No one wants to smell badly. A foul odor fuming up from your feet can make you feel self-conscious on a date, at a business meeting, or even just walking down the street. In addition, while stinky feet may be common, they can also be symptoms of more serious podiatric problems, so it’s best not to ignore them entirely. At Dr. Jeffery LaMour’s Austin podiatry practice, we help patients deal with all sorts of foot-related difficulties, including smelly feet. Of course, if you want to tame the stench and give your feet a sweeter scent, you first need to figure out what’s causing them to smell at all. In the following blog, Dr. LaMour details exactly why your feet might smell and what you can do about it.
You’ve almost certainly noticed a less-than-rosy smell when taking off your shoes or washing your socks at some point, but you might not know the science behind this stink. As WebMD explains, the “medical name” for this condition is “bromodosis, [and it] can affect anyone.”
As you might have suspected, stinky feet have a lot to do with sweat and bacteria: “the function of sweat glands is to keep the skin moist and therefore supple, and to regulate temperature.” While they have their purpose, sweat glands can also get out of hand, and your feet are particularly prone to odor because “there are more sweat glands in our feet than anywhere else in the body.” Adding further power to your podiatric stench is the fact that “the sweat glands in the feet secrete all the time, not just in response to heat or exercise.” This means that, to some degree, your feet’s many glands are always sweating.
Sweat on its own can have a mild odor, but it’s when bacteria enter the picture that foot smells get more serious. WebMD notes: “feet smell when bacteria on the skin break down sweat as it comes from the pores. A cheesy smell is released as the sweat decomposes.” Ultimately, it’s the synthesis between many sweat glands and the bacteria on your feet that creates a truly remarkable reek.
As it turns out, the formula for smelly feet is pretty simple—sweat plus bacteria equals stink. There are many situations that could cause this equation to add up to odor. A few of the most widespread factors in bromodosis include:
- Footwear. Your shoes could be the source of your stinky feet. As Fox News reports: “when the foot sweats, ‘usually it is trapped inside a shoe, and the sweat can’t evaporate’…this is true of most types of shoes, especially those made with synthetic materials and closed toes. As shoes get worn, dead skin and bacteria can build up inside, holing that pungent smell hostage.” Basically, your favorite cloth ballet slippers or gym shoes could be serving as incubators for odor, allowing bacteria to further infect your feet every time you put them on. If you’ve noticed that your feet tend to stink in certain shoes, you might consider either cleaning them or throwing them out. Old socks can also perpetuate the same vicious, smelly cycle, particularly if you don’t wash them appropriately.
- Infection. Without bacteria to decompose your sweat, your feet wouldn’t really stink much. Fungal infections like athlete’s foot could also be to blame.
- Stress. Anxiety and high-pressure circumstances can cause you to sweat more, providing more material for bacteria to break down into their stinky components.
- Activity. Since stress is a major component of bromodosis, it makes sense that walking or running all day could worsen this condition. If you spend a lot of time on your feet, it’s particularly important to clean your feet regularly, wear breathable socks, and choose the right shoes.
- Hormonal changes. WebMD explains: “teenagers and pregnant women are especially prone” to stinky feet, given the changes their bodies undergo.
- Podiatric hygiene. It makes common sense that cleaning up your feet could help them smell a bit better. Scrubbing your feet with soap and water on a daily basis help wash away bacteria and sweat. On the flip side, poor podiatric hygiene can lead to or worsen bromodosis.
If you suffer from stinky feet, chances are, one or more of the above elements are affecting your podiatric health.
Fending Off Foot Smell
Once you understand the causes of bromodosis, the solutions to foot stench become relatively simple. While overall health factors like hormonal changes can be more difficult to address, you can do a lot for your foot odor by taking a closer look (or sniff) at your footwear, minimizing foot activity if possible, cleaning your feet appropriately, and treating any infections.
If you suffer from bromodosis, you should see Dr. LaMour for a consultation, since a bacterial or fungal infection may require professional podiatric care. Furthermore, we can recommend footwear and teach you podiatric hygiene tips to help you better care for your feet. With a full suite of outstanding foot and ankle services, we’re available to assist you in any way we can.
Do Your Feet Smell?
You don’t have to simply live with this embarrassing, uncomfortable, and potentially unhealthy condition! Contact our Austin podiatry practice today to learn more and schedule an appointment with Dr. LaMour.
Original Source: https://www.drjefflamour.com/foot-care/why-do-my-feet-smell/