Foot Odor - Eliminating Foul Scents

Robert G. Parker
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Dr. Parker is a podiatrist and surgeon in Houston, TX who has been helping patients for more than 40 years.

The scent from sweaty shoes and smelly feet can fill a whole room. If someone struggling with foot odor slips off their shoes, it usually isn’t long before you notice. If you’re the one with the foul feet, it can be quite embarrassing to remove your footwear around your friends and family. With a little help, however, you can eliminate the problem.

Smelly, Sweaty Bacteria

Smelly, sweaty feetNo one likes foot odor. It’s embarrassing to have it and unpleasant for anyone else nearby to smell it. The foul scent is caused by your sweat mixing with the bacteria on the surface of your feet. You have several hundred thousand sweat glands on your lower limbs. These can produce a pint of moisture a day. You also have colonies of bacteria that naturally grow on the surface of your feet. When they mix with your sweat, they break it down and release waste products—the source of the terrible smell.

They also multiply rapidly and tend to transfer to both your socks and your shoes. They’ll continue to grow, multiply, and break down your sweat long after you’ve taken off your footwear, too. Then when you put everything back on later, especially if it hasn’t dried out, you re-expose your feet to the old bacteria and compound any odor problem. Hormone changes, stress, some medications, and even poor hygiene can all make the situation—and the smell—worse.

Sweetening the Feet

Fortunately, you can take steps to eliminate foot odor and manage your lower limb perspiration. Dr. Robert Parker will work with you to determine if you have any condition that might cause excess sweating. Our expert staff can also help you work on ways to eliminate the scent. You’ll need to treat both your lower limbs and your shoes to truly get rid of your smelly feet.

Start by washing your feet with water and soap every day. After you pat them completely dry with a towel, including in between the toes, use a deodorant or antiperspirant on them. Our staff may recommend powders, ointments, or creams as well, especially if you perspire a lot. We may also suggest special soaks, like tea or saltwater, to discourage excess moisture.

Change your socks every day, and several times a day if you sweat heavily. Don’t wear the same pair of shoes two days in a row, either. Alternate between pairs so that each has a chance to dry out for a full day before you wear them again. While your shoes are drying out, sprinkle in loose baking soda, or fill a sock with kitty litter. Leave that in the shoes overnight and remove or dump it out the next day. Removing any separate insoles to dry on their own is also a good idea. If your feet sweat excessively and these conservative measures are not helping, a noninvasive procedure like iontophoresis may reduce your perspiration.

You don’t have to resign yourself to keeping your lower limbs locked away in shoes when you are around your friends to avoid sharing your smelly feet. Get expert help at Parker Foot & Ankle in Houston to eliminate your foot odor. Call (281) 497-2850 or use our website contact page to reach our office for more information or an appointment.