What Makes My Feet So Smelly?

Foot odor is pretty much unavoidable to a large degree. Your feet are loaded with sweat glands (nearly half a million in both feet!) and this constant production of moisture produces the ideal environment for the growth of bacteria and fungi. As these microbes consume your sweat they produce horrible smells during the decomposition process. Keeping your feet and footwear as clean and dry as possible will help decrease the number of microbes and the odor they emit.

Some of the main reasons for having smelly feet include the following:

  • Bacteria feeding on sweat—Sweat doesn’t have any odor by itself. The hordes of bacteria that inhabit your skin cause the malodor when they feed on your sweat! Drying out your shoes for a day or two will make them less desirable for microbes and decrease odor.
  • Athlete’s foot and toenail fungus—athlete’s foot and fungal toenail infections are a major source of foot odor. Use fungicide inside your shoes and directly on your feet. Damaged and smelly fungal toenails may need to be removed to adequately treat the fungi.
  • Hyperhidrosis—is the name of a condition that causes people to sweat excessively, increasing the favorable microbial environment and corresponding foot odor. Medicated foot powder will help keep your feet dryer and kill microbes as well.

Some of your foot odor may be caused by a treatable condition like fungal toenails, so be sure to see your foot doctor to get the smelliness under control. At Your Next Step, our team of board-certified podiatrists has access to advanced technologies, along with years of experience, to help diagnose and treat a variety of foot and ankle problems, including sports injuries, joint pain, toe deformities, nail fungus, chronic tendon pain, and skin problems. Dr. Eric Ricefield, Dr. Mark Yagodich and Dr. Aliza V. Eisen provide high-quality foot and ankle care to patients in the greater Philadelphia area at our offices conveniently located in Ardmore, Paoli, and Downingtown. Please contact us for more information or to schedule an appointment.


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