One of the conditions that can cause situations of social isolation is foot odor. It usually happens due to inadequate personal attention, but there are other factors that can add to this.

In the following article, we give you all the information you need to know about this condition and the options available to you to control it.

Why the bad smell of feet?

There are two main factors involved in the formation of bad odors in the feet and they are the alteration in the humidity and the bacterial flora of the skin of the foot. We mention below the situations that can generate them:

1. Poor hygiene

At this point, the main cause of bad foot odor falls directly on the hygiene of the parts most susceptible to the development of bacterial flora.

In the case of the feet, keep the feet clean and dry , wash them daily with lukewarm water using neutral soap, cut the nails regularly, use antiseptic powders to refresh the feet and, at the same time, avoid the excessive proliferation of fungi, bacteria and yeasts. , are some recommendations for hygiene.

Note: It is also recommended to visit a podiatry professional in order to carry out a thorough review of your feet and indicate the care you should have.

2. Hormonal changes

One of the main characteristics in the appearance of bad odors in the feet, are the hormonal changes that occur in the puberty stage , since changes such as hair loss, menstruation, acne, among others occur during this period. , which are present.

To highlight: In an article entitled “Normal pubertal development. Precocious puberty”, describes that at this stage of human life, one of its characteristics is the maturation of the apocrine sweat glands , responsible for adult sweat. (1)

3. Infections and diseases

In this case , athlete’s foot, ringworm of the feet , plantar warts , nail fungus, are some pathologies that can alter the bacterial flora of the foot, causing bad odors.

4. Disorders in the apocrine glands

There is a very common type of hyperhidrosis (exaggerated increase in sweating), called primary focal hyperhidrosis, and its characteristic is that the nerves responsible for sending signals to the sweat glands become hyperactive, despite not having been triggered by stimuli such as physical activity. physics or temperature rise.

Note: The combination of hyperhidrosis, plus the alteration of the bacterial flora of the skin results in a disease called bromhidrosis .

5. Consumption of food, drugs and toxic substances

Foods rich in sulfur components, such as onion and garlic , can change the chemistry of sweating feet, altering their smell. Medications prescribed for depressive states, can also generate excessive perspiration as a side effect.

On the other hand, toxic substances due to excessive consumption such as alcohol and caffeine can alter perspiration in people, increasing humidity in areas such as the feet.

Note: In an article in the “Chilean Journal of Neuropsychiatry” , sweating is described as a side effect in the use of antidepressants. (two)

6. Stress and anxiety

In states of stress or nervousness , the problem of body perspiration worsens even more, since these psychological disorders alter the perspiration of the human body, making it more humid and more prone to bad odors, including the area of ​​the feet.

In this sense, a study on the “Rorschach Study on control and tolerance to stress associated with primary hyperhidrosis in hyperhidrotic youth” , relates states of emotional stress to the manifestation of states of excessive sweating . (3)

7. Non-breathable footwear

The use of shoes that are too narrow and that cover the foot area too much, such as boots and that are made of very hermetic materials such as plastics or rubber, do not allow the passage of air to cool the feet. This affects the increase in humidity in the foot area.

How to eliminate foot odor?

There are a variety of options that allow people who suffer from foot odor to temporarily or perhaps permanently mitigate this condition. Here are some simple tips:

1. Maintain adequate and constant hygiene

One of the first keys to avoid the formation of bad odors has to do with personal hygiene and specifically on the feet. Frequently washing this area with antiseptic soaps of neutral pH is recommended.

It is also important to keep that area of ​​the body completely dry , since one of the triggers for foot odor is humidity.

2. Wear shoes and socks that allow perspiration

Due to the constant movement of this area of ​​the body, it is normal for the skin to be constantly sweaty. To avoid excessive sweating and increased humidity in the area, it is necessary to wear shoes and socks that allow the passage of air towards the feet, thus regulating humidity.

Note: Shoes and socks made with materials that allow adequate perspiration of the feet , it is recommended to maintain hygiene and good foot health.

3. Change socks daily

The socks have the particularity of preserving among their fibers the fermentation products caused by bromhidrosis. It is therefore essential to change this item of clothing daily , in order to avoid exaggerated cultures of bacteria that can be lodged in the footwear.

4. Wash shoes regularly

The hygiene of personal items is also important, in this case footwear, in order to keep the foot area free of bacteria and moisture. Therefore, it is necessary to wash shoes for daily use periodically, especially those for sports use, and to make sure that they are dry when they are used.

5. Use hygiene products indicated for podiatry use

Without a doubt, it is the recommendations of the foot care specialist, as is the podiatrist , that must be followed. He will tell you with certainty about the appropriate hygiene products for your case for the care of this part of the body.

It is advisable to use antiperspirant and antiseptic foot powders, composed of boric acid, camphor, menthol, among other components, to keep that area free of moisture and bacteria.

6. Avoid sharing items for personal use

The shared use of shoes, socks, cloths, among others, can cause the transfer of viruses such as human papillomavirus (HPV), whose infection can trigger the appearance of plantar warts, a situation that can alter the bacterial flora of the skin of the foot.

To highlight: A scientific article on “Skin microbiota: the skin ecosystem” , describes the characteristics and conditions of this bacterial flora on the skin. (4)

7. Ventilate the feet for a while

Another recommendation to eliminate excess moisture in the feet is to place them bare in a sufficiently ventilated and dry area for some time. This also allows a moment of relaxation in this very important part of the body.

8. See a specialist doctor if necessary

An essential measure is to go to the specialist in case you have used various options to counteract bad foot odors. It will surely indicate other options that can help mitigate your problem.

Key Findings

  • Foot odor commonly develops at the stage of puberty.
  • It is characterized by the presence of excessive sweating called hyperhidrosis.
  • Foot odors can be categorized as a disease called bromhidrosis .
  • Poor hygiene, certain foods, drugs and toxic substances can cause bad foot odors.
  • To eliminate foot odor it is necessary to have adequate hygiene , wash shoes regularly, change socks, use special foot care products and go to a specialist if necessary.

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