Foot odor is one of the most common problems people have with their feet. But it’s usually not that difficult to deal with; most foot odor is simply caused by sweat. All of us sweat in our shoes and socks, especially on long, hot days. That sweat can build up in shoes or on feet and react with common foot bacteria to cause odor issues. It can also be caused by fungal infections or other disorders. This is especially a concern for teenagers and for pregnant women, who tend to sweat more easily than most.
Here are some simple steps to take to prevent foot odor:
Wash your feet with soap regularly. Dry them thoroughly afterward, to ensure that bacteria and fungus won’t have anywhere moist and warm to get comfortable.
Don’t wear the same pair of socks for more than one day. Socks soak up most of the sweat from our feet throughout the day, making them an excellent potential breeding ground for odor-causing bacteria or fungus. Swap them out regularly to ensure that odor doesn’t have time to build up.
Don’t wear the same pair of shoes two days in a row. Shoes absorb plenty of sweat during the day, and they usually don’t dry out completely after just one night—especially if they spend the night in a cool, dark place. If you alternate between at least two pairs of shoes, they’ll each have plenty of time to dry and air out on their off days.
Keep your nails trimmed and clean. Long nails can catch and hold a lot of grime and sweat, along with bacteria and fungus. You might also want to use a gentle foot file to remove any hard, calloused skin, as hard skin can become soggy when wet, which provides bacteria a great place to grow.
Some other useful tips include using foot powders to keep your feet dry, swapping out plastic shoes for leather or canvas shoes that will allow your feet to breathe better, trying out foot-fresh socks that clear out perspiration better, using spray deodorant on your feet, or trying out medicated, deodorizing insoles.
If these simple foot care methods don’t get rid of the odor or decrease sweating over time, then give your podiatrist a call. They can evaluate the problem and recommend a more effective treatment, or determine whether or not a more severe infection or disorder is the root cause of the odor.