Although foot odor is a common problem, it’s also one most of us would like to avoid. It can be embarrassing and downright unpleasant – for you and those around you. Fortunately, there are some common causes of stinky feet and some quick, simple ways you can help keep it at bay.
Hormones and Foot Sweat
It seems obvious: the more feet sweat, the more they tend to smell. But why do some people’s feet seem to always be sweaty? Hormones may be to blame.
Hormonal changes that occur during the teen years can lead to excessive foot sweating – and subsequent odor, especially in shoes worn frequently. So it’s not just your imagination – your teenage son’s feet really do stink worse than everyone else’s.
Similarly, a pregnant woman’s heightened sense of smell may make her more aware of her own foot odor. Pregnancy hormonal changes often cause feet to sweat more.
Stress can also play a role. The hormones your body releases when you’re anxious or stressed can make feet (and hands) sweat more than usual.
Medical Conditions Related to Foot Odor
Although sweaty feet aren’t always a cause for concern, it’s important to note that some medical conditions could be related to excessive sweating. A condition called secondary hyperhidrosis can result from certain conditions such as heart failure, Parkinson’s, diabetes, thyroid problems, rheumatoid arthritis, and more.
Secondary hyperhidrosis causes sweating all over the body – not just your feet. If you sweat excessively all over and don’t know the cause, a visit to your doctor is advised to rule out any possible medical problems.
How to Combat Foot Odor
If you’ve got foot odor due to hormones or you’re simply on your feet a lot, there are some measures you can take at home to combat this.
Let your shoes dry out. Alternate shoes each day and leave the damp ones out in open air for at least 24 hours or until they’ve dried completely.
Wash your feet thoroughly each day in the shower, preferably with an antibacterial soap. But, avoid harsh soaps if you have eczema or another skin condition. Just clean your feet thoroughly twice a day with a gentle skin cleanser.
That trusty antiperspirant you use under your arms can also be used on your feet! Apply a light layer to your freshly washed feet before you put on your socks or shoes.
Consider the materials in your footwear. Plastic or non-breathable shoes are bound to trap moisture and bacteria, leading to odor. And polyester or nylon socks don’t breathe as well as natural cotton or wool. You may wish to change into a clean, dry pair of socks half way through your day if possible.
See your podiatrist if your foot odor doesn’t improve with these steps. He or she may need to determine whether a bacterial or fungal infection is causing the issue, or may prescribe a stronger treatment to help combat the sweating.
Are you troubled by excessively sweaty feet or foot odor? Contact the podiatry office of Dr. Jeffery LaMour to get control of this condition and feel great about your feet again!