Smelly feet, also known as bromodosis, is a common condition that affects many people. The medical term for smelly feet is bromodosis. It refers to the unpleasant odor that comes from your feet due to sweat and bacteria buildup. Thankfully, there are many tips and remedies you can try to get rid of smelly feet.
Causes of Smelly Feet
Sweaty and smelly feet occur due to a buildup of sweat, bacteria, and fungi like athlete’s foot. The sweat gets trapped in your shoes and socks, allowing bacteria and fungi to rapidly multiply resulting in unpleasant foot odor. Some other causes include:
- Wearing tight fitting shoes that don’t allow ventilation
- Having sweaty feet (hyperhidrosis)
- Not washing and changing socks frequently
- Fungal infections like athlete’s foot
- Bacterial growth on the skin
- Stress and hormonal changes
Home Remedies and Tips to Get Rid of Foot Odor
Here are 10 tips to help you get rid of smelly feet:
1. Wash Your Feet Daily
Wash your feet with antibacterial soap and lukewarm water every day, especially between the toes where bacteria thrives. Scrub gently to remove dead skin cells and bacteria. Make sure to rinse and dry thoroughly. This helps minimize odor causing bacteria.
2. Soak Your Feet
Soak your feet for 20 minutes in a foot bath with antibacterial essential oils like tea tree oil, eucalyptus oil or peppermint oil. These oils contain anti-fungal and antibacterial properties to help eliminate odor. Adding half a cup of baking soda also helps neutralize foot odor.
3. Exfoliate Regularly
Gently scrub your feet with a foot scrub or pumice stone when you bathe. This helps remove dead skin cells and calluses where smelly bacteria tend to accumulate. Pay close attention to the heels and soles. Avoid harsh scrubbing.
4. Wear Moisture Wicking Socks
Wear socks made of natural fibers like cotton that allow ventilation and wick moisture away from your feet. Change socks at least twice a day, or whenever your feet get sweaty. Damp socks encourage bacterial overgrowth.
5. Use Foot Powder
Dust your feet, especially between the toes, with an antibacterial foot powder. The powder helps absorb sweat and moisture. Look for ones containing zinc oxide, baking soda or medicated active ingredients. Wear moisture wicking socks over the power.
6. Alternate Your Shoes
Give your shoes at least 24 hours to air out before wearing again. The inside of shoes are the perfect breeding ground for odor causing bacteria. Having 2-3 good pairs allows your shoes to completely dry out before the next use.
7. Wear Breathable Shoes
Choose shoes made of natural materials like leather or canvas that allow air flow. Avoid tight fitting shoes made of synthetic materials that trap sweat. Going barefoot also allows your feet to breathe and prevents sweat buildup.
8. Treat Fungal Infections
If the smell persists even after hygiene measures, you may have a fungal infection like athlete’s foot. See your doctor to get proper medication. Keep your feet clean and dry to allow fungal infections to clear up.
9. Change Your Socks at Night
Your feet sweat the most while you sleep. Consider sleeping without socks to allow your feet to breathe. Or change into a fresh pair of moisture wicking socks before bedtime. This prevents sweat buildup overnight.
10. See a Doctor
Consult your doctor if you’ve tried these remedies and still can’t get rid of smelly feet. They can check for underlying conditions like hyperhidrosis (excessive sweating) that may require prescription grade antiperspirants or oral medications to treat. Proper treatment will eliminate the root cause of smelly feet.
When to See a Podiatrist
See a podiatrist promptly if you have chronically stinky feet along with:
- Discolored nails
- Foot pain
- Bleeding between the toes
A podiatrist can diagnose the exact cause and provide appropriate treatment like stronger anti-fungal medications or surgical options, if needed, for conditions like fungal nail infections. This will help resolve smelly feet.
Making some simple foot hygiene changes and using the right foot care products can keep your feet fresh and odor-free. But visit a podiatrist if symptoms persist despite home remedies. With the right treatment, you can finally say goodbye to embarrassing smelly feet.