How to Prevent Smelly Feet
Smelly feet (eccrine bromhidrosis) is a common condition which many people experience, in particular pregnant women, teens, the elderly, heart disease sufferers, diabetics, and people who are stressed. But did you know that there are many different ways to treat it?
The reason why feet get so smelly is because they have around half a million sweat glands excreting sweat into socks and shoes. With no other place to go, most of the sweat remains on the feet, creating a warm, moist environment where bacteria and fungi thrive.
The solution is simple: by taking better control of your hygiene, you can minimize the incidence of smelly feet significantly.
Wash Your Feet Thoroughly
While many people mistakenly believe that a simple shower is sufficient, the fact is that most people do not clean their feet properly. Proper foot hygiene requires a daily, thorough cleansing with antibacterial soap.
Drying the feet is just as important, since moisture tends to collect in-between the toes.
Use a Foot Antiperspirant
If thorough cleansing isn’t enough, apply an over-the-counter athlete’s foot spray or powder to your shoes and feet. Even your underarm deodorant will work just as well, provided that it contains aluminum chloride hexahydrate, which is a chemical that prevents excessive sweating.
There are antiperspirants designed specifically for feet, from brands such as Klima and Sweatblock. There is no downside to giving this a try, unless you are walking on a slippery surface.
Certain home remedies have gained the support of podiatrists. Bathing your feet in either salt, tea, or vinegar are effective ways to dry out your feet and prevent bacteria from growing.
Salt and vinegar both absorb moisture from the skin. Tea closes your pores and also acts as a natural antibiotic.
For a saltwater bath, dissolve ½-1 cup of kosher salt in a tub or large bowl. Soak for 20 minutes, and repeat every day for two weeks.
Vinegar baths require one part vinegar and two parts water in a tub or large bowl. Feet should be soaked 30 minutes a day for one week.
Two black tea bags for every pint of water should be added for a tea bath. Let the water boil with the tea bags for 15 minutes, then add 2 quarts of cool water. Pour this solution into a tub or a large bowl. Soak for 30 minutes, and repeat daily for one week.
Socks and Shoes
Choosing breathable footwear is one of the best ways to prevent future incidence of smelly feet.
Breathable socks and shoes allow moisture to evaporate, making it more difficult for bacteria to grow. Generally, the socks and shoes you buy should be made from natural materials.
Unlike synthetic materials like polyester and nylon, socks made from natural materials like cotton and wool will provide more ventilation.
As for shoes, leather and canvas are two of the most breathable materials. Insoles made with activated charcoal will act as further protection against stinky feet.
Never wear your shoes without socks. This will allow sweat and bacteria to accumulate, in addition to the buildup of dead skin cells, dirt, oils, mold, and fungus.
Use Odor-Killing Shoe Products
There are a wide variety of anti-odor products available for your shoes. Choosing between the options is largely a matter of your individual preferences and needs. Dr. Scholl’s and Kiwi are two of the more popular brands for this purpose.
Otherwise, common kitchen and bathroom products such as baking powder, corn starch, baby powder, and talcum powder may be enough to suit your needs.
When To See a Doctor
In rare cases, foot odor can be so foul or persistent that a visit to the doctor is warranted. You will only need to do this if the steps above have not been sufficient.
Smelly feet are sometimes a sign of a larger medical problem, especially if you have an immune system deficiency.
If smelly feet have been plaguing you even after practicing proper hygiene, check for cuts or wounds in the skin between the toes, and for signs of infection like redness and swelling.
If you are diabetic, be especially attentive to your foot odor, since infection progresses much faster.
Consult the Experts
For the best in foot care, schedule an appointment with Dr. Vikki or Dr. Connie today.
For this and all other related questions and concerns, consult the specialists at Superior Foot & Ankle Care Center.