Smelly feet can be embarrassing and potentially harmful as bacteria and fungus attack our foot tissue and toenails - causing bad foot odor. There can be many causes, but generally athlete's and teenagers have the most problems - primarily because heat, moisture, bacteria and fungus lead to the bad odor.
Why the bad foot odor?
As mentioned above, the primary cause of bad odor comes from yeast, bacteria and fungus developing. Moisture, humidity, heat, and environments where the feet do not get adequate air circulation over periods of time are the main culprits. To make matters worse, once bacteria has formed, it is difficult to get rid of and can spread and make matters worse.
Left unchecked, bacteria can spread from shoe to shoe, from soc to sock, and can spread throughout the entire family if socks or shoes are shared. As this occurs, the "smelly feet" syndrome can become a family-wide problem.
Tips for getting rid of foot odor
- Wash your feet daily with an antibacterial or antifungal body wash or cleanser
- Make sure feet are dry before wearing socks or shoes
- Avoid wearing closed-toe shoes without socks
- If you wear socks or "footies", wash them after every use - do not wear "dirty", used socks
- Spray feet (after washing and thoroughly drying) with a powder-based, deodorizing spray
- Apply a moisturizing foot cream before bedtime - preferably one with antibacterial or antifungal properties
- Spray inside of shoes or sneakers with an antifungal/anti-odor deodorant spray after use. If possible and weather permits, leave shoes outside to "air-out"
- If someone in your family has bad foot odor, wash their socks separately. Likewise, don't allow family members to mix or use each other's socks
A really "smelly" story
Take a look at the tips above. It's not too hard to see how simple causes can multiply making smelly feet hard to get rid of. As an example, my teenage son who works part-time in a labor-intensive job, began using my socks. As teenagers do, he would wear the socks multiple times, not follow proper hygiene (taking his showers every night), and throw the socks in the laundry along with the rest of the family. After a month or so, my feet, socks and shoes starting smelling bad - i had never had the problem before, then found out he was wearing my socks and they would end up back in my dresser drawer. Ta-da...I found the problem - but it took several months to figure out. And in the meantime, all my athletic socks smelled bad and most of my sneakers and tennis shoes.
Follow the tips above...they work! But it may take some time - generally a month or so before the smell is completely gone. As you follow those tips and advice, consider the following products as part of your regimen.
Signs of something worse?
- Dr. Scholl's Odor-X or Odor Eaters deodorizing sprays - Both of these are powder-based or have some powder component in their formulation. They are excellent for spraying inside shoes to kill bacteria and to deodorize. They should also be used to spray directly onto your feet (after washing and completely drying).
- Keriderm-Rx - Keriderm-Rx is marketed as a toenail fungus cream, but is excellent as an overall antibacterial/antifungal foot cream. It contains spearmint, Emu Oil, and Tolnaftate - all superior for fighting fungus and smell. This is out top recommendation for fungal infections
- HHP Antifungal shampoo - I know, a shampoo? Yes, HealthyHairPlus antifungal shampoo was developed for scalp and hair fungus, but it makes an excellent body wash also. It also has moisturizing properties that help treat dry or cracking feet
- Nourish Peppermint Foot Cream - Besides it's cooling and healing benefits, the peppermint formula goes a long way towards making your feet smell better as well as guarding against bacteria
Well, yes. The smell and bad odor are often the first signs of further problems. The bad smell indicates bacteria and fungus are thriving. Fungus and bacteria can live for a long time in socks and shoes and can lead to cracked heels, toenail fungus, inflammation and sore, and splitting of tissue - none of which you want.
If you or someone in your family have smelly feet, follow the tips above and use the products we have recommended...you'll be back to healthy feet in no time!
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