Foot Odour and Sweat

Foot odour most often results from bacterial growth associated with excessive perspiration from the more than 250,000 sweat glands in the foot. Sweaty and smelly feet are not uncommon. While some people experience excessive odour or sweating throughout the whole body, (such as with anemia or with an overactive thyroid), usually the problem is limited to the feet.

Source: British Columbia Association of Podiatrist – Retrieved: Retrieved: 2009-06-01

Causes of Foot Odour and Sweat

Excessive sweating and bacteria growth
Pantyhose and nylon socks that contribute to excessive sweating
Cotton socks, which dry slowly providing time for bacteria to grow
Shoes made of synthetic materials contribute to excessive sweating

What can you do?

Practice good hygiene, including daily washing of the feet with antibacterial soap and water.
Wear socks made of wool, acrylic or polypropylene, whenever you wear shoes.
Wear shoe made of leather or other natural fabrics that “breathe.”
Change your shoes daily to allow the other pair to air out.
Change your socks, perhaps even more frequently than daily.
Change insoles.
Use a spray or roll-on antiperspirant.
If odour is accompanied by skin colour changes, see a podiatrist immediately.

What can a Podiatrist do?

Perform a physical examination of the foot to determine possible other causes of foot odour, including athlete’s foot, or other skin disorders or systemic problems.
Prescribe topical medications.
Prescribe oral anti-fungal medications.
Prescribe antibiotics.