What to do about sweaty (& smelly) feet

The hands and feet sweat up to three times as much as any other part of the body. Especially as the heat rises we often find ourselves sweating considerably more, but what happens when we smell too. Healthy feet should not smell when we sweat. Eccrine (normal) sweat is odourless and sterile, and the smell only occurs when microbial action is involved. 

There are two factors in particular that contribute to smelly feet; hyperhidrosis (excessive sweating) and maceration (sogginess) which is due to moisture getting trapped by socks or footwear. 

When the skin of the feet remains macerated and moist for long periods of time it reduces the body’s resistance to fungal and bacterial infections. Microorganisms multiply and begin to break down the sweat. This results in a bad odour, more technically known as Bromhidrosis. 

Whilst maceration can be controlled through good hygiene, sweating can be affected by a number of different factors. These may include: physical factors like heat and exercise, emotional factors like anxiety and fear, hormonal factors/disorders like hyperthyroidism, diabetes or pregnancy, or metabolic factors like obesity and alcohol/drug consumption.

But how do we control or help our smelly feet. Here are 7 tips to improve our control of Bromhidrosis:

  1. Wash feet twice daily with antibacterial soap (e.g. Phisohex, Sapoderm Surgical)
  2. Use a topical antiseptic
  3. Replace nylon socks with cotton or bamboo ones with better absorbency 
  4. Aerate footwear (alternate between 2 or more pairs)
  5. Increase exposure of bare feet to the air 
  6. Use topical powders (e.g. Pedoz Powder, Talcum Powder)
  7. Try nightly foot soaks (e.g. Epsom salts, Vinegar soaks)

If you need guidance to help control or manage your feet book an appointment with one of our Podiatrists at (07) 3823 5423 and we’ll start the treatment together.