With the weather we have been having it is likely that the only way that your feet would have become damp is if you had sprung a leak in your Wellies, but thankfully the weather has taken a turn for the better and temperatures have started to rise.

One of the challenges that the summer can bring is how to deal with feet that are getting increasingly sweaty. If your feet get too damp it is not only uncomfortable but it can lead to a build-up of fungus and bacteria that can cause skin and nail problems such as Athlete’s foot and Onychomycosis (fungal infection of the nails).

Look out for the first signs of a problem

Issues such as itchiness, redness or maceration on the skin (damp, soft, white areas) can be an early sign that the conditions on your feet are just a bit too welcoming for fungus and bacteria. They love dark, warm and wet environments, and if they love it, they will multiply potentially leading to various skin and nail problems. The answer, therefore is to catch an issue early and change the environment to one that they do not like. Usually this will mean dry and cooler conditions. Most of us have been nagged about drying between our toes, for example, and this is great advice as the act wipes away fungus and also creates a drier environment in an area renowned for the start of Athlete’s foot.

Surgical Spirit

As mentioned above, often Athlete’s foot starts between the toes where it can get particularly warm and moist with early signs being the maceration of the skin. Dabbing on some surgical spirit between the toes with cotton wool can really help because it is not only slightly anti-fungal but it is an astringent so will dry out damp skin.

Get the air to your feet

While the ideal may be to spend most of your time in sandals or barefoot, work and recreational commitments may make this impossible. If you have to wear socks and or shoes try to avoid non-breathable materials. Man-made fibers such as plastics or polyester are very likely to encourage your feet to sweat and should be replaced with wool and cotton for socks and leather for shoes which will allow the air in and the heat out. Shoes and socks should be regularly changed  in order to keep them free of too many microbes.

Use antiperspirant

Most people tend to limit the use of antiperspirants to under the arms but if you suffer with sweaty feet antiperspirants can be equally affective here too. They work in exactly the same way by temporarily blocking the sweat ducts which are present in huge numbers in the feet.

Feet washing

At the end of a busy day, or in the middle of it if you can, give yourself a nice cool foot bath. As well as cooling you down this will also help to remove any build-up of fungus or bacteria that is enjoying and multiplying on your feet because of the heat and the damp.

I hope that this blog has given you some helpful hints but if you are still struggling despite following advice on how to manage sweaty feet it might be appropriate to contact your GP for more detailed help and in order to explore management options.

Lloyd Clark-Morris,
Senior Podiatrist/Director