And how to get them smelling sweet.
In essence, smelly feet are caused by sweat. Nothing earth shattering about that news. But what actually causes the smell is not the sweat itself, but the bacteria that feed on the sweat – called Bromodosis. Since feet are locked up tight in shoes most of the day, the sweat is not able to dry, hence creating the perfect environment for those Bromodosis to gorge themselves. Dark and damp. Not only that, but feet have more sweat glands than anywhere else on the body. Is it any wonder some of us have a problem?
Some people sweat more than others naturally. And sometimes other conditions – such as adolescence, pregnancy, menopause or stress – cause an increase in sweating, and thereby smelling.
How do you solve the problem?
There are a number of things you can do to reduce the funkiness of your feet:
- Aim for shoes that are made from natural fibres, which breathe more than synthetics. Leather or canvas are good options.
- The same goes for socks – cotton and bamboo are the best options, although you can now get socks that are specially treated (for instance some contain copper, charcoal or silver) which will reduce the funk.
- Cleanliness is next to… well, sweetness. Make sure you wash your feet with soap (try for an antibacterial soap) at least once a day, and make sure you wear fresh socks every day. And make sure you dry your feet properly before putting on shoes and socks – especially between the toes.
- Rotate your shoes. If you can avoid it, don’t wear shoes two days in a row. Give them time to dry out between wears. And whilst keeping things neat by putting them in the wardrobe at night might be your preference, it is good to leave them out in a bright, ventilated spot to aid with drying them out. A quick spritz with tea tree oil can also improve the smell.
- Specialist products – like foot soap, foot deodorant and foot powders can help. A little surgical spirit or tea tree oil between the toes can help.
Follow these few simple directions and your feet should be smelling if not rosy, then at least not like your shoes could get up and walk off on their own.
And if the problem persists – visit your podiatrist to ensure nothing more serious is going on. Our podiatrist is in the Baulkham Hills clinic Monday, Wednesday and Saturday, so call or email the clinic if you would like an appointment.