Smelly feet is also medically know as bromodosis, which is a common year round problem. It can be embarrassing and unpleasant for you and people around you when your feet smell.
The main cause is sweaty feet combined with wearing the same shoes every day.
Why feet sweat
Did you know that there are more sweat glands in our feet than anywhere else in the body?
Anyone can get sweaty feet, regardless of the temperature or time of year, but teenagers, diabetics, and pregnant women are especially prone because hormonal and insulin changes in your body that make them sweat.
You are also more likely to have foot perspiration if you are on your feet all day or if you are under a lot of stress or you have a medical condition called hyperhidrosis, which makes you sweat more than usual. Fungal infections, such as athlete’s foot, can also lead to sweaty feet with bad foot odor.
According to Dr. Massuda, Podiatrist and President of Foot and Ankle Clinics of America, your feet become smelly if sweat soaks into shoes and they do not dry before you wear them again.
The Bacteria on the skin break down the sweat as it comes from your pores. An odor is released as the sweat decomposes.
“Your feet sweat into your shoes all day so they get damp and bacteria starts to grow. The bacteria continue to breed once you have taken your shoes off, and especially if you put them in a dark cupboard. Then, when you put your shoes back on the next day, even if you have just had a shower, putting your feet into still damp shoes creates the perfect conditions for the bacteria to thrive again with warm, dark and moist conditions.”
Preventing smelly feet
According to Dr.Massuda, keeping feet fresh and sweet smelling is all down to good personal hygiene and changing your shoes regularly.
“The key is never to wear the same pair of shoes two days in a row,” Dr. Massuda says. “Instead, try wearing different shoes on successive days so they have a minimum of 24 hours to dry out. And make sure teenage boys and girls have two pairs of gym shoes so that they do not have to wear the same pair for two or more consecutive days.”
Dr. Massuda says that it is also important to wash and dry your feet every day and to change your socks at least once a day.
If you are particularly susceptible to sweaty feet, Dr. Massuda suggests that you could also:
- dab between your toes with cotton wool dipped in mineral spirits after a shower or bath – mineral spirits helps dry out the skin between the toes really well – in addition to drying them with a towel
- use a spray deodorant or antiperspirant on your feet – a normal underarm deodorant or antiperspirant works just as well as a specialist foot product and will cost you a lot less
- put medicated insoles, which have a deodorising effect, in your shoes
- try feet fresh socks – some sports socks have ventilation panels to keep feet dry, and antibacterial socks are impregnated with chemicals to discourage the odor producing bacteria that feed on sweat
- wear leather or canvas shoes, as they let your feet breathe, unlike plastic ones
- wear open toe sandals in summer and go barefoot at home in the evenings
When to see a doctor
Smelly feet are a common problem that usually clears up, but sometimes it can be a sign of a medical condition.
See your Podiatrist if simple measures to reduce your foot odor do not help, or if you are worried that your level of sweating is abnormally high.
Dr. Massuda can offer you a treatment. Please contact us at (773) 752-2111.