Do you ever think, “my feet stink,” when you toss off your shoes after a long day? If you dread the lingering stench, we are here to help. Foot and Ankle specialist Kosta Antonopoulos, DPM, says it’s actually a pretty common problem. He explains what causes stinky feet and ways to get rid of foot odor.
“The primary cause is from a lack of ventilation for your feet. There are thousands of sweat glands in feet, which produce quite a bit of sweat each day. The unpleasant smell comes when the perspiration isn’t allowed to evaporate.”
However, Dr. Antonopoulos says it isn’t actually the sweat causing the foot odor. There are numerous bacteria that normally lives on feet, which feed off the sweat, producing a particular acid which actually causes the odor.
If that’s not enough, fungus also thrives in warm, moist environments like sweaty feet. So, if the bacteria on your foot isn’t what causes foot odor, the fungus on your feet might be the culprit. Many people know the fungus as Athlete’s foot, and it can also cause the foot to smell unpleasant.
Dr. Antonopoulos says other foot odor causes include poor hygiene, wearing the same shoes every day and some disease processes. However, toenail issues do not play any role in the overall stench of your feet, nor does gender.
Dr. Antonopoulos suggests six, non-prescription suggestions for stinky feet.
If you’ve tried all six options above, Dr. Antonopoulos suggests contacting your primary care provider for more advice. Medical professionals can offer a variety of other options.
It’s easy to say, “Try to stay calm and cool,” but Dr. Antonopoulos says increased amounts of stress can actually lead to increased perspiration—which doesn’t help anyone who is fighting odors.
“Hormonal changes can cause you to sweat more, too. For this reason, teenagers and pregnant women are more prone to smelly feet,” Dr. Antonopoulos says.
Finally, a condition known as hyperhidrosis can cause more perspiration than usual in areas like the hands, underarms and feet. While people usually sweat to cool the body, those with hyperhidrosis sweat even when the body’s temperature doesn’t need to be regulated.