The way kids play, you don’t expect their feet to smell like roses. However, excessive sweating and an extremely strong odor on the soles of the feet is a medical issue that should be treated.
The medical term palmoplantar hyperhidrosis refers to feet and hands that produce inordinate amounts of sweat. We have sweat glands or eccrine glands all over the body, with the majority concentrated on our foot soles and the palms of our hands. Excessive sweat affects children and adults, and seems to have a genetic component. If you have it, chances are your children will have it as well. Although it is not considered a very dangerous health condition, it may make your child feel a little self-conscious and uncomfortable. There are many treatments ranging from conservative topical applications to surgery.
As mentioned, there seems to be a genetic predisposition to excessively sweaty and smelly feet. Sometimes it is a symptom of another medical problem such as a dysfunctional thyroid or diabetes. In some children, anxiety or the hormonal changes from puberty may be the culprit. It is important to have a doctor take a look at your child in order to rule out any serious medical conditions.
Symptoms and Signs
With palmoplantar hyperhidrosis, the symptoms are fairly obvious, and therein lies the potential for embarrassment for your child. If your child’s hands and feet are sticky and sweaty when the temperature is not particularly warm or while they are not physically active, you may want to consider the possibility of palmoplantar hyperhidrosis.
Treatment and Prevention
If your child occasionally has sweaty and/or smelly feet, but has not been diagnosed with palmoplantar hyperhidrosis, there are some simple remedies that you can try. Most importantly, make sure he has shoes that are not overly tight and allow air to circulate. Wearing 100 percent cotton socks and using absorbent foot inserts can also help with your child’s comfort level. Keep the feet clean and dry
You can also try the following three simple remedies:
- Mix a basin with warm water and one cup of vinegar. Soak your child’s feet for 10 minutes. Empy the basin and refill it with warm water and a cup of oatmeal. Crush the oats until the water becomes milky and have your child soak his feet for another 10 minutes.
- Brew a strong black tea and pour it into a basin. Cool it to room temperature. Have your child soak his feet in it for 10-20 minutes. Black tea contains tannins which kill the bacteria that causes sweaty and smelly feet.
- Rotate the shoes that your child wears so that your child’s shoes can air out.
If your child is diagnosed with palmoplantar hyperhidrosis by a doctor, there are several more extreme treatments. For instance, you might be prescribed one of the following three treatments:
- Aluminum chloride hexahydrate:a topical solution of aluminum chloride hexahydrate can help to decrease sweating by blocking the pores. A strength of 10-25 percent is the standard
dosage that will be applied to the soles of the foot for the time prescribed by your doctor. It is generally well tolerated except for in those with extremely sensitive skin.
- Systemic medication: anticholinergic drugs and some anti-anxiety medications have been used to treat sweaty palms and feet, however this is not the preferred therapy for young children who are more sensitive to drug toxicity.
- Botox: If other methods fail, Botox can be used reduce the activity of the sweat glands. It is already FDA approved for excess sweating under the arms, and some doctors are beginning to use it for sweaty palms and feet, albeit off-label. The issue with using Botox for the treatment of your child’s sweaty feet is that the injections are painful and expensive. Some parents may not be comfortable with the idea of using a treatment on their child that is not approved by the FDA.