While there’s no particular relationship between diabetes and sweaty feet, having feet that sweat too much is a genuine concern for people with diabetes. People with diabetes and diabetic neuropathy are at greater risk of developing foot problems that often lead to severe complications such as foot ulcers, gangrene, and even amputations.
When your feet are sweaty and wet, they’re prone to fungal infections, blisters, warts, skin rashes, and wounds that don’t heal properly.
An essential rule of diabetic good care is always to keep your feet dry. But how to keep your diabetic feet dry when you have excessively sweaty feet?
With more than 250,000 sweat glands, our feet are prime to sweat. But his feet sweating made worse by diabetes? Diabetes may cause excessive body sweating (hyperhidrosis), but there’s no reason for it to affect our feet.
People diagnosed with diabetic peripheral neuropathy may experience the opposite anhidrosis (reduced or absent sweating) in the feet or legs. Nevertheless, excessive foot sweating isn’t good for people with diabetes who are recommended to keep their feet dry to prevent diabetes-related foot problems and aggravations.
Diabetes is an autoimmune endocrine disease that can interfere with our body’s thermoregulation system. High or low blood sugar levels can cause hyperhidrosis (excessive sweating).
More than 80% of people with diabetes sweat when they get hypoglycemia (low blood sugar). The sudden sweating usually goes away shortly after the blood sugar level returns to normal.
Even though less common, sweating issues may sometimes be linked to diabetic neuropathy. Diabetic neuropathy damages the nerves in the body’s extremities. When the nerves that control the sweat glands are damaged, sweat production can be disrupted, leading to too much or too little sweating.
This may happen in the body, hands, or feet.
Anhidrosis is the inability to sweat sufficiently. Research has found a relation between anhidrosis in the feet and diabetic neuropathy. When high blood sugar levels damage the nerves that control the sweat glands in the feet during uncontrolled diabetes, the feet’ ability to sweat can be disrupted. It can lead to anhidrosis and dry feet in people with diabetes.
Abnormal or excessive sweating can be a sign of diabetes. More accurately, it can be a sign of hypoglycemia in people with diabetes. However, when excessive sweating is chronic and localized in the feet only, there’s no evidence that it is a sign of diabetes.
Foot health is crucial for people with diabetes; wet feet quickly get wounded and infected. If you’re concerned about your sweaty feet, you should ask for your doctor’s advice or mention it during your annual diabetic foot exam.
While sweaty feet aren’t a sign of diabetes, wet, sweaty feet are a problem for people with diabetes.
It can lead to damaged skin, fungus infections, and other foot problems that can have severe consequences, especially for those diagnosed with diabetic neuropathy. People with diabetes are at higher risk of developing severe foot problems and must observe a flawless foot care routine that includes keeping their feet in a dry and healthy environment.
Wet and sweaty feet are prone to bacterial and fungus infections and discomforts, warts, rashes, and itchiness. Wet skin also gets easily wounded and blistered.
When not properly addressed, these problems can lead to further complications such as foot pain, open sores, or infections that do not heal properly. While these foot problems may not seem dangerous at first sight, they’re at the origin of most foot ulcers, gangrenes, and foot amputations in people with diabetes.
That’s why people with diabetes must keep their fragile feet dry and wick the moisture away as much as possible.
Keeping your feet dry is one of the essential rules of good diabetic foot care. It helps prevent bacterial and fungus infections, blisters, warts, damaged skin, itchiness, and many other foot conditions.
Don’t get confused, though: keeping your feet dry does not mean drying out your skin. Your feet must stay dry, but the skin of your feet must be moisturized to prevent it from cracking and getting infected.
Fortunately, with these few tips and good foot hygiene, you should be able to keep your sweaty feet dry and avoid more serious diabetic foot problems.
The first step to keeping sweaty feet dry and healthy is to wear the right socks. Stay away from cotton and synthetic fabrics. Even though they’re ubiquitous, these kinds of yarn don’t perform well with moisture management.
You’ll also want your socks to have anti-bacterial, anti-fungus, and anti-odor properties to help prevent fungus infections. Last, choose breathable socks with ventilation channels, meshes, or holes so they let the air in and out. Of course, I prefer diabetic socks to regular socks. They do offer extra protection and comfort to your fragile feet.
I prefer socks made from bamboo, nano, Coolmax, or thin wool fibers in the summer. These sock fabrics naturally wick moisture away from your feet.
In the winter, you’ll want to keep your feet warm, even more so if you have diabetes. I prefer thermal diabetic socks made with warm but moisture-wicking yarns such as Merino wool, Alpaca wool, or thick bamboo fibers.
Even the moist moisture-wicking socks might not stay dry for a whole day if your feet sweat a lot.
Always have a pair of clean, dry socks in your bag, and change socks whenever the ones you wear are wet.
Shoes matter too for diabetes sweaty feet. First, people with diabetes with foot problems are recommended to wear diabetic shoes that bring extra protection and comfort to their delicate feet. If you have diabetes and sweaty feet, you should consider orthopedic shoes made with breathable fabrics and moisture-wicking interior linings. Avoid synthetic materials that do not allow good airflow and trap the sweat inside the shoe.
If your shoes are wet from sweat in the evening, ensure they dry at night for the next day. Consider using a shoe dryer.
You can also find relief with absorbent and deodorizing insoles for diabetes and neuropathy.
Sweaty feet are not caused by lousy foot hygiene but require a lot of attention.
To avoid foot odors, bacteria, and fungus infections, you should wash sweaty feet at least once, if not twice, daily. Not only does it rinse the sweat away, but it helps cool down the skin and reduce sweating afterward. You might want to try using antifungal soap. Be sure to dry your feet properly, especially in between your toes.
Related: The Best Foot Soaks for Neuropathy
Some foot care products have been specially formulated for sweaty feet. Antiperspirant creams or powders with antifungal properties may work for you.
However, if you have diabetes and even more so if you have peripheral neuropathy, ask for your doctor’s advice before applying anything on your feet. Some products might be too aggressive and do more harm than good.
As a person with diabetes, you must be very concerned about your feet’ health. Slight problems such as blisters or infections can become a nightmare that can go as far as a toe or foot amputation when not taken care of.
People with diabetes and neuropathy are entitled to an annual diabetic foot exam. During that exam, ask for your doctor’s or podiatrist’s advice about your sweaty foot problem.
Some cases may require medical attention, medications, or iontophoresis therapy.