Reasons for smelly feet:
Smelly feet medically known as bromodosis - can affect anyone. It can be very embarrassing and uncomfortable. The main cause of smelly feet is sweaty feet. Sweat is secreted by sweat glands and these are more in number as well as high in activity in feet. However the sweat is odorless by itself. Feet smell when bacteria on the skin break down sweat as it comes from the pores. A cheesy smell is released as the sweat decomposes and forms isovaleric acid that smells.
The main causes of sweaty and smelly feet are:
- Wearing the same shoes every day. Feet become smelly if sweat soaks into the shoes and you wear them again before they are dry.
- Poor personal hygiene.
- Hormonal changes can cause feet to sweat more, so teenagers and pregnant women are especially prone.
- If you are stressed and tensed there is increased sweat production.
- Some people have hyperhidrosis, which causes you to sweat more than usual.
- Athletes foot and other fungal infections also produce odour.
How to treat smelly feet?
Smelly feet can be treated by maintaining hygiene, wearing open footwear, putting anti-fungal powders, using anti bacterial scrubs and in case of doubt, visit your dermatologist for advice. Following are the advices to avoid as well as treat smelly feet:
- The best way to prevent smelly feet is good personal hygiene by washing feet everyday and not wearing the same shoes 2 days in a row. Teenagers especially should be discouraged from wearing the same pair of trainers all the time. You should also wear clean socks every day. Cotton or wool socks are much better than nylon. However wearing open footwear does reduce the problem to a large extent.
- Use a spray deodorant or antiperspirant on your feet. There are special spray available for foot use. However normal body spray can be used as well.
- While bathing, dry the space between toes and dab the space with cotton wool dipped in surgical spirit.
- Use detachable medicated insoles in your shoes which are freely available. These have a deodorising effect.
- Try sports shocks which have ventilating panels to help keep feet dry.
- Wear leather or canvas shoes. In the summer, wear open footwear. Go barefoot at home if you can safely.
- Sweaty feet can be treated with an antibacterial foot scrub, but avoid using these scrubs if you have broken skin or eczema.
- Athlete's foot can also cause smelly feet. Use anti-fungal dusting powder or seek advice from a dermatologist.
- Iontophoresis with certain medications , though multiple sessions also gives relief.
- Botox injections are the most effective remedy to reduce sweating.
What should be a foot care routine that one should follow?
- One should avoid wearing the same shoes daily
- Avoid wearing wet shoes and allow them to dry.
- Wear open foot wear during summer.•
- Antipersperant sprays containing aluminium chloride can be used.
- Keep feet as much dry as possible.Any OTC products or home remedies: There are many available. some are:•Anti fungal powders containing Clotrimazole can be used.
- Antiperspirants like Aluminium Chloride can be used.
- Washing shoes and socks everyday.
- Soak feet in warm saltwater for 20 min daily
- Add vinegar to saltwater and soak feet for 30 min twice a week.
- Add used tea bags to water and soak feet. It is antimicrobial.
Wear dry and open footwear
Soak your socks in warm water and wait for them to dry before you wear them.You can also put anti fungal powders in it.
Maintain hygiene.Keep your feet dry.
Put deodorants sprays on feet to avoid smell.
Do not share footwear or socks with others.
Do not wear wet soaked socks.
Do not ignore and condition which you feel you cannot treat and consult your doctor as it could be fungal infection like athletes foot or candidiasis.