Are Your Feet Smelly?

Category: Podiatry

Even the most fastidiously clean people can suffer from foot odour.

Foot odour is a common problem, caused by excessive perspiration and the growth of bacteria on the feet. There is a range of simple treatments available to address this problem.

Each foot has 250,000 sweat glands and produces about a cup (500 ml) of sweat daily. Excessive perspiration, combined with bacteria, can cause offensive foot odour. The bacteria that grow on the soles of feet actually produce gases similar to those released by bacteria used in producing cheese; hence the name ‘cheesy feet’.

Treating the condition

The following treatments may be useful, depending on the cause of the problem:

  • See your Podiatrist
  • Topical (applied to the skin) or oral (by mouth) antibiotics may be prescribed, in severe cases, to kill off the bacteria.
  • Mild antiseptic solutions or soaps can be useful.
  • Light powders can help to absorb some of the moisture on the sole of the foot.
  • Methylated spirits applied once or twice a day can help dry the skin.
  • Avoid synthetic socks and wear shoes that allow good air circulation and allow the foot to breathe (leather is good).
  • Change your shoes regularly to allow them to dry and air.
  • It may be useful to rotate shoes on a daily basis so you can avoid wearing the same shoe every day. Allow one pair of shoes to air while you wear another pair. This will help to eliminate foot odour.
  • When you are buying your socks, look for pure wool or cotton socks. As this is difficult to achieve, a greater than 80% blend of natural fibres is recommended.