Why Do Feet Smell? Managing Foot Odour

Managing Foot Odour

It’s never a comfortable feeling to take your shoes off and have someone ask ‘what’s that smell?’, your gut *sinks* with the lingering thought: is that really me?

Developing foot odour, which we medically refer to as bromhidrosis, often starts with sweat from your feet being trapped in your shoes and socks. With over 250,000 sweat glands in the feet that serve to help draw away excess heat from our bodies, a lot of sweat can come from the feet!

It’s not just sweat

While normal sweat isn’t usually too odorous, when sweat mixes with the bacteria, yeast or fungus on the skin, an unpleasant odour can begin. You may be more prone to sweating and foot odour in warmer weather, on days that you walk more or exercise, when you are wearing shoes and socks made from materials that don’t allow airflow, and if you’re being affected by hormonal changes that increase the activity in your sweat glands.

If your feet are sweating excessively and its mixing with bacteria or another infection, you may also develop rashes and redness on your feet. Your feet may become itchy and warm, and you may even start seeing signs of athlete’s foot as small bubbles of skin appear.

Managing foot odour

To help manage foot odour, you should draw moisture away from your feet where possible, as well as treat any infections that are present. Simple ways to do this at home include:

  • Wash your feet every day
  • Always dry your feet well, including between the toes, after showering, using a pool or getting them wet
  • Choose socks with breathable materials that draw moisture away from the feet, and wear a new pair of socks at least every day
  • If you wear running shoes every day, alternate between two pairs every day to let them have enough time to completely dry before wearing them again
  • Treat any bacterial infections that arise

If your foot odour does not seem to be getting better, you may need to see your GP for a medicated foot cream.

If you’re worried about your feet, and any changes to the smell or to the appearance of your skin, come in and see our podiatry team in Toowoomba and Warwick. We can help you manage your symptoms before they get worse. Call us on (07) 4638 3022 or book online here.

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