The palms of the hands and the soles of the feet contain more sweat glands than any other area of the body. The soles of the feet contain as many as three thousand tiny sweat glands per square inch, that’s approximately 125 000 sweat glands on each foot, or 250 000 sweat glands in both your feet.

The sweat glands on the soles of your feet are called eccrine sweat glands and they secrete an odourless, clear fluid. They also secrete all the time, not just in response to heat or exercise and they typically produce about half a pint of perspiration a day. The sweat glands are controlled by the autonomic nervous system, which means sweat production is largely outside of our conscious control, in a similar way to how we don’t think about having to breathe.

Sweat keeps the skin on your feet moist and supple so it is able to withstand the stresses of walking. It is also though to increase friction on bare feet, this is thought to have helped our ancestors to increase the grip of feet on the ground when running from predators or any other threat.

Sweat also has a protective function by helping to create an environment that is inhospitable to most disease-causing micro-organisms.

Very sweaty feet can be caused by changing hormone levels in your body. Mental or emotional stress may also be a factor. If you have very sweaty feet they may also smell as bacteria on the skin break down the sweat causing offensive odours.

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