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What to Do about Foot Odor

Many foot problems are painful (think arthritis or plantar fasciitis). Some of them, like athlete’s foot, are contagious. Foot odor isn’t contagious or painful, but that doesn’t make it any less frustrating for our patients here at Clifton Foot & Ankle Center.

Feet smell when they’re sweaty. However, don’t blame the sweat alone. Smelly feet are actually due to bacteria that cling to your sweaty skin and begin to eat away at it.  You can usually tame foot odor at home using the following methods:

  • Wash your feet every day to clear away the bacteria.
  • Change your socks whenever they’re wet with sweat – more than once per day if necessary.
  • Alternate your shoes; wear a pair one day and let it dry out the next.
  • Soak your feet in vinegar or tea baths.

A more pervasive kind of foot odor

Sweaty, smelly feet are normal when it’s hot out or after a good workout. However, some people’s feet sweat way more than what we’d consider normal. These people suffer from a condition called hyperhidrosis. “Hyper” means over and above or more than usual; “hidrosis” means sweating. Hyperhidrosis may be triggered by someone’s certain emotions or social situations. On the other hand, there may be no trigger at all. Sweat seems to pour out for no apparent reason.

Get professional help for foot odor that won’t quit

Keeping your shoes aired out and your feet clean and dry may not be enough to control your foot odor if you suffer from hyperhidrosis. If this sounds like you, make an appointment with Fairfax County podiatrist Kenneth R. Wilhelm, DPM. Dr. Wilhelm can treat excessively sweaty feet with prescription-strength antiperspirants, other topical agents that kill odor-causing bacteria, and a procedure called iontophoresis. Iontophoresis uses a slight electrical current to block sweat before it reaches the skin. Treatment is painless, non-invasive, and we perform it right here in our office.

If overly sweaty or smelly feet are interfering with your life, we can help. Call us in Centreville, Virginia at (703) 996-3000 or contact us online.

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