Most of the causes of wrinkled feet aren’t serious. In fact, many causes are just a normal part of life. In some cases, wrinkled skin on your feet can be a symptom of a condition that needs medical attention.
Let’s examine some of the most common causes of wrinkled feet.
Be in the water for a long time
Being in the water for long periods of time – be it in a bathtub, shower, hot tub, or pool – is a common cause of wrinkled feet and fingers.
This form of wrinkled feet and fingers is a temporary condition that usually goes away once you’re out of the water and your skin is dry.
Wrinkles occur when your blood vessels start to shrink just under your skin. This is a normal nervous system response when you are in the water for a long time.
As soon as your blood vessels begin to shrink, your skin begins to collapse over the now smaller blood vessels. This leads to wrinkles.
Scientists are not entirely sure why this is happening. A leading theory is that it is an evolutionary adaptation that will help you grip better when your hands and feet are wet.
Trench foot, also called immersion foot, occurs when your feet are wet and cold for an extended period of time. It can cause wrinkles on your feet as well as:
The trench foot was first noticed in soldiers during World War I who fought in cold, wet trenches. Without warm socks or waterproof boots to keep their feet dry, World War I soldiers developed a trench foot from the damp, cold conditions their feet were exposed to.
The trench foot among WWI soldiers created greater awareness of the importance of keeping feet dry.
The trench foot is treatable, but it is best to take steps to prevent it. If your feet, socks, or shoes get wet, try to dry them off as soon as possible.
If your feet are cold and wet, try applying a heat pack for a few minutes to warm them up.
Excessive sweating, also called hyperhidrosis, is a condition that makes you sweat profusely, even in situations unrelated to heat or movement.
Hyperhidrosis can be primary or secondary. Primary hyperhidrosis usually has no known cause and is not a sign of an underlying disease. Secondary hyperhidrosis is caused by something else, such as:
Any type of hyperhidrosis can cause sweating all over the body (generalized) or in one spot (localized). Your feet are one of the most common places for excessive sweating in both types of hyperhidrosis.
If you sweat a lot, the moisture can cause your skin to become wrinkled. This is especially the case if you wear shoes that prevent your feet from breathing.
Dry weather, exposure to hot water, or certain chemicals can cause your skin to become dry, including the skin on your feet. Dry, flaky skin can also be caused by dehydration or underlying medical conditions.
The lack of moisture can cause your skin to become wrinkled. It can also cause cracked skin, which can look like wrinkles.
For dry skin that is not caused by an underlying condition, intensive over-the-counter moisturizers (OTC) are often the first choice.
UV rays from the sun can damage any part of your skin. This can lead to:
- Sun damage
- premature aging
Wrinkles from exposure to sunlight can be avoided. The best way to avoid wrinkles on your feet is to keep them covered when you are outside.
Whenever you expose your feet to the sun, you should apply sunscreen to protect your feet from the sun’s harmful rays.
Symptoms of sun exposure can be treated, but are rarely completely reversed.