Feet smelling like vinegar? It could be sign of diabetes or kidney disease

Vinegar in food is great! But your feet smelling like vinegar is totally off-putting. Know why your the unpleasant smell is emanating from your feet.
callus remover
You can use a callus remover to get rid of the foot callus! Image courtesy: Adobe Stock
Natalia Ningthoujam Updated: 18 Oct 2023, 10:55 am IST
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Onions soaked in vinegar are perfect partners for delicious dishes like chicken handi and chicken masala. Salads also taste better with a little bit of vinegar. The same can be said about a bowl of noodles or any Chinese dish. Moving on from food to our body, if feet smell like vinegar then it is anything but pleasant. The sour smell emanating from your feet is not only off-putting, but it can also be a sign of diabetes or kidney disease. Read on to find out why your feet smell like vinegar and what you can do about it.

Health Shots reached out to Dr Sonal Bansal, consultant – dermatology, Fortis Memorial Research Institute, Gurugram, Haryana, to find out the possible causes of feet smelling like vinegar.

feet smelling like vinegar
If your feet smell like vinegar, it could be a sign of diabetes. Image courtesy: Adobe Stock

Why do feet smell like vinegar?

You don’t think so much about the smell when the vinegar is used as an ingredient in a dish. The same can’t be said about feet. Dr Bansal says that feet smelling like vinegar is basically a foul smell that comes from your sweat. So, if you are sweating profusely, your sweat can smell as bad as vinegar.

Here’s who sweats a lot:

• Teenagers tend to sweat a lot, mostly due to hormonal changes.
• People who have underlying conditions like diabetes or fungal infections can also produce sweat smelling like vinegar. If you have diabetes or a thyroid condition, it can lead to excessive sweating.
• People with hyperhidrosis, which is a skin disorder which causes you to sweat a lot.

Even in some kidney diseases, when extra urea starts producing in the blood, it can give rise to vinegar-like sweat. This happens because the urea gets broken down into some compounds by the presence of bacteria which is found on normal human skin, explains Dr Bansal.

Is feet smelling like vinegar common?

It is not a condition that is found in everyone, but many people can have feet that smell like vinegar, especially those who suffer from diabetes and kidney diseases.

Tips to get rid of vinegar-like smell

You can get rid of excessive sweating by adding vitamins to your diet. Hygiene also plays an important role in making sure that your feet don’t smell like vinegar.

Here’s what you can do to control the foul smell:

1. Wash feet at least two times in a day

Sweating is a major reason why the foul smell comes from your feet. So, it’s very important to keep your feet clean and dry. Wash them at least two times in a day before putting on your socks and shoes.

feet smelling like vinegar
Keep your feet clean and dry to combat vinegar-like smell. Image courtesy: Shutterstock

2. Wear cotton socks

Cotton is a breathable fabric, which is why it is a great option for your feet. They need to breathe as well! Also, change socks if they become a little moist. So, carry extra socks with you.

3. Use antiperspirants

Go for an antiperspirant which contains aluminum chloride hexahydrate, suggests the expert. It helps in controlling excessive sweating. Once you are able to control the sweating, the sour smell will also disappear.

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If these measures are not working then you should consult a doctor.

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About the Author

Natalia Ningthoujam has written on various subjects - from music to films and fashion to lifestyle - as a journalist in her career that started in 2010. After getting stories from the crime scene, police headquarters, and conducting interviews with celebrities, she is now writing on health and wellness which has become her focus area. ...Read More

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