What is Foot Odor?
The foot has more than 250,000 sweat glands. Foot odor
is a common condition in children and adults who wear shoes on a daily basis. People with smelly feet may also suffer from sweaty feet
. Most people with this condition will have sweaty and smelly feet year round, not just during the summer.
Bacteria and/or fungus that grow in the shoes and attaches to the skin produce foot odor. Some bacteria actually eat away the top layer of the skin, producing a foul odor.
Neglected feet have skin that is up to 30 times thicker
than other parts of the body. As feet age, the skin becomes drier and more vulnerable to cracking at the heel, which can lead to infections. Calluses on toes may thicken. Toenails become thicker and more prone to fungus, which can cause odor.
How to Treat Foot Odor
Your foot and ankle doctor will recommend one of a variety of treatments for this condition:
- • Feet should be washed daily with soap and water and clean dry cotton socks should be worn.
- • Body creams and rich moisturizers that are used for elbows and legs work well on heels and foot calluses.
- • For cracked heels, also called heel fissures, creams containing dimethicone penetrate the epidermis and provide a protective layer that seals in moisture.
- • Moisture control pads, which contain aluminum chloride, can control moisture and odor. These pads are applied several times a week at bedtime.
- • Powders that absorb moisture and help prevent foot sweat are now available. They combine a variety of ingredients to control moisture and odor.
- • Foot odor is common when you wear shoes that don't "breathe." Usually, if you take off your shoes, wash your feet, and put on clean socks, the odor goes away.
- • Use a mixture of 1/2 vinegar and 1/2 isopropyl alcohol (rubbing alcohol) between your toes and irritated skin on the feet and spread it.
- • Wear sandals or open-toe shoes. This is so your feet stay cool and you don't produce as much sweat. Even when you do, it evaporates due to air circulation.
Persistent odor may mean a bacterial infection has developed. Prescription medicine may be needed to clear up the problem. Or it may mean that a fungal infection has developed. Athlete's foot is a common infection that usually causes a slight odor.
Remember, any type of foot or ankle pain is never normal. A foot and ankle doctor can examine your feet and give you the best course of action.
Please call 626-447-2184
(Arcadia) or 818-408-2800
(San Fernando) to speak to a foot and ankle specialist about your foot and/or ankle needs.