Your senses are useful for a variety of tasks and objectives, including understanding when something is wrong with your body. Your senses of touch and sight are often quite valuable in this regard, but so too can be your sense of smell. When you have a strong case of foot odor, there might be something wrong that needs to be treated.
What Causes Stinky Feet?
The primary cause of the distinct odor is that bacteria on the skin breaks down sweat and releases the aroma. Unlike other areas of your body, the feet rely on hundreds of thousands of sweat glands to provide moisture (other areas have oil-releasing glands), so there is ample opportunity for bacteria to feast and create the scent.
That process happens with otherwise healthy individuals, but feet can also have a putrid odor when there is an infection. A prime example of this is when a case of fungal nails becomes particularly severe. Another is when a foot ulcer becomes infected for a diabetic individual. In such cases, these can be viewed as warning signs that your body needs treatment.
How to Prevent Offensive Foot Odor
If you are sure that you do not have a serious medical condition in need of immediate care, there are steps that you can take to keep foot odor at bay, including:
- Keep your feet dry. If you are working out or expecting to get your feet damp, bring along a towel and clean change of socks. Some individuals have a condition known as hyperhidrosis, which is a case of excessive sweating. This presents more opportunity for bacteria to break down sweat and release the scent. Should this apply to you, make sure that you always have a spare pair of socks with you.
- When you are home for the day, go barefoot or wear sandals. This will give your feet an opportunity to air out, but it also avoids the dark, warm, damp conditions of a foot in a sock and shoe, which is a perfect environment for microorganisms.
- Seek treatment for fungal conditions. When you start to observe your nails becoming discolored, distorted, thick and brittle, you are developing a case of toenail fungus. Contact us for early treatment to prevent the condition from getting worse and creating a foul stench.
- Don’t re-wear socks. Every night, be sure to take your socks off and put them in the hamper. Wearing them again the next day could contribute to fungal growth on your feet. Even better is to make sure you wash your socks inside out. This will enable them to be cleaned of offensive organisms.
- Alternate shoes on a daily basis. Have two different pairs of shoes and switch them every day. This will allow for time between uses so they can adequately dry out and eliminate the dampness that bacteria and fungus needs to thrive.
If you become aware of a foul foot odor, make an appointment with our Waukesha, WI office and let us diagnose your condition so you can receive the treatment you need. Call us today at (262) 544-0700 and schedule an appointment with either of our expert foot doctors. We will take care of whatever is ailing you and restore your feet to their natural, healthy condition.