The scent of smelly feet can overpower a room. Think of the last time a friend with a foot odor problem kicked off his or her footwear. Or imagine walking past a small room where smelly shoes have been sitting for a little while. The unpleasant scent quickly becomes a dominant stink. If you’re the one struggling with foot odor problems, this can be quite embarrassing.
What to Blame
The smell is caused by sweat mixing with bacteria on your skin. Your feet have more than a quarter of a million sweat glands—the highest concentration in your entire body. These can secrete up to a pint of moisture daily, and sometimes more if you sweat heavily. The moisture they produce sits on the surface of your skin, where it can mingle with the colonies of bacteria that grow there harmlessly.
The bacteria consumes and breaks down the compounds in your perspiration. In doing so, however, they create an unpleasant gas. That gas is the scent you smell when you struggle with foot odor. The sweat-bacteria cocktail usually gets absorbed into your socks and the fabric of your shoes as well, compounding the problem.
Sources of Sweat
Certain issues can make smelly feet and shoes worse. Footwear that doesn’t allow air to circulate and evaporate moisture ends up trapping warmth and encouraging sweating. Excessive stress, medications, alcohol, and some drugs can increase perspiration as well. Hormone changes and poor hygiene are other common causes. Some people simply have overactive or more sweat glands. Fortunately, some basic care can help prevent and eliminate foot odor.
Eliminating the Foul Smell
While the source of your smelly feet may be simple, it’s best to have your lower limbs checked for additional problems that may be contributing to the issue. We will evaluate your feet to check for other underlying conditions. Our staff can also help you find products that will help you eliminate and prevent unpleasant odors. We’ll then provide you with instructions to help your sweaty feet.
One thing that you can do is keep up with good hygiene. Wash your feet daily with soap and water. Make sure you dry them thoroughly, including in between the toes. Wear socks made from moisture-wicking materials that will help pull the perspiration away from your skin. Choose shoes made from natural materials that allow your feet to breathe. Leather, mesh, and canvas are a few of the best fabrics for this. Also, use a fresh pair of socks and different shoes every day if you can—this will help prevent the sweat mixture in your footwear from compounding.
Treat your feet and shoes daily with odor-eating products, too. Try antiperspirant deodorant sticks, sprays, and powders. Baking soda and baby powder are low-cost options you can sprinkle in your footwear to help as well. Sometimes soaking your feet in a warm bath with Epsom salts, baking soda, citric acid, or even tea, helps discourage sweating and reduces the bacteria on your lower limbs. If these simple remedies do not seem to help, you may need prescription-strength products to minimize perspiration.
You don’t have to keep your feet locked away in your shoes because you’re embarrassed by foot odor. Let our team at Advanced Foot & Ankle Specialists of Arizona help you keep your lower limbs smelling sweet. You can contact us for an appointment by calling, faxing, or using our online form. To reach the Chandler location directly, please call (480) 963-9000 or fax (480) 963-0375. To reach the Gilbert office, call (480) 981-1800 or fax (480) 981-0229.Coming soon.