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Sweating is an essential part of our body’s cooling system. To regulate body temperature, the body releases excess heat via sweat glands in the form of sweat. Our feet are not exempt from this process. But when it comes to sweaty feet, it makes them more stinky and smelly than the rest of the body.
Have you ever taken off your shoes and got a whiff of foul odour coming from your feet? In that case, you must have run to wash your feet or put your smelly shoes out of your room to get rid of the smell. Didn’t you? But have you ever tried to find the solution to it? Ever wondered why do your feet smell so bad? If you haven’t yet, let us tell you all about it!
First of all you’re not alone in this! Many people have smelly feet. The problem is that only a few people come forward to look out for a solution because of the shame and embarrassment associated with it. But did you know that smelly feet are a medical condition which needs treatment? When HealthShots reached out to Dr Deepa Krishnamurthy Consultant Dermatologist Manipal Hospital Sarjapur Road Bengaluru, she explained, “Smelly feet are also called medically as bromodosis. It’s a very common medical condition.”
She adds that some people suffer from issues like damp feet and odour at the same time. And unfortunately, it can affect the daily lives of many, causing little social life especially if it’s related to being in gym outdoors in the heat of summer or in a situation where shoes need to be removed.”
Feet have more sweat glands compared to the rest of the body. In people with hyperhidrosis (a condition of abnormally excessive sweating in extremities), sweating is increased considerably. Hyperhidrosis can be genetic, hormonal changes, or due to certain medical conditions. When you sweat, it accumulates on the feet, and in the socks and shoes, bacteria flourish.
Bacteria such as brevibacterium and propionibacteria act on the accumulated sweat and lead production of foul odour.
According to Krishnamurthy, a warm and moist environment caused by sweating acts like a growth medium for fungus to grow and thrive. These fungal infections lead to smelly feet.
Athlete’s foot commonly occurs in people whose feet have become very sweaty while confined within tight-fitting shoes. Fungal infections like athlete’s foot can also lead to bromodosis.
Failure to change socks regularly and failure to wash feet after removing socks can also lead to smelly feet.
Bacteria and fungus thrive in moist areas, so keeping your feet dry will help reduce foot odor. Apply a lotion especially meant for foot care after drying your feet well. And do not apply shoe powder or food powder.
If you need to wear shoes, get properly fitted shoes. Shoes that may be too tight reduce air circulation and increase sweating. To avoid it, dry your feet well after they have been wet, especially between your toes, suggests Krishnamurthy.
Krishnamurthy says, “Change socks regularly and wash your feet after removing shoes and socks.” Also, after washing your feet make sure they are thoroughly dry before putting on socks and shoes again.
Wipe down your feet with an alcohol wipe to close up your pores and reduce sweating temporarily.
Plastic is constructed from fossil fuel and is not a natural material. It cannot breathe like a natural material can and may trap sweat near the skin.
After you remove your shoes, put some baking soda in them to soak up excess moisture. This prevents nasty smelling bacteria and festering.
Regular exfoliation removes dead cells and salt soaks, says Krishnamurthy.
Go barefoot whenever you can. The air will kill fungus and let sweat evaporate without going rancid.
When you wear socks, wear kind made from natural fibres like cotton, wool, silk and high tech synthetic fibre like wicking polyester. And try to avoid wearing nylon stockings everyday for healthy and happier feet.
Don’t get embarrassed over the condition, instead follow these tips and get rid of the stinky feet.