Getting rid of foot odor means dealing with two different issues: bacteria and sweat. We always have bacteria on our skin, but you can help to keep those odor-producing bacteria at bay by washing your feet with an antibacterial soap. It's easy to neglect your feet (and focus on those other, more odor-producing areas of the body), so wash them well and make sure that you dry them thoroughly. You may also want to consider using a pumice stone in the shower to slough off the dry, dead skin on your feet. Along with keeping your feet moisturized, this step will mean less food for the Brevibacteria.
There are lots of things you can do to keep your feet dry. Start by limiting the amount of time that you wear shoes made out of synthetic materials, which don't allow air to circulate as well as natural materials like leather or canvas. The same goes for socks -- try to wear socks made out of wool, cotton, hemp or bamboo. Always put on clean ones, and consider changing them once during the day. You should avoid wearing the same pair of shoes all the time, too. When you get home and take off your shoes, don't just throw them in your closet -- leave them out overnight to dry, and wash them occasionally if possible. Open-toed shoes and sandals let your feet breathe and will actually cut down on odor when your feet are clean, dry and cared-for. Antibacterial, odor-absorbing foot powders, sprays and shoe inserts can also help to keep your shoes and feet dry and odor-free. Finally, you can try using the same antiperspirant that you use on your underarms.
One -- or all -- of these foot odor remedies should have you no longer worried about shedding your shoes. But if you still have bad foot odor, you may need a stronger remedy such as a prescription antiperspirant or even Botox injections. Severe foot odor can also be a sign of a more serious foot problem, and you'll need to see your doctor or a podiatrist.
- American College of Foot and Ankle Surgeons. "What is foot odor?" Food Health Facts. Dec 18, 2009. (Sept. 3, 2010).http://www.footphysicians.com/what-is/ns_foot-odor.htm
- Ara, Katsutoshi, et al. "Foot odor due to microbial metabolism and its control." Canadian Journal of Microbiology. Vol. 52. Issue 4. 2006. (Sept. 3, 2010).
- Dyer, Betsy. "Betsy's Bacteria." Wheaton Quarterly. Fall 2003. (Sept. 3, 2010).http://www.wheatoncollege.edu/quarterly/q2003fall/bacteria.html
- ePodiatry.com. "Smelly foot (Foot Odor)." ePodiatry. 2004. (Sept. 3, 2010).http://www.epodiatry.com/smelly-foot.htm
- "Go Ask Alice! "Foot Odor." Health Services at Columbia: Columbia University's Internet Health Q&A Service. Dec 8, 2005. (Sept. 3, 2010).http://www.goaskalice.columbia.edu/0728.html
- International Hyperhidrosis Society. "You Ask, We Answer: How to Manage Foot & Body Odor." International Hyperhidrosis Society. April 2005. (Sept. 3, 2010).http://www.sweathelp.org/English/CMN_Article.asp?ArticleCode=24126717&EditionCode=83213936