When compared to other conditions we treat here at Foot Specialists of Long Island, especially ones that cause pain or impair the functionality of feet or ankles, foot odor may not seem like a big deal at first. While there may not be painful symptoms, smelly feet can be embarrassing and make someone feel quite self-conscious. Our goal is to provide treatment for all foot and ankle problems that affect your enjoyment of life, including this one.
Causes of Foot Odor
There is frequently an association between feet and unpleasant odor, but this does not mean that your feet themselves create an inherent smell. On the contrary, the cause of the pungent aroma is often common bacteria that resides on the skin and breaks down sweat. A byproduct of that particular process is the release of the offensive odor.
Feet are usually covered in layers—socks and shoes or boots—which create a warm, humid environment where microorganisms can thrive. When moisture is trapped inside, it provides an ideal breeding ground for the odor-producing bacteria. Further contributing to the situation is the fact that feet rely on hundreds of thousand sweat glands for moisture, instead of oil-producing glands found elsewhere on the body.
The breakdown of sweat by bacteria is not the only cause of smelly feet, though. Diet, medication, stress, poor hygiene, alcohol and drugs, infections, and hormone changes can also play a role.
Foot Odor Treatment
No one wants to be known for having feet that smell, so the good news is that this condition does not have to be permanent. It can be treated successfully, and measures can also be taken to prevent the condition from happening in the first place.
A wide array of home remedies can be found that entail soaking smelly feet in various solutions—including saltwater, black tea, and sodium bicarbonate—to treat the condition. Before trying any unconventional treatments, be sure to check with our Nassau County, NY podiatry office for specific recommendations and advice. It is important to note that some remedies may actually lead to excessive skin dryness, which can cause other issues.
In the event of a severe case of funky foot odor, one that does not go away with home care, schedule an appointment with us and have Mark Gasparini, DPM assess the condition. There is a chance that you may require prescription-strength medication. In rare cases of hyperhidrosis—a condition that causes excessive sweating—we may recommend a surgical procedure for the nerve that regulates the levels of sweat in the feet.
Preventing Foot Odor
Prevention techniques are always preferable to needing treatment for an issue, even one that isn’t causing pain or impaired mobility. Some of the top ways for keep odor away are to:
Wash your feet daily with warm water and mild soap. Dry them completely afterwards before putting on clean socks.
Use proper trimming practices to keep your toenails at a reasonable length.
Wear clean, fresh socks every day, and choose pairs that are made of synthetic blends and have moisture-wicking properties.
Keep your feet as dry as possible throughout the day. If they become damp or wet, put on a dry pair of socks and shoes.
Wear shoes that are made out of materials that allow feet to breathe easily.
Have two different pairs of shoes for alternate days, to provide 24 hours between uses for each pair to dry out completely.
Spray your footwear with a disinfectant spray or sprinkle backing soda in them to eliminate bacteria.
Complete Foot and Ankle Care in Massapequa, NY
Foot odor is one of the many conditions that we help for our patients. Remember, foot pain is never normal and should be treated. So too should smelly feet that are causing embarrassment! Schedule an appointment at Foot Specialists of Long Island today and find the care you need. Call us at (516) 804-9038 or schedule an appointment with us online.