What Causes Smelly Feet?

You shouldn’t ignore the fact that you have smelly feet; however, there are many people who would rather overlook their foot odour. You shouldn’t do this as it can signify a potential medical condition. If you have experienced this, don’t hesitate to visit your podiatrist and discuss your options.

Let’s take a look at the issue of foot odour and what causes it. Foot odour is an issue that many people worldwide experience, and it can be both embarrassing and frustrating to manage. A recent survey showed that over 10% of British citizens suffered from foot odour.

If you’ve always had a smelly foot odour, it could be from Bromodosis. This inherited condition causes sweat to come out of the feet and releases a bad smell. It can be unpleasant and embarrassing, especially if it comes out while wearing open shoes or socks.

Stinky feet could be the result of a multitude of things. The most common reason is excessive sweating. You produce sweat when you exercise or even just walk down the street on a sunny day. Over time, this sweat builds up and creates the ideal environment for bacteria, fungi, and other foot odour-causing agents.

Some other factors that could contribute to a bad-smelling odour from your feet are:

  • Bad hygiene
  • Bad circulation of your blood flow
  • Underlying medical conditions like diabetes or obesity
  • Ingrown Toenails 
  • The infection of an injury on your feet
  • Restrictive shoes that don’t allow your feet to breathe

These simple tips and tricks will keep your feet feeling fresh and clean without much effort.

Choosing the right socks 

No matter the activity you’re doing, your socks and shoes should keep you comfortable and happy. If you think you will be sweating, you should wear a moisture-wicking pair of socks. Some of the best materials for moisture-wicking socks are merino wool and bamboo. Synthetic blends are also not a bad option, and they’re often cheaper and easier to care for than all-natural options.

You should ensure that you wear a fresh pair of socks every day and change your socks after performing any exercises or anything that would cause you to sweat excessively. Your feet will sweat from the moment you put on your socks, and your socks will begin to absorb that moisture. The moisture build-up can cause bacteria to gather in the socks and potentially lead to fungal infections, not to mention this sweat in your socks will most likely be a factor in your foot odour. 

Replace the insoles of your shoes

It’s not just about replacing your socks. You should also ensure that your shoes are in tiptop shape by replacing the insoles when they’re worn or begin to smell. Make sure that the new insoles are suitable for your feet and provide enough support and comfort. I also recommend investing in a spray for disinfecting the insoles and the insides of your shoes to keep them fresh. If you have a spare pair of shoes, you can also wash your shoes regularly to prevent bacteria and prevent foot odour from building up within the shoe. 

Eat a healthy and balanced diet

Some foods can actually cause your feet to smell more than others; this includes foods from the allium family like onion and garlic and brassicas like brussel sprouts, cabbage and kale. This is because these foods are rich in sulfur and other chemicals that could cause a reaction in your skin and cause a foul odour. Ensure you are practising good hygiene and regularly cleaning your feet to prevent further smelly feet problems. 

Keep your feet clean and dry 

It’s essential to wash your feet every day to prevent stinky feet. You should wash your feet with warm water and a soothing, moisturising soap or gel. Carefully dry your feet afterwards, so they don’t stay damp, using a towel or an air-dryer, and then apply deodorant or scented moisturiser to help keep odour to a minimum. 

Treating smelly feet

While it might seem challenging, treating smelly feet doesn’t have to be. The best way to treat smelly feet is by taking preventative methods like the ones mentioned above, but to help, here are a couple of things you can do. Remove any dead skin on your feet using a pumice stone or foot file, then thoroughly wash your feet using antibacterial soap. Give your shoes a good wash to remove any bacteria and unwanted odours.

If your feet are still persistently smelly after doing this, you should visit a podiatrist to get them checked out. Foot odour could be a sign of athlete’s foot or another underlying health problem that may require treatment. 

*This blog contains general information about medical conditions and is not advice. You must not rely upon the information in this blog as medical advice. Medical advice should always be sought from an appropriately qualified podiatrist such as ourselves.

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