Although very annoying, many people have to contend with cold sweaty feet at some point in their lives. Here are the causes of cold sweating feet such as winter and anxiety, how to stop cold sweaty feet with common treatments and self-care measures for people whose feet are always cold and sweating especially at night while in bed.
Cold Sweaty Feet Causes
What causes cold sweaty feet at night, during winter and normal times? Cold sweaty feet is often an indication for a medical condition known as hyperhidrosis in which a person sweats “…excessively and unpredictably” as Medline Plus puts it.
Sweating is the body’s natural cooling mechanism. As sweat evaporates, it draws heat from the skin resulting in a cooling effect.
Sweating is triggered when the body temperature rises as a result of exercising, fever, and hot weather. Any situations that make someone angry, nervous, anxious, afraid, embarrassed, etc can also trigger sweating.
People with hyperhidrosis appear to have overactive sweat glands and may sweat even in the absence of the above triggers. When the feet are affected, the condition is called plantar hyperhidrosis. The exact cause of plantar hyperhidrosis is not known, but genetics may have a role to play; research has shown a tendency for the condition to run in families.
It is also not associated with any other medical condition in most cases.
Cold Sweaty Feet Anxiety
Does anxiety cause my feet to be cold and perspiring? According to patient.co.uk, anxiety can worsen hyperhidrosis – and the cold sweaty feet often associated with it. In fact anxiety about the sweating itself may worsen it.
So don’t be surprised if your feet feels cold on an interview day or a bride suddenly starts complaining of cold feet.
Such one-off incidents aside, there are people who constantly have to deal with cold feet as a result of lives characterized by high levels of anxiety.
Cold Sweaty Feet in Winter
Why do you get cold feet that are sweaty during winter season? If you tend to get cold sweaty feet every time the winter season kicks in, plantar hyperhidrosis (excessive sweating of the feet) may be to blame.
The condition is usually worsened by frequent wearing of closed shoes during winter. While this protects the feet from cold, it also prevents adequate breathing of the feet. This triggers more sweating as the body tries to cool the skin. In addition, the sweat produced doesn’t get a chance to escape.
Feet Always Cold and Sweaty
“My feet are always cold and sweaty. There no other symptoms except coldness. My friend thinks that it could be a sign of diabetes. Is that true?” Angeline
From what Angeline describes, it seems she is dealing with primary focal hyperhidrosis. This affects localized areas of the body (as opposed to the entire body) usually the feet, hands or armpits and is usually symmetrical; that is, it affects both sides of the body e.g. both feet.
Primary focal hyperhidrosis is usually not associated with any medical conditions so it just in order to rule out diabetes. You may still want to talk to your doctor for appropriate diagnosis.
How to Stop Cold Sweaty Feet
Cold drippy feet that make you slide right out of your sandals or make your feet soggy all the time can cause you significant psychological distress. Luckily there are numerous measures that may help. Here is how to stop cold sweaty feet:
Use absorbent foot powder: This powder absorbs moisture, helping to keep your feet dry. Apply the powder directly on your feet after bathing and drying them thoroughly. Pay close attention to the areas between your toes. Zeasorb is one good foot powder brand that is widely mentioned by doctors.
Alternate your shoes to stop cold sweating feet: Switching between two or more pairs of shoes allows them time to dry out between uses.
Use a shoe drier: These days there are shoe driers that use electric current to dry your shoe. The International Hyperhidrosis Society recommends Peet’s Shoe Dryers.
Choose thick socks: This helps to absorb moisture and keep your feet dry. Socks made of natural materials such as cotton are an especially great option for cold sweaty feet.
Change your socks daily: Changing your socks everyday also helps to keep the get dry. If you sweat a lot you may even want to change your socks twice a day. Dry your feet thoroughly before wearing a new pair of socks.
Allow your feet to breathe every now and then: Whenever you can, slip off your shoes to allow your shoes time to catch some fresh air so to speak.
For example, you could throw that pair of shoe away over lunch hour while you take a nap on the lawn or work on your desk without the shoes every now and then, assuming the feet are not stinky.
Medical Treatments for Cold Stinky Feet
You may also want to explore the following medical treatment options:
Botox: In this treatment technique, the dermatologist gives of injections of small doses of botulinum toxin A into the feet. The toxin helps to block the nerves that stimulate the sweat glands albeit temporarily.
You should know however that Botox can be very painful and may result in symptoms similar to those of flu as a side-effect. Another point worth mentioning is that the results of Botox typically last for between 3 and 4 months after which another round of injections may be needed.
Iontophoresis can as well be used to treat cold sweaty feet. This procedure involves using electric current to turn the sweat glands off temporarily. During iontophoresis, the feet are placed in a basin of water before passing a current of electricity through it.
The procedure lasts between 15 and 30 minutes and requires several sessions per week for around 3 weeks to achieve maximum benefit. Although rare, iontophoresis can cause blistering and cracking of the skin as a side-effect.
Although surgery is often used to treat underarm sweating it is usually not recommended for sweaty feet, even where all other treatments have failed. Besides the risk of dire side-effects, reversing the procedure is also impossible according to The International Hyperhidrosis Society.
Cold Sweaty Feet at Night While in Bed
Why do you get cold sweaty feet at night? What causes cold sweaty feet in bed? Is this a serious health problem?
As we have already mentioned, cold sweaty feet is a condition mostly associated with hyperhidrosis. As for cold sweaty feet that only affect you at night, this may be linked to menopause transition. Night sweats may also be a sign of more serious conditions according to the UK National Health Service.
Your best course of action would be to see your doctor for proper diagnosis and treatment. Some people may have nerve problems that are compounded by cold wet feet from sweat. It is important to get a doctor’s help on how to stop cold sweaty feet.