Can you guess which areas of your body contain the most sweat glands? With over 3,000 glands per square inch, your hands and feet are at the top of the chart. These glands release sweat throughout the day to keep the skin moist. When this sweat builds up, it may cause your feet and shoes to smell. Not to fear! With a little TLC, smelly shoes and foot odor can be treated and prevented.
Rid Your Feet of Odor-Causing Bacteria
Feet smell for two reasons: shoe wear and sweat. It's a vicious cycle. The interaction between perspiration and the bacteria that thrive in your socks and shoes are what generates the odor. Bacteria love these dark and damp conditions, and when it breaks down the droplets of sweat, your feet begin to smell. This means that in order to reduce foot odor, we must address both sweat and footwear.
What Causes my Feet to Sweat?
Excessive sweating of the feet can not only be embarrassing, but physically uncomfortable as well. Hyperhidrosis, or sweaty feet, may be caused by a number of things: inheritance, stress levels, poor hygiene, certain medications, fluid intake, and hormonal changes that increase the amount of perspiration our bodies produce. Even the type of sock or shoe you wear can lead to an increase in sweat and prevent it from evaporating or being absorbed.
Control the Perspiration
Anyone can get sweaty feet, regardless of temperature or time of year, but it's up to you to prevent them from smelling. To control perspiration try a few of Dr. Victoria Melhuish's preventative measures:
Practice good hygiene:
After washing your feet, be sure to dry them thoroughly, especially between the toes.
Always keep your toenails clipped and clean.
Examine your feet daily. Look for dead skin and carefully remove it with a foot file. Hard calluses and dead skin become soggy when damp, which provides an ideal home for bacteria.
Dust your feet with non-medicated baby powder or foot powder.
Be Selective with Socks and Shoes:
Wear shoes made of quality leather, mesh, or canvas and avoid nylon and plastic. Your feet need to be surrounded by a breathable material.
Alternate your shoes every day. If you wear insoles, take them out at night to dry.
Consider wearing open toe shoes in the summer and allow your feet to dry out by going barefoot while lounging in the house.
Treating the Odor
Believe it or not, a great way to get rid of foot odor is to soak your feet in strong, black tea, 30 minutes a day, for a full week. Two bags of tea are required per pint of water. Boil the water for 15 minutes, then add two quarts of cool water. Continue to soak your feet in the cool solution. Why tea, you ask? The acid in the tea closes open pores and kills bacteria. This allows your feet to stay dry longer. If this remedy doesn't work for you, visit Sierra Foot & Ankle Clinic. Stubborn foot odor could be an indication of infection or a severe case of hereditary sweating, and we can help.
We want you to be comfortable in your own skin! With expert care from Victoria Melhuish, DPM, foot odor can be eliminated. Request an appointment or more information from Sierra Foot & Ankle here in Carson City, Nevada by calling (775) 783-8037 or by filling out our online request form.