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Causes and treatments for smelly feet and foot sweat

Updated on 25 March 2023

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Sweaty feet are a normal phenomenon, but when it becomes a problem, it is possible to determine the causes and find a treatment. What is the function of sweating and why does it cause smelly feet?

What causes feet to sweat?

Even though sweating in the foot is a normal part of life, it may quickly turn into a nuisance due to the foul smells it produces. The causes of those unpleasant odors are listed below.

We have sweat glands under our skin that help us maintain a healthy body temperature. Sweating is a nervous system-induced reaction in which excess heat is expelled through perspiration. When it comes into touch with microorganisms on the skin, such as bacteria or fungus, it can cause bad smells.

Sweat glands are divided into two types: apocrine sweat glands and eccrine sweat glands. Apocrine sweat glands secrete perspiration, often with a foul odor, and are attached to the root of the hair. The latter are more numerous and are found in large numbers on the palms of the hands, under the feet and on the forehead. They cause pores in the skin, and owing to the properties of the shoe and sock that cover the foot, these secretions generate a bad odor in the case of smelly feet.

When the production of sweat becomes excessive, it is a condition called hyperhidrosis. This can happen as a result of a strong emotion, such as anxiety or fear, or as a result of exerting a substantial amount of effort.

Hyperhidrosis in the feet can be uncomfortable and create the impression that you are wearing stinky shoes. The feet are encased in shoes that do not allow for appropriate air circulation and socks that are not designed for them, creating a hot and humid environment that allows germs to thrive. Bad smells are formed when perspiration comes into touch with them, giving you smelly feet and shoes. 

How to prevent sweaty and smelly feet?

The good news is that there are a number of simple ways to keep your feet from smelling bad. Maintaining the state of socks and foot humidity, as well as using anti-odor products like deodorizers, are a few strategies to swiftly get rid of unpleasant odors caused by foot sweat.

Keeping your feet clean is the most important thing you can do to avoid smells. Washing your feet with antibacterial soap at least once a day, twice if possible, and paying special attention to the crevices between your toes is usually a sufficient and effective precaution. Then, immediately before putting on your socks, spray an odor remover on your feet.

Check the condition of your socks throughout the day. If your feet are moist, the humidity in your feet must be high as well. Before putting on a fresh pair of clean socks, make sure your feet are clean and dry.

Finally, inspect your footwear: if your feet are continually moist, it is time to switch to a more breathable type of shoe. Another option is to consult your podiatrist about insoles that will allow your feet to expel moisture and be replaced at regular intervals.

What are the treatment options?

Although discussing the difficulty and discomfort of smelly feet may feel embarrassing, your podiatrist is your best bet for treatment.

It is reasonable to anticipate this unpleasant occurrence to vanish with the correct information and practices. Including a thorough foot care practice in your daily routine might help you restore good foot smell once more. However, if this is insufficient, specific treatments offered in pharmacies can prove to be of help.

Antiperspirants, which reduce sweating by being sprayed on the feet, as well as deodorant products, which come in the form of cream, spray, or powder, are all available over the counter in pharmacies.

Which foot odor treatment should you choose?

If your feet are sweating and bothering you in your everyday life, speaking with a podiatrist will help you discover the causes and find a treatment that will help you get rid of them. Schedule an appointment with one of the FootNetwok‘s foot health specialists today.

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