Smelly feet are a very unpleasant and embarrassing problem that many people deal with on a daily basis. This condition is often described as ammonia, vinegar or cheese smell emanating from the affected person’s feet, socks and shoes. In this discussion, you are going to learn about what causes, remedies and some good treatments.
To begin with, it should clear that anybody can have stinky feet or otherwise bromodosis regardless of age, gender, climatic condition or time of the year. However, there are certain factors that can make some people more susceptible to this condition than others. According to NHS.uk, “teenagers and pregnant women are especially prone because hormonal changes make them sweat more”. Let us now consider the causes.
What causes smelly feet?
The major causes of bromodosis sweaty feet. More interestingly, sweat alone has no odor, then how is this possible that sweating can cause this condition? Well, sweaty feet in combination with other factors that can lead to bad foot odor. Below are linked the factors:
We have already mentioned the fact that sweat is the major trigger of sweating feet and the human foot has around 250,000 sweat glands that produce 236mL of prescription per day. The bacteria living in the feet usually feed on dry, dead skin cells are often attracted by the sweaty footwear environment. During the feeding process, methanethiol is produced, a substance that has a sulfur-like smell similar to that of rotting cabbage. The most notorious bacterium, in this case, is Brevibacterium.
We also have Propionibacterium that is found in sebaceous sweat glands. It has the potential to break down amino acid present in the sweat into propionic acid, an acid that is usually unique due to its strong vinegar smell.
Last on the list is Staphylococcus epidermidis, which is found in the entire body, including your feet. When it interacts with sweat, it has the potential to produce isovaleric acid, which has a similar smell as cheese.
Prolonged wearing of footwear
You should also be careful with the prolonged wearing of shoes or boots, as this can also lead to this problem. It is true that the moisture produced by feet every day does evaporate before they could attract bacteria but the wearing of shoes, boots as well as shocks will not allow evaporation hence increasing the chances of bacteria growth.
Little evaporation often leads to excess sweat accumulation on your feet that may trigger skin infections. A common skin infection is Keratolysis. It is triggered by certain bacteria and occurs alongside depressions resembling crater on the soles and toes. This infection leads to the smell as if it has sulfur-like odor produced when the linked bacteria break the skin.
Fungal infections including athlete’s feet
Also, an athlete`s foot can trigger foot odor i.e. according to healthyfeetstore.com this fungal infection can result in this odor. The fungal infection often develops when people walk barefooted in moist areas.
Does it have something to do with your diet?
What somebody eats can trigger the general body odor including feet odor as well as bad breath. Nutrients that are contained in food are very fundamental for our day-to-day survival but some of them can influence our body to smell.
For instance, excess consumption of foods rich in a high amount of sulfides and another smelly ingredient can cause not only your feet but also the whole body to have a bad smell. People taking a high amount of proteins usually suffer a condition called ketosis odor. This is actually influenced by the little consumption of carbohydrates, which enhances the production of ketones. The smell of ketone is just like that of rotting fruits.
In addition, foods that usually have certain protein types will tend to have a high amount of choline and carnitine, which are metabolized by the body to produce trimethylamine. This compound also has a fishy odor.
Examples of foods that can lead to body odor are onions, garlic, asparagus, cabbage, mustard seed, red meat among many more.
Hyperhidrosis – sweaty
It happens when sweat glands become overactive. It is normal in a circumstance when the body temperature goes up, your nervous system to respond to such condition by influencing the eccrine glands to secrete sweat on the skin surface, and the body will be cooled through evaporation. This is a perfect procedure as your body is behaving pretty well!
In some individuals, the amount of sweat produced may surge beyond the normal level leading to sweaty feet, armpits, hands, etc. This condition normally results in body odor, including on armpits.
In some cases, hormonal variations can influence the sweat glands to produce excess sweat leading o smelly feet. According to WebMD, “Hormonal changes can cause feet to sweat more, so teenagers and pregnant women are especially prone”). Women undergoing periods and menopause can also experience certain hormonal changes that can alleviate the secretion of sweat by your body including feet skin.
Besides the above reasons, other reasons that can lead to this foot odor include the following:
- Poor personal hygiene
- Wearing the same shoe or socks every day
- Wearing poor quality shoe or socks
- Some diseases, for instance, those leading to sour feet
- Alcohol and drugs
How to prevent foot odor
To be able to maintain them fresh and free from any odor, you must adhere to high standard personal hygiene and know some of the safe and healthy footwear tips. This may at times call for use of some feet deodorants. Discussed below are the effective tips to be free from ty8sbad odor:
- Make sure to wash and dry your feet on a daily basis. Also change your socks a least once in a day to avoid a sweaty environment in your shoe. Wearing good quality socks (made of cotton) is another brilliant idea.
- You should always keep your toenails short and clean to avoid trapping bacteria. Also, don’t allow hard skin on your feet since they may easily turn foggy in moistened environment hence enhancing bacterial growth
- Stop wearing one pair of shoe in a row. Wear at least different pairs for different days to provide ample time for your shoe to dry out
- In case you are a parent or a guardian, make sure that your teenager has more than one pair of shoes as well as socks
- Watch on your diet and stop overusing foods rich in high amounts of sulfides or avoid too much consumption of if they cause your smelly feet
Helpful tips and remedies
Some people tend to have high chances of experiencing feet odor than others. This may depend on certain underlying factors that may vary from one individual to another. In case you are defenseless to sweaty or smelly feet, below are the tips to keep yours through this storm.
- After taking shower, prepare cotton wool dipped in a surgical spirit and apply it between your toes to dry the skin between the toes
- You can also use deodorant or antiperspirant. This products acts perfectly and are relatively affordable
- It is also a good idea to use feet-fresh socks. These are sports socks that have ventilation to help in keeping them dry and fresh. In addition, go for antibacterial socks, which contain chemicals to limit odor-producing bacteria.
- Wearing leather and canvas shoes is also another of the good stinky feet remedies. This follows the fact that they will make them breathe comfortably.
- You can also cleverly response to some climatic changes that lead to sweaty feet i.e. during summertime, wear open-toed sandals.
- Use treated insoles which have the ability to induce a deodorizing effect.
- Find time to soak your feet to get rid of flaky skins
- Try some home products that have the ability to destroy the causative bacteria and to keep the feet dry. These products include baking soda, lavender oil, alum, Epsom salt, black tea, and vinegar.
Smelly feet treatment – ways to stop the smell
Is there a way to treat or cure smelly feet? If you have this problem, do not worry since cures this problem is fast and simple. So below are some of the treatments that can be used to stop smelly feet.
a. Antibacterial foot scrub
You can wash them using antibacterial soaps called such as Hibiscrub. Though there might be numerous products for smelly feet in the local chemist, Hibiscrub still stands to be the best medicine for smelly feet as far as over the counter foot hygiene products are concerned.
You can apply it, leave for 20 minutes, and then wash it off. Repeat this procedure twice a week and for sure after three weeks you will have banished the smell.
Warning: Don’t use Hibiscrub on your foot if you have broken skin such as eczema!
b. Antifungal Treatment
Antifungal products can be used to wash feet and your body to reduce body odor. There are also antifungal foot odor powder, creams and foot spray for a smelly foot that can be used to reduce the fungal invasion and keep them dry.
This special medication can be prescribed by your doctor when the smelly feet problem seems to be severe. It involves delivering mild electric current through water to the feet to limit excessive sweating which is the major catalyst for the development of this problem.
When to See a Doctor
Usually, this problem is mild. However, if it severe, it can as well be an indication of various medical conditions. See your doctor if you start to experience chronic stinky feet or when other over the counter products seem to be barely effective.