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Why do your feet smell? We’ll tell you!

Medically known as bromodosis, smelly feet are a common year-round problem, especially for those living in the torrid climate of South Florida.

Why do feet smell?

Why do feet smell?

This unpleasant foot odor occurs when sweat mixes with bacteria that live on your skin and in your shoes, producing an acid byproduct that can leave you holding your nose in disgust.

Unfortunately, it’s impossible to completely stop your feet from sweating, regardless of the temperature or time of year. There are roughly 250,000 sweat glands in your feet — the largest concentration of sweat glands in the entire body — that produce around a pint of moisture every day. And unlike sweat glands elsewhere in the body, the sweat glands in your feet secrete all the time, not just in response to heat or exercise.

The main causes of foot odor are:

Poor personal hygiene: By not washing your body regularly, you fail to slow down the buildup of odor-causing bacteria.

Hormones: You excrete more sweat during hormonal changes, meaning teenagers going through puberty and pregnant women are at a higher risk for foot odor.

Fungal Infections: Any sort of fungal infection on your feet, such as athlete’s foot, can create foot odor.

Hyperhidrosis: A medical condition that causes your body to sweat more than usual.

Stress: Anxiety and stress trigger the release of a stress hormone called “cortisol,” which in turn stimulates the sweat glands.

The best way to prevent foot odor is to practice good personal hygiene and not wear the same pair of shoes every day. It’s also important to clean your feet daily and dry them thoroughly after washing. Additionally, you should also change your socks at least once per day, especially if you live an active life.

Other food odor prevention methods include:

Placing medicated insoles, which have a deodorizing effect, in your shoes

Weaingr leather or canvas shoes, as they let your feet breathe, unlike plastic ones

Sprinkling baking soda in your shoes to kill bacteria

Applying odor eaters and powders to your feet

Keeping your feet dry as much as possible

There are also several at-home soaking treatments that can be used to eliminate the bacteria that causes foot odor. Before trying any of these treatments, however, it is recommended that you talk with your primary care physician or a podiatrist first.

These easy-to-prepare foot soaks include:

Salt: Salt pulls moisture out of your skin, reducing the amount of bacteria that can survive there. Soak your feet for approximately twenty minutes each day and do not rinse your feet after removing them from the water. Instead, dry them thoroughly and go about your day.

Tea: The tannic acid in tea helps to close your pores, reducing the amount you sweat. Experts say to soak your feet in tea for approximately 30 minutes a day for one week.

Baking soda: Add 1 tbsp of baking soda for every quart of water, creating a solution in which bacteria struggles to grow.

If you are suffering from foot odor, you should always consider seeing a podiatrist before attempting to cure the problem yourself as he or she may be able to recommend a specific product for your case.

Follow Dr. Goldbaum on Twitter @Delray_Podiatry

The content on this website is for informational purposes only. Do not rely or act upon information from without seeking professional medical advice. If you live in South Florida and would like a consultation with Dr. Ian Goldbaum, a podiatric physician and surgeon with over 30 years of experience, please see our contact information below:


16244 S. Military Trail #290, Delray Beach, FL 33484



2900 N. Military Trail #210, Boca Raton, FL 33431 (SOUTH BLDG)



8198 Jog Road #100, Boynton Beach, FL 33472




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