Phone

(251) 928-6768

Locations:

Fairhope, Brewton, Atmore, Jay



The feet and hands contain more sweat glands than any other part of the body (about 3,000 glands per square inch). Feet smell for two reasons: you wear shoes and your feet sweat. The interaction between your perspiration and the bacteria that thrive in your shoes and socks generates the odor. Any attempt to reduce foot odor has to address both your sweating and your footwear.

Smelly feet can also be caused by an inherited condition called hyperhidrosis, or excessive sweating, which primarily affects males. Stress, some medications, fluid intake and hormonal changes also can increase the amount of perspiration your body produces.

In general, smelly feet can be controlled with a few preventive measures:

  • Always wear socks with closed shoes.
  • Avoid wearing nylon socks or plastic shoes. Instead, wear shoes made of leather, canvas, mesh, or other materials that let your feet breathe.
  • Bathe feet daily in lukewarm water, using a mild soap. Dry thoroughly.
  • Change socks and shoes at least once a day.
  • Check for fungal infections between toes and on the bottoms of your feet. If any redness or dry, patchy skin is observed, get treatment right away.
  • Don't wear the same pair of shoes two days in a row. If you frequently wear athletic shoes, alternate pairs so that the shoes can dry out. Give your shoes at least 24 hours to air out between wearing's; if the odor doesn't go away, discard the shoes.
  • Dust your feet frequently with a non medicated baby powder or foot powder. Applying antibacterial ointment also may help.
  • Practice good foot hygiene to keep bacteria levels at a minimum.
  • Wear thick, soft socks to help draw moisture away from the feet. Cotton and other absorbent materials are best.

Treating Foot Odor

The best home remedy for foot odor is to soak feet in strong black tea for 30 minutes a day for a week. The acid in the tea kills the bacteria and closes the pores, keeping your feet dry longer. Use two tea bags per pint of water. Boil for 15 minutes, and then add two quarts of cool water. Soak your feet in the cool solution. Alternately, you can soak your feet in a solution of one part vinegar and two parts water.

Persistent foot odor can indicate a low-grade infection or a severe case of hereditary sweating. In these cases, you need to see a foot doctor and a prescription ointment may be required to treat the problem.

Treating Excessive Sweating
A form of electrolysis, called iontophoresis, has been shown to reduce excessive sweating of the feet. However, it is more difficult to administer. In the worst cases of hyperhidrosis, a podiatric surgeon can cut the nerve that controls sweating. Recent advances in technology have made this surgery much safer, but may increase sweating in other areas of the body.

If you have any of these symptoms, call Southeast Podiatry to make an appointment with Dr. Brent Harwood or Dr. Brad Egly.