A – Z of Illnesses & Conditions

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Foot Odour

Foot Odour:  Foot odour is a common condition in children and adults who wear shoes on a daily basis. People with smelly feet may also suffer from sweaty feet. Most people with this condition will have sweaty and smelly feet year round, not just in the hot summer months.

The odour is produced by bacteria or fungus that grows in the shoes and attaches to the skin. Some bacteria actually eat away the top layer of the skin, producing a foul odour.

Hygiene is very important to help prevent smelly feet.  Feet should be washed daily with soap and water and clean dry socks worn. When some synthetic materials used in shoes are mixed with sweat and bacteria, they can produce smelly feet. 

Checking the soles of your feet for hard, dead skin and removing it with a foot file. Hard skin can become soggy when damp, which provides an ideal home for bacteria. 

A doctor can recommend a variety of treatments for this condition.

Socks and shoes
Wearing certain types of shoes and socks, or wearing the same pair too frequently, can contribute to smelly feet. Below are some tips on how to avoid this:
  •     Change your socks at least once a day.
  •     Try to alternate between different pairs of shoes every day, so each pair can dry out for 24 hours before being worn again. Remove insoles to help the drying process.
  •     Wear socks that will absorb the moisture, such as thick, soft socks made of natural fibres or socks specially designed to absorb moisture (such as feet-fresh socks and certain sports socks).
  •     Wear shoes made of leather, canvas or mesh and not synthetic material, such as plastic.
  •     Avoid wearing tight-fitting shoes.
  •     Consider wearing open-toed sandals in summer and going barefoot at home in the evenings.

If you have a medical condition called hyperhidrosis, which means you sweat more than usual, see your doctor for advice.



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