This is Why Your Feet Smell...and 7 Ways to Fight Off Odor

As summer draws to a close, I want to talk about something we may all have experienced in hot, sweaty, humid Houston: smelly feet!
When your feet smell, you might not care why they get so stinky, but knowing the cause of the odor is actually useful when it comes to beating back the stench. Read on for the top 5 causes (and cures!) for smelly feet:

Why Do My Feet Smell?

Sweat: Sweat carries bacteria and, left unchecked, this bacteria breaks down your sweat and dead skin cells, sparking a nasty little scent. The best solution to this kind of odor? Wearing sweat-wicking socks and changing them frequently.  

Over Worn Shoes: Like socks, shoes absorb sweat, bacteria and odor. But, unlike socks, they don’t get washed on a regular basis. To keep smells from building up, try and gives shoes a day off to let fresh air in and smell-causing germs out.

Stress: Pressure often makes you sweat  (see point 1) but sweating when you’re stressed makes you extra smelly. Tale note and come armed with extra extra socks.

Hormones: Hormones have been known to make you sweatier and stinkier—hello, teenage socks—but this kind of stink is also known to affect pregnant women. Know that this time will pass, though it may take a while.

Infections: Of all the causes of smelly feet, this is one that should prompt a doctor’s visit. Infections such as athlete’s foot can leave feet itchy, scaly and—you guessed it—smelly. Fungal infections should be seen and treated by a podiatrist; over-the-counter treatments don’t perform as well as one might hope.



What Can I Do About Foot Odor?

You just KNOW her feet smell great: and yours can too, with a little help from your friendly foot doc!

 

Now we know some reasons why your feet may smell. And maybe you think you're unafffected by any of them. But, to paraphrase a line from Outkast’s “Roses”: I know you like to think your feet don’t stink, but lean a little bit closer…

Many of us suffer from smelly feet, but only some of us are aware of that fact. If you want to keep your feet fresh and odor free, read on for these scent-defying tips from your Houston podiatrist (and check out my recent blog on why our feet start to smell in the first place!)

1.     When wearing closed shoes, always wear socks.

2.    Choose shoes made of leather, canvas, mesh, or other breathable materials.

3.     Bathe feet daily in lukewarm water, and scrub with a gentle soap. Dry thoroughly before putting on socks again, to prevent fungus from growing.

4.     Change your socks everyday; if your feet sweat a lot or you’ve gone to exercise, change more often.

5.     Look for patches of red, dry or itchy skin between your toes and on the tops of your feet, as they could indicate a fungal infection that needs immediate treatment.

6.     Apply foot deodorant, spray or lotion to quell the smell.

7.     Consider switching to a moisture-wicking sock to keep feet dry.

If stinky feet or other foot issues are causing you discomfort, don’t wait for the problem to go away on its own (because it might not!) Schedule an appointment with Dr. Andrew Schneider today so you can start feeling better about your feet (and yourself!)

Dr. Andrew Schneider
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Dr. Andrew Schneider is a podiatrist and foot surgeon at Tanglewood Foot Specialists in Houston, TX.