Stinky Feet!!

Are you embarrassed to take your shoes off when you are not in your own home? Every day when you get home from work, and take your shoes off, are your socks damp? Do you need to store your shoes in the garage because of their odor? Does your family hold their breath and run out of the room when you walk in?

If you answered yes to these questions, you are suffering from bromhidrosis, which is the medical term for body odor, which includes stinky feet. 

Your feet have more sweat glands (250,000) than any other part of the body, so while wearing closed shoes, your feet may sweat more and the dampness has no way to escape. In fact, each day one foot alone may sweat a total of 1 pint! However, it is not this sweatiness that is the primary cause of the stinky feet; it is the normal bacterial flora that lives on your skin, which thrives best in areas of dampness. This flora secretes isovaleric acid, which is the cause of the odor. There are several causes for why feet sweat besides wearing closed shoes. Some of these causes are:

  • Hyperhidrosis-condition of overactive sweat glands
  • Stress
  • Hormonal changes

However, there is good news! There are many different treatments that can be tried to kill the stench radiating from your feet! Although, you may have to try several different treatments, since everyone has a slightly different body makeup, so there is no one known treatment that for sure works for everyone.

  • Washing treatment: Wash your feet several times a day. Thoroughly dry your feet after these washings. If your feet are becoming too dry and cracked, reduce the number of washings. If additional washings are not helping, try to add ½ cup of sea salt to a one-quart bucket to soak your feet in. After about 15 minutes of soaking let your feet air dry, which will leave the salt on the skin, which provides a drying effect to reduce the sweatiness of the feet.  
  • Change shoe gear: Try to wear shoes that are open to the air, such as sandals. If you cannot wear sandals and need to wear closed shoes, try to avoid shoes that are made out of a plastic synthetic material, which holds in moisture. Also, give your shoes time to dry out, so do not wear the same shoes every day, but rotate them. If you wear insoles in your shoes change them as needed to cut down on the odor from your shoes. Also, wear socks that are not too heavy that the sweat is being trapped in and change your socks if/as they become damp.
  • Over-the-counter treatment: There are numerous products, such as powders to put in socks and shoes, deodorants, creams and lotions to apply to feet, which is usually done daily.

If none of these self or over-the-counter treatments are effective, there are several treatments that a podiatrist can provide you with to get rid of your smelly feet. A podiatrist can prescribe you various medications to help reduce foot sweating. In severe cases, there are two treatments that are aggressive, but are possibilities. One is the injection of Botox into the area. Botox works by preventing the nerves from telling the body that it needs to sweat. The downfall to Botox is that it is expensive and more than one treatment is usually needed. Iontophoresis is another treatment option. How iontophoresis exactly works is still a mystery. The theory is that by soaking feet in water with a small electrical current, it will block the sweat glands and pores. As you can see, there are numerous of treatments that can be tried, so visit the Platte Valley Foot and Ankle Clinic for help in combating stinky feet.

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