The effect of dyshydrosis is that it creates an unusual
environment that the skin was not designed to manage. Several unique skin
conditions occur as a result of dyshydrosis. These conditions include
infections of the skin,
infections of the nail and bacterial infections of the skin.
Hyperhydrosis can also be a contributing factor in
What causes hyperhydrosis? Each of us has a set point for our metabolism. This set
point can be compared to the thermostat in our homes. Some folks have a
higher set point than others. For some, hyperhydrosis may be due to
psychosomatic factors such as stress or anxiety. For others, medical
conditions including hyperthyroidism and hypoadrenalism may be the primary
contributing factors. But in the majority of cases of hyperhydrosis, the
primary contributing factor is simply due to the fact that the set point for
that individual is just set a bit too high.
Bromhydrosis is the term used to described foot odor.
Bromhydrosis is always found secondary to hyperhydrosis. The distinctive odor
of smelly tennis shoes is actually caused by bacteria that help to decompose the
perspiration and dead skin cells on the foot and those that are left in the
We've already mentioned
hyperhydrosis, but we should also discuss anhydrosis, or lack of perspiration.
A common example of anhydrosis is seen in diabetic patients. With the
onset of change in the neurological system of diabetics, the autonomic nervous
system becomes dysfunctional. The autonomic nervous system is that system
that controls the 'behind the curtain' activity in our bodies such as salivation
and bowel motility. A common complication with diabetic patients is the
loss of perspiration (anhydrosis). Anhydrosis is just one reason why
diabetic foot care is so important.
Some health care providers from the alternative side of
the healthcare fence will be reluctant to use medications that act to inhibit perspiration. Their
philosophy is that perspiration is a natural way that the body is ridding itself
of toxic material. Their fear is that by inhibiting perspiration you tend to
accumulation of free radicals and other metabolic waste. Hence, the
popularity of foot pads used to remove toxins from your body.
Treatment of hyperhydrosis and bromhydrosis
Remember, when treating
hyperhydrosis, bromhydrosis and fungal conditions of the foot, these conditions will not be cured, but rather need to be
managed over a patient's life. Some
of the methods used to treat hyperhydrosis are really quite simple. Create
and environment in the shoe that is cool, dry and accessible to UV light.
Try these four simple tricks;
1. Rotate your shoes every other day
to allow them to dry thoroughly.
2. Avoid synthetic materials like rubber or vinyl, wear leather or cloth that
can absorb moisture.
3. Frequent changes of socks to wick away moisture.
4. Use a drying
agent to decrease perspiration.
5. Treat your shoes with an
antibacterial/antifungal spray on a weekly basis.
6. Use an
antibacterial/antifungal soap on a daily basis.
Severe cases of hyperhydrosis can
also be treated with Botox injections or surgery. Recently, injections of Botox,
or attenuated botulism, has been used very successfully by dermatologists for
Botox is used to paralyze the smooth muscle that regulates the sweat
gland. And in severe cases, endoscopic excision of the dorsal root ganglion is a method used by
neurosurgeons to create surgical anhydrosis by surgically removing that
component of the nervous system responsible for autonomic functions.