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Foot Odor

Not Just in Locker Rooms

Imagine walking into a football team’s locker room where they’ve left all their cleats to air out after a game. The smell might be enough to knock you over! Or, imagine carrying around an old pair of work boots or worn out slippers. If their owner ever sweat in them, odds are they won’t smell pleasant. Foot odor is a common problem for many people. It’s also a potentially embarrassing one—but there are ways to control and eliminate it.

The Source of the Stink

Foot odor is caused by a combination of sweat and bacteria. You have hundreds of thousands of sweat glands on the surface of your feet that sweat out a significant amount of moisture every day. You also have colonies of bacteria on your skin, many of which are harmless as long as they are outside your body. Several types of bacteria “eat” and break down the proteins in your sweat. As they do this, they create an unpleasant odor. The sweaty mixture mingles and festers in your socks and shoes, too, allowing it to linger and compound over time. In order to get rid of the smell, you have to deal with all of these factors: the sweat, the bacteria, and the shoes.

Why Your Feet Might Smell

Your feet sweat for many reasons. Hormone changes, temperature fluctuations, stress, and spending all day standing or walking increase your odds that your feet will sweat. Shoes that don’t let air circulate around your lower limbs can make you perspire more as well. You might also have a health condition that causes excessive sweating. Even though you will always have colonies of bacteria on your skin, failing to maintain good foot hygiene can definitely make it worse. The dirtier your feet are, the more bacteria will thrive.

The shoes you wear make a difference, too. Certain fabrics trap heat and moisture inside. Repeatedly wearing these shoes day after day, without allowing them enough time to dry out, traps the sweaty mixture in the fabric and lets it fester there. Setting shoes in dark or enclosed spaces where air doesn’t circulate well can be just as bad.

Better Solutions than Pinching Your Nose

Taking care of foot odor means working to deal with the sweat and bacteria on your feet and in your footwear. Dr. Noah Levine can check your feet for health problems or infections that may contribute to the unpleasant smell. Then he can help you banish the bad scents.

There are many different home remedies and treatments that can help with the sweaty stink. Wash your feet daily with soap and water to keep them clean, then pat them completely dry. After that, apply antiperspirant or foot powder to help prevent sweating and absorb moisture. If you don’t have diabetes or other conditions that impair your immune system, soaks in a foot bath with black tea, Epsom salts, or natural oils can help with excessive sweating.

Make sure you change your socks daily and wear types made from moisture-wicking materials. Stick to shoes made from natural materials that allow air to circulate as well—avoid all plastic or nylon. Try not to wear the same pair of shoes on back-to-back days, too, so each pair has 24 hours to dry between uses. Treat your shoes with foot powder and odor-eating products as well. If you have a condition that causes excessive sweating, there may be medications or therapy treatments to help manage the perspiration and smell.

You shouldn’t feel embarrassed by foot odor, because it can be eliminated! Let Absolute Foot Care Specialists help you banish bad scents and keep your shoes and feet smelling sweet. Just call our Las Vegas office at (702) 839-2010 or use our website to reach us for an appointment.