Smelly feet - the medical name is bromodosis - can affect anyone. It can be embarrassing and uncomfortable. The main cause is sweaty feet and there are simple steps you can take to help prevent this.
What causes sweaty and smelly feet?
The function of sweat glands is to keep the skin moist and therefore supple, and to regulate temperature when the weather is hot or while you are exercising. There are more sweat glands in our feet than anywhere else in the body. However, unlike sweat glands elsewhere in the body, the sweat glands in the feet secrete all the time, not just in response to heat or exercise.
Feet smell when bacteria on the skin break down sweat as it comes from the pores. A cheesy smell is released as the sweat decomposes.
The main causes of sweaty and smelly feet are:
Not letting sweat accumulate inside your shoes is the most logical way of preventing smelly feet.
Preventing smelly feet
The best way to prevent smelly feet is good personal hygiene and not wearing the same shoes 2 days in a row. It's important to wash your feet every day and dry them thoroughly, especially between the toes. Teenagers especially should be discouraged from wearing the same pair of trainers all the time. You should also wear clean socks every day. Cotton or wool socks are much better than nylon.
If you're particularly prone to sweaty feet, you could:
These steps to prevent sweaty and smelly feet will usually help. If they don't, or you are worried about how much you sweat, seek medical advice.
Athlete's foot can also cause your feet to smell. You can treat this yourself with antifungal treatment available from a pharmacy. Seek medical advice if you're concerned or if the problem is not clearing up.