When the feet are stinky

The scene

Okk  was sleepless, stemming from the excitement of the formal introductory visit to his prospective in laws the following day. He and other family members embarked on the 150km journey in his car. About 60km into the journey, the automobile air-conditioning system malfunctioned and the rest of the journey was not as comfortable, as they were stuck in traffic for almost 2 hours.  Everyone sweated but it was worst for the man who had a sleepless night. The salty liquid covered him from the head to the toes and soaked his socks by the time they arrived their destination. The feet emanated a very offensive odour (he’s always had this problem) but was lucky the day was saved by his fiancée who promptly heralded him into the bathroom to have a refreshing bath.

It has been said that stinky feet is as embarrassing as public flatulence! It may not be as audible. But unlike an untimely “break of wind”, that silent –yet embarrassing– sweaty foot smell doesn’t fade.

The genesis of stinky feet

The problem isn’t the feet – it’s what your feet are wearing. Smelly feet is primarily caused from of a lack of ventilation for your feet. Each foot has more than 250,000 sweat glands, producing more than a pint (more than a sachet of ‘’pure’’ water)  of sweat in one day. That’s a lot of moisture to keep pressed against your feet! People get smelly feet when the perspiration has no where to evaporate – but it is not the sweat that causes the foot odor. Bacteria that lives on the skin eats the feet’s sweat, producing an acid, causing the odor. Athlete’s Foot, which is a skin infection caused by a fungus, can also cause smelly feet. Other factors that can cause smelly feet include certain medications, some diseases, poor hygiene, harsh environments, wearing poor-quality shoes and over-wearing shoes. 

Facts

Anyone can get sweaty feet, at any temperature or time of year.But teenagers and pregnant women are more likely to get them because hormonal changes make them sweat more.

You are also more likely to have sweaty feet if you’re on your feet all day, wear shoes that are too tight, are under a lot of stress, or have a medical condition called hyperhidrosis (excessive sweating), which makes you sweat more than usual.

Feet often become smelly if sweat soaks into your shoes and they don’t dry before you wear them again.

The underlying reason for most cases of smelly feet is bacteria and moisture.

Smelly feet are not usually a medical concern, but they can affect a person’s relationships with others and cause self-consciousness.

People naturally have bacteria that live on the feet.

When the bacteria rid themselves of wastes from breaking down oils and dead skin cells, bad smells can result.

What to do

1. Wash your feet daily

Wash your feet daily with an antibacterial soap. Dirty, sweaty feet attract bacteria which can lead to foot odor. Maintaining good foot hygiene is the best way to prevent foot odor as it eliminates odor causing bacteria and removes dead skin cells.

2. Use antiperspirant for feet

A strong foot antiperspirant is one of the best ways to stop unwanted sweating.

3. Use a foot deodorant spray

You put deodorant in you armpits to stop smell. Why not do the same with your feet? A deodorizing foot spray like can de-stink your feet and your shoes.

4. Use foot powder to keep feet dry and fungus free

After cleaning your feet, apply an anti-fungal foot powder. This will help reduce wetness from sweat and control foot odor.

5. Use an alcohol wipe reduce sweating

Wipe down your feet with an alcohol wipe to close up your pores and reduce sweating temporarily. Do this before you put on your socks and shoes for the day.

6.  Keep feet dry

Foot powders and other products can absorb sweat and keep your feet dry and comfortable. Sprinkle clean feet with it and let setttle for a few minutes before putting on shoes and socks.

7. Put baking soda in your shoes

After you remove your shoes, put some baking soda in them to soak up excess moisture. This prevents nasty smelling bacteria from festering.

8. Choose the right shoes

Wear breathable shoes if possible. Shoes with poor ventilation won’t do your sweaty feet any favors. Avoid plastic and leather shoes. And … always wear socks. (but never with sandals. PLEASE! It’s a fashion blunder!!)

9. Keep shoes dry to prevent bacteria build-up

Alternate shoes to give them time to dry out. Dry shoes are less likely to be stinky shoes.

10. Wear socks, wear the right socks

If you’re wearing closed toe-shoes, you need to wear socks — clean, dry, socks. Change your socks daily and avoid wearing cotton socks. The best socks for sweaty feet are going to be breathable, moisture-wicking socks. Wool, bamboo, and anti-bacterial materials are all good options for preventing sweaty feet.

11. Diet and exercise

Eating a healthy diet and avoiding spicy, processed, fatty foods can help reduce sweating. More water and less coffee (or caffeine) can also help. Foot sweating is largely influenced by emotional stress. So, keeping stress to a minimum is in your best interest. Regular exercise and relaxation techniques can help manage stress before it turns into pools of sweat in your shoes.

12. Exfoliate feet

When to seek help

Smelly feet are a harmless problem that generally clears up. Sometimes, however, it can be a sign of a medical condition. See your doctor if simple measures to reduce your foot odour don’t help, or if you’re worried that your level of sweating is abnormally high.

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