Do you, or know of someone, have trouble with offensive foot odour?
Are you embarrassed by foot odour when you remove your shoes?
Are your socks drenched with sweat by the end of the day, or even worse, by mid-morning?
Have you tried the powders and antiperspirants – but had no luck?
If so, you may benefit from Botox. It’s not just for wrinkles anymore!!
Hyperhidrosis (sweaty feet) and Bromhidrosis (foot odour) are common conditions affecting millions of people. They are often responsible for embarrassing or stressful situations and can have significant psycho-social effects in those afflicted with these conditions.
There are about 250,000 sweat glands in the human foot
together can produce up to 4 ounces of sweat per foot per day.
Hyperhidrosis & Bromhidrosis
Hyperhidrosis and bromhidrosis can be difficult to treat. In society today, wearing shoes is the norm. Thus, the sweat from the feet cannot evaporate. The pooling sweat rapidly progresses to a foul odour. The odour is caused by the by-products of bacteria. Excessive moisture also encourages the growth of many different types of fungi that can cause odour as well. One of the main causes of sweaty, malodourous feet is improper socks or footwear. Shoes with plastic or other synthetic fabric linings are not absorbent and can prevent sweat from evaporating. Synthetic socks have the same effect, particularly if they are tight.
Basic first steps of treatment:
- After showering or bathing, dry feet well. Pay particular attention to the area between the toes. A surprisingly high percentage of people do not actually do this.
- The use of foot powder can limit moisture as well.
- Alternate shoes. Do not wear the same pair of shoes 2 days in a row. Shoes frequently will not dry out overnight.
- Avoid socks that do not absorb moisture. Moisture-wicking athletic socks are a good choice. These may be made of merino wool (which does not itch) or a synthetic blend.
- Change socks or pantyhose often (at least once a day).
- Air/ventilate the feet. Go barefoot when feasible. Slip feet out of shoes whenever possible (e.g., while sitting with feet inconspicuously hidden under a desk).
- Avoid hot beverages (such as coffee), alcohol, and spices. These can heat the body and increase sweating.
- Change your diet. Take note of any foods or beverages that cause excess sweating. Consider eliminating caffeinated drinks (like coffee and cola), alcohol, certain “hot” spices, and foods with strong odours, such as garlic and onions.
- Shoes should also be disinfected to help reduce odour.
An Old wives remedy … worth trying: An old remedy that has been fairly effective in some people is caffeinated tea soaks. The caffeine and tannic acid in the tea constrict sweat glands, thus reducing the amount of sweat produced. Soak feet in caffeinated tea for approximately 15 minutes, 2 times a day. Typically, a decrease in sweating and foot odour is seen by 2 weeks.
If these measures do not help, topical medications containing formaldehyde can be prescribed. These products work by drying and absorbing moisture on the skin, but may have side effects such as local irritation or allergic reactions.
Antiperspirants and deodorants may also be used to reduce sweat. These antiperspirants contain aluminum chloride and work by blocking the opening of sweat glands. Regular over-the-counter antiperspirants typically contain 1 to 2% aluminum chloride while prescription strength products may contain as much as 15 to 20%. Side effects of these antiperspirants include skin irritation, and results are often insufficient to stop sweaty feet.
For more severe cases, many patients are now turning to Botox. Botox is the most popular non-surgical cosmetic procedure in the aesthetics world. It has helped many patients look more youthful, deal with incontinence, muscle spasms, and migraines. Botox is now approved for the treatment of excessive underarm sweating and for the treatment of sweaty feet. Botox is made from a toxin produced by a bacterium called Clostridium botulinum. When the toxin is injected locally at a specific site, the nerves and in that area are blocked and the sweat glands are essentially paralyzed, thus preventing excessive sweating. Results typically last 6 to 15 months.
Botox Foot Treatment
Botox treatment for sweaty feet usually takes about 30 to 45 minutes and is performed under local anesthesia. The Podiatrist will most likely perform an iodine starch test to determine the areas where most of the perspiration is occurring. This test involves painting betadine (iodine) over the entire foot and then applying a starch powder, such as corn starch. Within a couple of minutes, the area that sweat will turn a dark violet or black color. Botox injections are concentrated in these areas. Approximately 25 to 35 injections are given into each foot about 1 to 1.5 centimeters apart. Side effects are rare but include temporary bruising, pain at the injection site, muscle weakness to the intrinsic muscles of the foot and infection. These side effects are temporary and typically will quickly diminish over time. It should be noted that the effects of Botox are not permanent. The toxin in Botox is eventually degraded by the body. However, response has been very positive. Patients report the effects lasting from 6 to 15 months. Ninety-one percent of patients experience a decrease in sweating and odor.