Do you suffer from wet and sweaty feet and also have diabetes?

There is a real possible connection between sweaty grubby-feeling feet and diabetes.

“In certain diabetic patients, because of the development of peripheral neuropathy, the sweat glands of the patient’s feet may begin to not work properly,” says Dr. Velimir Petkov, DPM, surgeon and sports medicine specialist of the foot with Premier Podiatry in Clifton, NJ.

“Therefore, those patients tend to suffer from either extra dry skin and cracking on one end, or extra wet sweaty feet (a.k.a. hyperhidrosis) on the other.”

Excessively sweaty feet from diabetes is not caused by poor foot hygiene, though poor foot hygiene can worsen the problem.

Letting the sweat accumulate and moisten socks, and then not changing the socks when you should or wearing dirty socks, will not only make your feet feel uncomfortably grimy and grubby, but can cause foot odor that’s noticed by other people in the room.

“Unfortunately, at this point in time, the only way to manage these patients is to treat the symptoms, as medicine has not quite discovered how to treat the underlying cause apart from just controlling one’s blood glucose levels,” says Dr. Petkov.

Managing Sweaty Feet

“In diabetic patients with dry skin (the majority of patients), the treatment is the application of a special moisturizing cream which tends to hydrate the skin.

“In those patients that tend to have more wet and sweaty feet, frequent air circulation is often the key.

“Changing the socks frequently as well as the application of anti-fungal cream as well as anti-fungal shoe spray can often manage the symptoms of hyperhidrosis.”

Whatever type of shoe you often wear, you should have two or even three pairs, so that they can be rotated.

This will prevent moisture and odor from building up in any one shoe over time. This is particularly important if you wear the same footwear every time you exercise (and sweat).

Rinsing your feet every day with soap and water (in addition to your bathing routine) will also help, in that if your feet start sweating really badly later on, at least you’ll know they’re clean.

Since diabetic neuropathy can numb feet, it’s important to check them daily for any cuts or wounds that you might not be able to feel, to prevent infection.

Dr. Petkov diagnoses and treats numerous ailments related to the lower extremities, and has special interests in sports medicine, wound care and the most advanced minimally invasive procedures for plantar fasciitis and Achilles tendonitis.
Lorra Garrick is a former personal trainer certified by the American Council on Exercise. At Bally Total Fitness she trained clients of all ages for fat loss, muscle building, fitness and improved health. 



Top image: Shutterstock/Elvira Koneva