While people may not have as powerful noses as, say, a pet dog or cat, you don’t need a strong sniffer to be bothered by foot odor. Simply taking off your shoes or walking past someone else with the problem can be enough to make you gag and seek out fresher air. Smelly feet are a common issue and have existed for as long as people have had foot sweat.
No More Smelly Toes
Why Feet Stink
Feet don’t necessarily smell on their own. The true culprits of the foul odor are actually your foot sweat and the bacteria that lives on your skin. Everyone’s feet sweat quite a bit—the average person has roughly 250,000 sweat glands on their lower limbs. The perspiration is designed to both moderate your foot temperature as well as maintain skin moisture. Occasionally people’s feet will sweat more than normal, often as the result of a health condition or changes in hormones.
The problem is that the sweat mixes with the bacteria colonies that naturally live on your skin, no matter how clean you are. These microorganisms help break down the proteins in your sweat, but in the process they release that unpleasant scent. Typically, this mix of sweat and bacteria gets absorbed by your socks and the fabric of your shoes, too, where it lingers and festers, making your feet smell that much worse.
Eliminating the Odor
Foot sweat is inevitable and natural, but you don’t have to live with embarrassingly smelly feet. You can eliminate the bad smell and reduce excessive foot sweat. First and foremost, make sure you wash your feet with soap and water every day to clean off old sweat and bacteria. Some foot soaks make be beneficial as well.
Use disinfecting and antiperspirant sprays or powders in your shoes and on your feet. Baking soda and baby powder make great odor-eaters for your footwear, and even basic deodorant can work on your skin. If you struggle with excessively sweaty or smelly feet, our experts at Gulf South Foot & Ankle, LLC can help you find alternate treatments and determine if there’s an additional health issue that needs to be addressed.
Keeping Feet Smelling Sweet
You can prevent foot odor from becoming a big problem in your life before it becomes a source of embarrassment for you, too. Several of the methods used to treat foot odor can prevent it from developing in the first place. Wash your feet every day with soap and water. Use odor-eating powders or sprays in your shoes and antiperspirant on your feet.
Just as importantly, avoid re-exposing your feet to old sweat. Change your socks every day, and even during the day if your feet sweat a lot. Stick to moisture-wicking styles that allow your feet to breathe in your shoes as well. When you can, try to avoid wearing the same pair of shoes two days in a row. Instead, allow each pair to dry out completely between uses so you aren’t simply adding to the sweat build-up on your feet.
Foot odor can be embarrassing and make taking your shoes off in social situations uncomfortable. You aren’t limited to suffering with the smell, though. The right care can make a big difference. If you’re having any trouble, our team at Gulf South Foot & Ankle, LLC can help you eliminate the stink and keep your feet smelling sweeter. Make an appointment through our website request forms. You can also call our Metairie, LA, office directly at (504) 708-4810.