Do you get complaints from your spouse or kids everytime you take your shoes off? Do they hold their noses, wrinkle up their faces, and leave the room? If so, you very likely have smelly feet.
There is help for this common problem.
The feet and hands contain more sweat glands than any other part of the body (about 3,000 glands per square inch). Feet smell for two reasons: you wear shoes and your feet sweat. The interaction between your perspiration and the bacteria that thrive in your shoes and socks generates the odor. Any attempt to reduce foot odor has to address both your sweating and your footwear.
Smelly feet can also be caused by an inherited condition called hyperhidrosis, or excessive sweating, which primarily affects males. Stress, some medications, fluid intake and hormonal changes also can increase the amount of perspiration your body produces.
- Always wear socks with closed shoes.
- Buy socks made of wool, acrylic, polypropylene, or polyethylene or some combination to wick away moisture and reduce friction. Some brands to try out include Nike, Asics, Injiji, Belega, Swiftwick, Feetures, Fox River Socks and Darn Tough Vermont. Avoid cotton socks as they retain moisture.
- Bathe your feet daily in lukewarm water, using a mild soap. Dry thoroughly.
- Change your socks and shoes at least once a day
- Check for fungal infections between your toes and on the bottoms of your feet. If you spot redness or dry, patchy skin, get treatment right away.
- Don't wear the same pair of shoes two days in a row. If you frequently wear athletic shoes, alternate pairs so that the shoes can dry out. Give your shoes at least 24 hours to air out between wearings; if the odor doesn't go away, discard the shoes
- Dust your feet frequently with a non-medicated baby powder or foot powder such Gordon’s Foot Spray.
- Persistent foot odor can indicate a low-grade infection or a severe case of hereditary sweating. In these cases, our practice may prescribe a special ointment.
- Soaking your feet in strong black tea for 30 minutes a day for a week can help. The acid in the tea kills the bacteria and closes the pores, keeping your feet dry longer. Use two tea bags per pint of water. Boil for 15 minutes, then add two quarts of cool water. Soak your feet in the cool solution. Alternately, you can soak your feet in a solution of one part vinegar and two parts water.
- Purchase a UV Shoe Sanitizer. Shoe Sanitizers kill 99% of the bacteria and fungus that cause foot odor.
If these treatments don't work or you have another foot problem, call us today at 206-368-7000 for an appointment. Often same day for emergencies and less than 2 weeks for chronic foot pain. You can also request an appointment online.
For more information about foot and ankle problems, download our eBook, "No More Foot Pain".
In addition, our newsletter "Foot Sense" comes out monthly. You can also check out our past issues. Every issue contains a mouth-watering recipe and can be printed out for easier reading!
Seattle foot and ankle specialist, Dr. Rion Berg offers foot care for patients with bunions, heel pain, diabetes, fungal toenails, ingrown nails, and surgical solutions when needed to residents of Seattle, Bellevue, Kirkland, Shoreline, Lake Forest Park, Mountlake Terrace, Lynnwood and other surrounding suburbs.