Dr. Berg's Foot Facts

Posts for tag: smelly feet

By Dr. Rion Berg
November 09, 2016
Category: foot care

When you have constant pain in your feet you don't think twice about making an appointment with a podiatrist. You want to get rid of it as soon as possible so you can get back to donig what you love.

But sometimes you can develop a foot condition that may be painful on and off or it comes with other symptoms. In these situations you might decide to put off a doctor's visit, especially if you're really busy or you think, what's the big deal.

Here's what to do if you have the following symptoms.

Rough and dried out heels

Most often dried out heels occur in people as they age or have a condition like diabetes. In the summer dry heels can occur in anyone who wears sandals or walks around barefoot. Dry heels can be unsightly but they can also be dangerous. People with diabetes often have reduced sensation in their feet. This condition, called diabetic neuropathy, makes it more likely for feet to becoming cracked and develop ulcers.

What to do:

  • It's very important that people with diabetes keep their feet moisturized to avoid cracking and ulcer development.

  • There are several moisturizers on the market to keep your feet soft. Our office recommends Amerigel, a lotion created just for this purpose.

Foot cramps

Foot cramps can certainly be painful but most of us just assume that they're normal and don't need to worry about them. Although this is true if it happens occasionally, there are several reasons to check out these symptoms if they become more frequent. Pregnant women can experience them later in their pregnancy due to decreased circulation of the feet. For others in can mean a deficiency in certain minerals such as magnesium, calcium, or potassium.

What to do:

  • Massage them

  • Tell your doctor you're concerned about their frequency.

Smelly feet

Both men and women can experience excessively, smelly feet but men are more prone to a condition called hyperhidrosis. For the rest of us stress, some medications, fluid intake and hormonal changes can increase the amount of sweat our body produces. Take the following steps to both prevent and treat odiferous feet.

What to do:

  • Wash your feet with an anti-bacterial soap

  • Use a deodorizer on your clean feet such as Gordon's No. Five Spray Foot Powder or Pedilux 4.

  • Wear socks that wick away moisture from your feet

  • If you run, be sure to change your shoes on a daily basis to let them dry out

To kill the odor in your shoes use an Ultraviolet Shoe Sanitizer like Shoe Zap.

Cold Toes

A fairly common condition that turns your toes red, white and blue is one brought on by cold weather called Primary Raynaud's disease. It's not entirely clear why some people have narrowing of the blood vessels (vasospasm) in their toes in the colder months. Once the blood returns to the toes after a vasospasm, you can experience throbbing, tingling, or numbness in the toes. Although there is no treatment for this condition, it does not indicate an underlying health problem.  

Raynauds's Phenomenon is a different condition that can be brought on by an underlying immune disorder, diabetes, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, certain medications, and smoking.

For help with this second condition:

  • Stop smoking

  • Talk to your physician about the symptoms your experiencing,

  • Get help managing your diabetes, cholesterol, and high blood pressure.

Fungal nails and athlete's foot

Fungus loves dark and damp places and so it tends to live around and in between your toes (athlete's foot) and under and on top of your toenails (onychomycosis). Athlete's foot can be treated topically by non-prescription anti-fungal treatment you can purchase over the counter.

Onychomycosis, the fungus that causes fungal nails, is a difference story altogether. Like the fungus that causes athlete's foot it thrives in the same kind of environment

What to do to prevent it:

  • Wear socks that wick away moisture

  • Change shoes on a daily basis to let them dry out in between

  • Avoid going barefoot in locker room and pools

Treating toenail fungus once you have it is a whole other issue. Toenail fungus is very hard to get rid of once you have it and the treatments methods are imperfect. The best thing to do is to see a Seattle podiatrist that specializes in treating fungus and get your nails tested to ensure you have fungus.  

Call us today at 206-368-7000 for an appointment, often same day. You can also request an appointment online.

Get our free foot book "No More Foot Pain", mailed directly to your home.

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.

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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.

Follow Dr. Berg on Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest.