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Walk Smart: Tips For Stinky Feet

Dr. Munir Hussain

3 min read

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Nothing lowers self-esteem like bad foot odour in public. While stinky feet aren’t your fault, they’re caused either by the 250,000 sweat glands or the natural foot bacteria releasing is ovaleric acid when confined in a dark moist shoe environment, according to doctors you can easily combat these actions for nice-smelling feet after a strenuous day. Let’s first go over what causes smelly feet and then we will discuss the stinky feet remedies. 

What causes smelly feet?

The body releases sweat to keep it cool and regulate temperature by maintaining moisture in the skin. Your feet have more sweat glands than any other part of the body, leading to a lot of concentrated sweat production.

The production of sweat in the feet is higher for teenagers and pregnant women due to the hormones being produced by the body at this stage. Other factors may also lead to sweatier feet. These include, medical conditions, stress or a routine which involves a lot of walking.

Sweat itself does not have the foul odor we usually associate with it. The odor comes from bacteria breaking down or feeding off the sweat. There are some bacteria on the feet which exist naturally and help break down the sweat. If these build up it can lead to foul smelling odors being released from the region. The amount of bacteria can increase if a person sweats in their shoes, takes them off and then wears them again without giving ample time for their feet to fully dry.

If proper hygiene or foot washing routines are not implemented, extra bacteria can form on your feet which can lead to issues such as bromodosis and a worsening of the foul odor.

1- Keep Your Feet Clean

Wash your feet daily with warm, soapy water and antibacterial soap, making sure to scrub between toes and around the nails to prevent bacteria concentration and avoid moisture collection by drying your feet thoroughly. For added dryness and sterility, dab spirit-dipped cotton between your toes and apply cornstarch over your feet.

2. Keep your feet dry

Drying your feet is an important step towards reducing their odor. Moisture is a popular cause of foot odor and you should make it a habit of drying your feet properly after bathing or swimming. According to doctors, you should keep your feet, shoes and socks as dry as possible to reduce their odor.

If your routine or activity is such that your feet get sweaty often as the day progresses it is a good idea to keep an extra pair of socks in your bag and change into these after workout or during the middle of the day.

The material of your shoes and socks also plays an important role in keeping them dry. Natural materials such as cotton or leather allow the moisture to evaporate whereas synthetic materials such as nylon or plastic trap the moisture and worsen foot odor.

3- Stop Perspiring with Antiperspirant

Deodorants simply eliminate foot odor, so use roll-on antiperspirants containing aluminum chloride hexahydrate 2-3 times a day to reduce sweating and keep your feet smelling fresh. Forego the antiperspirant if you have athlete’s foot as it will cause stinging.

4- It’s All in The Shoes

Sprinkle the insides of your shoes with talcum powder for a fresh scent or put thin socks stuffed with baking-soda in the shoes and tie the socks tightly if you don’t want to stain the shoes with the white powder.

5- Show Shoe Sense

Closed shoes provide an optimum environment for bacterial and fungal growth, so try wearing open-toed shoes or sandals-aside from rubber or plastic shoes-during summer more often and opt for closed shoes with mesh uppers to increase foot breath-ability. Allow your shoes a 24-hour rest to dry out properly by rotating your shoe schedule.

6- Sock Hygiene

Wear clean, dry socks as moist socks can also promote bacterial growth and foot odour. Turn your socks inside-out before washing to ensure maximum cleansing.

7- Material Matters

Wool socks absorb moisture and provide ventilation, making them a better choice over cotton and synthetic materials, which tend to hold moisture close to the skin. Insole inserts made with activated charcoal help in odour absorption, along with leather or canvas shoes, which allow sweat to evaporate. Never wear shoes without socks though, as it leads to sweat accumulation.

8- Vinegar and Tea Soaks

Add 1 part vinegar to 2 parts water and soak your feet 3 times a day, 20 minutes each to reduce the level of odour causing bacteria. Avoid vinegar in case of cuts or sores as it irritates the skin. You can also try soaking in tea, which contains tannin that acts as a drying agent and antibiotic. Boil 3-4 tea bags in 1 quart of water, add cold water to lower temperature and soak once or twice a day for 20 minutes.

9- Mint Oil

Rub a 1 to 2 drops of mint onto your soles before wearing sock-less shoes like pumps to evade foot and shoe odour and keep your feet smelling minty fresh.

Stinky feet might also be an indication of Athlete’s foot or other conditions, in which case, medical care is advised. Book an appointment with a Top General Physician in Lahore, Karachi and Islamabad through oladoc.com. Or call on our helpline at 042-3890-0939 for assistance to find the RIGHT Doctor for your needs.

Disclaimer: The contents of this article are intended to raise awareness about common health issues and should not be viewed as sound medical advice for your specific condition. You should always consult with a licensed medical practitioner prior to following any suggestions outlined in this article or adopting any treatment protocol based on the contents of this article.

Dr. Munir Hussain - Author Dr. Munir Hussain Shah is among the Best Nutritionists in Multan. Dr. Munir Hussain Shah is a Nutritionist practicing in Multan. Dr. Munir Hussain Shah has the following degrees: MBBS, PGD (ALOU) and has 32 years of experience. You can book an appointment with Dr. Munir Hussain Shah by calling us or using the 'book appointment' button.
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