Foot Odour

Foot Odour

Foot Odour

What is Foot Odour

Foot odour is a problem that most people have suffered from at some point in their lives. It can be an embarrassing problem particularly when removing one’s shoes to enter someone’s house.

What causes Foot Odour

Foot odour is caused by two factors – sweating and bacteria. Sweat on the feet does not tend to evaporate as in other parts of the body as it is trapped in footwear. Feet have the most sweat glands per square centimetre than any other part of the body, totalling approximately 250,000 glands, and each pair of feet can release anything from a cup to a pint of sweat per day. Unlike other parts of the body, the feet sweat all the time, not just in response to heat and exercise.

Sweating is an important function of the foot as the skin needs to stay moist and supple to be able to withstand the daily stresses we put on the feet. When we walk, feet are constantly rubbed, squashed, flexed and squeezed. Without sweat, the skin on the foot can become very dry and problems such as heel fissures may occur.

The smell from our feet is not caused by the sweat but the bacteria that break down the sweat. An increase in sweat production will therefore increase the smell as there is more for the bacteria to break down. Changing hormones in adolescents can trigger overactive sweat glands as can mental and emotional stress. There is also a medical condition called hyperhidrosis which causes excessive sweating of the palms and soles and should be treated by a doctor.

How to reduce Foot Odour

  • Wear well-fitted shoes that are made of leather that allows sweat to evaporate.
  • Do not wear the same pair of shoes every day. Allow 24 hours for the shoes to dry out.
  • Wear socks made of natural fibres – cotton, wool or bamboo (which also has a natural anti-bacterial quality).
  • Wash socks each time you wear them.
  • Shoes and sandals with removable insoles are useful as they can be removed to be dried.
  • Throw out socks when they begin to smell or have them sanitised by the Klenz machine (available at Arch Angel).
  • Wash feet daily with an anti-bacterial soap and dry well especially between the toes.
  • Wash with anti-bacterial soap and use an anti-bacterial foot/ shoe powder or spray.
  • Use anti-bacterial or anti-odour insoles in your shoes.