Sometimes our feet can give off a bad odor. But what are the reasons why they smell like this? Are home remedies effective? Why do feet smell? What medical treatments can we apply?

Maintaining good hygiene, drying your feet well or using cotton socks are measures to prevent foot odor.  The smell of feet can be punctual or daily. If the smell is one day, with minimal care it is resolved, but sometimes it responds to pathology and is not so simple.

If the odor is common, you can suspect a condition such as fungi, but not always. One of the reasons for the bad smell is because feet spend hours locked up, with their excessive and concentrated secretion. The moisture produced is the breeding ground, where bacteria and fungi that emit smelly gases multiply.

Bad foot odor occurs more in children and adolescents for the following reasons, because they are more actives than adults, so their feet sweat more because it is a way to eliminate body temperature; other factors are types of shoes and inappropriate hygiene, which occurs because fathers and mothers sometimes invest time in drying the feet after bathing and young children do not know how to do it alone.

Fungi and athlete’s foot are also related to the smell of feet. If dots or cracks appear or the skin and it becomes red or even acquires a whitish tone, we must go to the podiatrist (feet health specialist), because the problem can evolve and spread to other parts of the body.

Another reason for the smell of feet is “bromhidrosis”, that is a pathology related to the apocrine glands. In this case, it is not that more sweat is necessarily produced, rather that these glands have different waxes than those of other people, and when sweat comes into contact with bacteria in the skin, it produces ammonium and fatty acid, which generates the smell.

Are home remedies effective?

stinky feet

Traditionally, vinegar, sodium bicarbonate, sage, black tea, etc. have been considered as home remedies to combat foot odor, but these resources are not effective against bromhidrosis since there is no scientific evidence that ensures the control of the bad smell generated in the feet with them.

If you choose to use traditional remedies, the most efficient is talcum powder. For its use, you have to sprinkle it between your fingers, on the floor, in the sock and even in the footwear, because it is absorbent and removes excess sweat.

Given the uncertain efficacy of home remedies, we can take a series of measures to prevent bad foot odor:

–-Have proper daily hygiene, which includes a good drying of the feet after showering or bathing.

–-Wear cotton socks, which absorb moisture, and do not opt for synthetic fibers.

–-Wear leather shoes or breathable natural fabrics that allow eliminating heat.

–-Before hyperhydration, it is advisable to change the socks once or several times.

–-If you have the possibility, air your feet and/or change your shoes during the day.

There are other recommendations to combat the unpleasant smell:

–-Using soaps with germicides to eliminate bacteria from the skin, which are the ones that break down sweat.

–-Use topical antibiotics instead of moisturizers.

–-Buy a natural deodorant composed, for example, of cornstarch, talc and zinc oxide; and for the most exaggerated cases, use antiperspirants.

Medical treatments against foot odor.

The treatments that can be used to “remedy this situation are antiperspirants.” Another medical procedure that is used is the following: “When bromhidrosis is accompanied by hyperhidrosis (excessive sweating), sometimes a Botox treatment to stop the production of sweat is advisable. The punctures of botulinum toxin can paralyze almost all sweat for four or six months, but it is a temporary treatment, quite painful and on the feet, it is 30% less effective than in other parts of the body.

An extreme treatment that can be used, if the other alternatives result ineffective is surgery, which “is done as liposuction under the skin and the glands are removed so that the person stops sweating.

When should you see a specialist?

In the event of any abnormal situation in the feet, the podiatrist is the specialist and is responsible for assessing, diagnosing and giving the optimal treatment in each case. Besides, sometimes master formulas are prescribed with essential elements that are prepared in specialized pharmacies always under prescription.

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