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Is it normal to have sweaty feet?

Foot sweating can be a normal function of your body under certain circumstances such as intense physical activity. Excessive foot sweating however is defined as sweating that goes beyond the normal physiological needs of your body. This excessive foot sweating is known in the medical community as hyperhidrosis. If a person is sweating from his or her palms under normal conditions (non-active, no stress or excitement, normal temperature, social interaction) then they may have hyperhidrosis. Hyperhidrosis is a genetically inherited condition which causes social and functional problems in everyday life.

As a part of the hyperhidrosis presentation sweaty feet and sweaty hands are part of the same clinical presentation. It should be mentioned that excessive hand sweating is the more bothersome issue. At many times excessive hand sweating appears earlier than excessive foot sweating. This has to do with the maturation of the sweat glands in the feet which are coming to full presentation later in life (mid 20’s). Those patients with the full expression of their excessive foot sweating are suffering from it almost on the same level as those with excessive hand sweating. As in the case as with excessive hand sweating the usual conservative measures are not as beneficial. Lumbar sympathectomy has been developed since about 2006. With this operation one can achieve elimination of excessive foot sweating in up to 98% of the cases. This operation is not offered for patients with previous ETS which did not affect the feet or for those patients where excessive foot sweating is much more or of a problem than hand sweating.

Only Feet Sweating without any Sweaty Hands

There are cases where patients present themselves with only feet sweating without any hand sweating whatsoever. Those cases need to be discussed extensively with the surgeon in order to determine eligibility for the lumbar sympathectomy procedure. At this point we believe that it is not the exact mechanism (genetic or otherwise) as palmar and plantar hyperhidrosis that come together.

As always a thorough discussion with a surgeon who is familiar with these issues is essential.

For additional information on foot sweating:

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