Wow, that really stinks!
Certain people have a tendency to have really stinky feet, which can be super embarrassing and awkward. The medical term is called bromohydrosis, and for some people this is like a crisis. One of my good friends has the stinkiest feet, and I have no problem calling him out on it, but it can be really an embarrassing thing for people and it is a tough problem to cover up.
Now, the feet are an area in the body with a high number of sweat glands (250,000 to be exact), so they are at risk for smelliness from the start! But the question then is, why do some peoples feet smell and some don't? It can be based on a lot of different factors, but while all of our feet smell, some people tend to have hyperhidrosis (a condition which causes excessive sweating in the feet), stress, hormonal changes, certain medications, and some lifestyle choices. When the feet sweat, bacteria (usually corynebacteria) is present, which leaves and isovaleric acid, which is what causes the smell. Some people do have foot fungus, which can be present and visible in the nails, which is a totally different problem! So, get rid of that acid, get rid of the smell.....easy right?? I want to give some basic foot care, home remedies for the excessively smelly feet, and medical treatments. Most of the medical treatments are for fungus, so that may be an underlying problem, but try these tips first, then go from there and see your HCP when the home remedies aren't working.
CLean your feet daily with soap (preferably antibacterial) and dry them thoroughly after showering/bathing. Also, try to wear cotton socks, and switch your shoes daily; it allows the shoes to dry out from sweating and can help in a decrease in smelliness! Also it is best to wear cotton socks, or natural fiber socks as opposed to synthetic fibers; cotton (or natural fibers) absorb the sweat and synthetic fibers whisk the sweat into your shoes, then you have smelly feet AND stinky shoes! Also drinking a lot of water can help to flush the system of toxins and allow for foot odor to decrease (there is a school of thought that the odor is toxin related.) And finally, allow your feet to be open as much as you can; be in bare feet when you get home, don't sleep with socks on, and wear sandals/flip flops when you can to let those puppies air out!!
When that doesn't work? Try some home remedies:
Dust your freshly washed and dried feet with corn starch or powder (light dusting)
Wash your feet with freshly brewed and cooled green tea, it can have antibacterial effects
Wash your feet with acne medication, the antibacterial function that can prevent acne can prevent the foot odor as well!
Soak your feet weekly in a tub of water with some baking soda and two tablespoons of standard white vinegar
As turnip and radish juice are natural deodorants, you can rub your feet in one of these juices to war off the smell
Crush ginger-root and rub on your feet as it aids in ridding toxins, or you can take a bath in the crushed ginger weekly
Eat Cilantro! It is a detoxifier (supposedly of metals specifically) but it may absorb the toxins before you sweat them out (they will come out another way!)
Zinc supplements supposedly can help with foot odor because some people think it can be due to a zinc deficiency
Finally, urinate on your feet in the shower!! Urea has natural anti-fungal effects and can kill off a fungus which may cause your smelly feet....plus, peeing in the shower is a good idea in public showers if you are in bare feet to ward off picking up athletes foot!!
Aluminum Chloride Hexahydrate is a cream that must be applied ot the feet nightly to decrease sweating
Electric currents can be used to pass a small electrical current through the skin into the sweat glands and prevent them from sweating (or diminish it) for several weeks
*Botox injections to the sweat glands can paralyze the glands and prevent them from sweating
*In severe cases, a surgeon can cut a nerve that allows the feet to sweat; therefore you will no longer sweat trough your feet
***Just a heads up here, your body needs to sweat to get rid of toxins and flush the body, so if you stop all sweat from your feet (or armpits or wherever you want to retard sweating) it has to come out somewhere, so you may get more back sweat or hand sweat, increase underarm sweat, etc. So just be aware that it WILL come out!!
I hope this helps any/all of you with bromohydrosis, and remember that if the home remedies don't work, go see your HCP and get a stronger treatment because you may have a foot fungus which has different treatments! Good luck!
Yours in Good Health!