7 Causes of Stinky Feet (and How to Fix It)
Do you have stinky feet? Foot odor can be pretty embarrassing, but there are things that you can do to alleviate the problem. Did you know that you could have something like a fungal infection causing this unsightly smell, and these infections can be treated with ease?
There’s no reason why you can’t be barefoot without embarrassment when there are things you can do. The key is to find out what’s causing the odor and then decide the best management option. Many times, you can take care of it yourself without the help of a medical professional.
You can use essential oils, put an onion on your feet at night, or there are many aids you can buy at your local pharmacy. Are your feet a major cause of embarrassment to you? Then ask yourself the following questions:
- Is your foot odor constant or intermittent?
- Have you had this problem for a long time, or is it a new issue?
- Is the odor so foul that you can’t stand it yourself?
- Do you have cracking and peeling in-between your toes along with the stench?
- Are your toenails yellowed or thick?
Answering these questions honestly can help you to identify what’s causing your unpleasant foot aroma. Did you know that women are more prone to having odorous feet than men? It sounds shocking, but all the hormone fluctuations can cause an unsightly smell in women’s feet, according to Jezebel.
Seven Frequent Causes of Stinky Feet
If you’re ready to uncover the reasons behind stinky feet, you’ve come to the right place. Here is some of the most up-to-date information on foot stench and how to treat it.
1. Athlete’s Foot
Athlete’s foot is a prevalent problem, and you don’t have to be an athlete to get it. You may be shocked to learn that it’s caused by the same fungal infection that causes ringworm, so it’s both treated the same way. When your feet sweat a lot, and there’s nowhere for the moisture to go, the bacteria causes a painful rash.
The rash can lead to an infection that blisters and peels. According to the Mayo Clinic, this fungal situation usually starts between the toes, where moisture seems to pool. Tight-fitting shoes only make the problem worse.
If you’re prone to this condition, then there’s help available. First, a simple antifungal cream can treat it. However, if the cream doesn’t help, you can try unique socks that absorb the moisture and switch the type of shoes you wear. If you’re buying a width that isn’t wide enough, it could contribute to the problem, as your feet need to breathe.
2. Stress May Cause Stinky Feet
Do you remember the old commercial from the 1980s that stated to “Never let them see you sweat?” The body care company made millions from a jingle that showcased the need for a deodorant to curb sweating. While that deodorant may have helped some people, stress can indeed cause profuse sweating.
While the commercial was made to promote the product, the medical research behind it was accurate. If you think you’re immune from these bodily issues, then watch the palms of your hands the next time you’re nervous. How do you stop yourself from sweating when you’re stressed out? Well, there’s a medical condition that causes you to sweat too much. Hyperhidrosis is a condition that causes the sweat glands to overreact. According to the National Library of Medicine, there are two kinds of perspirations, thermoregulatory and emotional.
Most of the time, the intense sweating comes from under the arms, but it can also affect the feet. Several things can be done to treat this condition, but one of the best is to get anxiety disorders under control. Things like meditation and journal writing can help relieve some of the angst you feel.
If you’re prone to sweat a lot, you will likely have stinky feet. However, one of the common misconceptions is that sweat stinks. Actually, it’s the bacteria on your feet that mingle with the liquid that produces the smell.
There are many sweat glands on the feet, and when you sweat, it causes bacteria to grow on the foot. Bacteria has a pungent odor, and the only way to get rid of it is to clear up the fungus. There are many contributing factors to a sweaty foot and its smell, but you can stop the profuse sweating in this area.
To fix sweating feet, try using a deodorant on them to help control the moisture. If this little trick doesn’t work, your doctor can inject your feet with a substance to keep the glands from producing perspirations. Even insoles that go into your shoes can help you fix the sweat, so don’t just suffer in silence when there’s help available.
4. Dirty Shoes Can Cause Stinky Feet
When you think of dirty shoes, you probably picture physical dirt. However, your shoes can be full of bacteria that you can’t see. Do you have dirty insoles, or have you worn the boots without socks? These are all common issues that can cause stinky feet due to the sweat mixing with the bacteria in the shoes.
Even if it’s your favorite pair of sneakers, throw them out! You’re causing yourself more harm than helping by wearing shoes that are worn out.
5. Hormonal Changes
Women may notice that hormonal changes are a big issue with their sweating. Have you ever heard a lady talking about going through the change of life and the hot flashes they endure? Well, since the feet have so many sweat glands, they can feel the pangs of these fluctuations in the body.
You don’t have to be going through menopause to experience stinky feet, as it can happen during your monthly menstruation cycle too.
6. Poor Feet Hygiene
People often don’t talk about food hygiene, but they sure wouldn’t consider going a day without brushing their teeth. If you’re one of the many folks that just let the water run over your feet in the shower, you’re doing yourself a great disservice. Water alone isn’t enough to combat bacteria and fungus.
It would help if you had a solid antibacterial soap, and make sure to get in-between each of your toes thoroughly. Poor foot hygiene can contribute to and cause significant issues, such as infections. You can fix this by improving your foot hygiene. Also, if you’ve been wearing tight shoes, make sure to clean your feet too.
7. Stinky Feet May Result From Toenail Fungus
There’s nothing more unsightly than a fungus growing in your toenails. It causes the nail to lift from the skin and turn colors. The smell that comes from the infected nail is putrid.
One of the best ways to treat this condition is by using tea tree oil. Since this essential oil has many antifungal properties, it’s sometimes all that’s needed. The nail may need to be removed to allow a new nail to grow in some instances. However, this is something only a doctor can decide after reviewing your situation.
These fungal issues are challenging to deal with, but you can overcome them with proper treatment.
Four Easy Tips to Help Minimize Stinky Feet
If you’re prone to have feet that stink, you might want some quick ways to keep the odor at bay. Here are some easy tricks that you can do to help with the embarrassment of taking off your shoes.
1. Soak Your Feet
You can use one of those nice machines, or you can get a tub and some Epsom salt. Soaking your feet for ten minutes a couple of times each week can help keep bacteria at bay. It can also release the scales and dead skin caused by Athlete’s Foot.
2. Use Foot Powders or Antiperspirants
There are plenty of over-the-counter foot powders and antiperspirants that can help to keep your feet dry. When the feet are dry, they won’t produce as many bacteria.
3. Dry Your Feet
Don’t allow any excess moisture to hang around your feet. If you shower, swim, get in the hot tub or do any other activity that gets your feet wet, make sure you dry them off as soon as possible.
4. Disinfect Your Shoes
Unless your shoes are old and there’s no hope, washing or disinfecting them can be a great way to help odors. Sneakers were made to be washed many times, and they always smell better afterward.
Final Thoughts on Managing the Embarrassing Problem of Stinky Feet
If you have a green cloud of stank that follows you around because of stinky feet, you can do something about it. It’s nothing out of the ordinary to have odorous feet, but you shouldn’t just chalk it up to bodily issues. You can do something about the smell that makes walking barefoot embarrassing.