Smelly feet can be an embarrassing condition and is often associated with discomfort. It is produced as a result of sweat and bacteria, and can be aggravated by poor foot hygiene such as not washing your feet or changing your socks regularly.
The feet have more sweat glands when compared to the rest of the body. Sweat helps keep the feet moist, but certain shoes and socks increase sweat formation and prevent its evaporation. Bacteria thrive in these conditions and cause sweat to break down producing an unpleasant odor. It is noticed more frequently in teenagers and pregnant women due to hormonal changes. Smelly feet may also be associated with a condition known as hyperhidrosis where there is excessive sweating.
Smelly feet can be controlled by simple hygienic practices:
- Wash your feet daily
- Keep your toenails short
- Remove dead skin on the soles of the feet with a foot file
- Wear socks that will absorb your sweat and shoes made of leather or canvas that allow your feet to breathe
- Change your socks at least once a day
- Air your shoes sufficiently before wearing them
If these measures do not help, visit your doctor. Your doctor will check your feet for fungal infection and recommend antifungal and antibacterial soaps and sprays, strong antiperspirants or medicated insoles to be worn in your shoes. Your doctor may suggest iontophoresis, where a weak electric current is passed through water or administer Botox to block nerve impulses for sweating. In severe cases, surgery may be performed to cut the nerve responsible for sweating or the sweat gland itself.