It can be embarrassing, but foot odor is something we all get on occasion. The main cause of the offense is sweat. Or more precisely, the by-product of bacteria feeding off the sweat that is released from your feet and soaks into your shoes. In some cases, persistent foot odor can be a symptom of a skin infection or of an open wound, says Louisville podiatrist Dr. Fred Preuss. Diabetes sufferers who experience a loss of sensation in the feet are especially vulnerable to infections and should see their doctor if they notice any odor.
Solution 1: Proper Foot Hygiene
Regular foot washing followed by thorough drying, especially between the toes, can go a long way in eliminating odor. If your feet tend to do a lot of sweating, you can try applying over-the-counter antiperspirants or ask your doctor for prescription formulations, Preuss says. Over-the-counter foot soaks and topical applications available at your supermarket or pharmacy can also help.
Solution 2: Changing Shoes
Odor-causing bacteria like warm, dark, moist places, and shoes that are worn continuously for long periods of time are the perfect breeding ground. Older adults tend to keep shoes on all day, especially if they can’t do a lot of self-attending or are in assisted living environments, Preuss points out. Wearing different shoes every day lets the last pair you wore air out so bacteria can’t get too comfortable. So does kicking off your shoes and letting your feet breathe once you’re inside.