Foot odor is a problem many people are reluctant to discuss, which is a shame because it can usually be treated cheaply and easily. All you need is a little know-how about the causes of the smell and techniques for eliminating it.
Smelly feet are often caused by sweaty feet, a problem that is more common in men than women. Self-care treatments are based on keeping the feet clean and dry. Dampness provides an ideal habitat for bacteria and fungi, which are the main causes of foot odor and athlete’s foot.
If these methods don’t reduce or eradicate foot odor after a couple of weeks, call your doctor. There may be an underlying medical cause, or you may need prescription-strength medications.
Tips for Shoes
- Avoid plastic or synthetic shoes and sneakers. When shopping for shoes, look inside. If it says the uppers are composed of man-made materials, don’t buy them. Leather and canvas uppers allow the foot to breathe inside the shoe. Mesh, which is often used in athletic shoes, is breathable.
- Whenever you have the opportunity, slip your feet out of your shoes for a while and let them air out.
- Rotate your footwear and give each pair of shoes a day off after you wear them.
Tips for Socks
- Thick cotton or wool socks will absorb excess moisture.
- You can find synthetic socks that are specifically designed to draw moisture away from the foot. But be sure to read the label, because some synthetic socks, such as nylon, may increase sweating. This is also true for nylon stockings and pantyhose.
- Perhaps this goes without saying, but wear fresh socks each day. You may even want to carry extra socks to change during the day if your feet are exceptionally sweaty.
- Don’t wear any kind of closed shoes without socks.
- Bathe your feet daily, using mild soap and lukewarm water.
- Dry your feet thoroughly after bathing. Towel them dry, and if they still feel damp, use a blow dryer on the warm or cool setting. Be extra sure to dry between the toes, where the athlete’s foot fungus loves to make its home.
- Apply powder. You can use baby powder or one of the medicated powders available over-the-counter at the drug store.
- Go barefoot around the house when you can.