The ABC’s of Smelly Feet

If you’ve got smelly feet you don’t need to go too far to get to the source—100% of the time that bad smell is caused by your sweat breaking down fatty acids and the resulting bacteria. That might sound innocent enough until you take off your shoes after a workout in a room full of friends and family.

Here’s the paradox about stinky feet that confuses a lot of people. The bacteria that causes your feet to smell is exactly the same all over your body. When people find out about that they wonder why a sweaty forearm doesn’t clear a room the way your feet might.

Stinker Makers

The answer lies in sweat glands. In fact, you have a quarter million of these little stinker makers on each foot. That translates into more perspiration that turns into the kind of odours we all try to avoid. What makes matters worse is the fact that your feet are generally enclosed in socks and shoes all day long.
Of course, there are a few exceptions to this natural smelly foot rule. One of the ones everyone is heard about his athlete’s foot. This infection is fungal and can be picked up from swimming pools and other moist warm places like locker rooms.

Athlete’s foot creates its own smell and is best diagnosed by a podiatrist.

Right Kind of Sock

Choosing the right kind of sock goes a long way to reducing the way your feet smell. Some of the more common choices that we think are best for your tootsies aren’t necessarily so. For example, cotton allows the air to circulate and is considered breathable, but it can stay moist and cause odor. The better choice are some synthetic blends or even wool because each draws moisture away from your foot and that way your sock doesn’t stay wet.

The Wrong Shoe

As you might have already imagined, choosing the wrong shoe can make your feet smell too. The bacteria that causes your feet to stink thrives in those kinds of closed environments that are moist and dark. Sometimes the correct choice is all about sacrificing style for ventilation.
In other words, you might really like your leather boots and think they are the height of fashion. However, sneakers are the more reasonable choice if you’re concerned about the way your feet smell. Finally, if you’re an athlete or just someone who likes to stay in shape, make sure you air out your sneakers in the sun.

Women are Ditching High Heels

Here in Canada, you’ll find more women opting for ballet flats and sneakers rather than the high-heeled stilettos that were common a generation ago. While it’s true that workplaces are becoming casual, women are starting to work from home while others are opting to walk to work in comfortable shoes. All good reasons why flats are becoming more popular than heels.

Those who do still work in a traditional office often stand for their health. Many more take the stairs and even walk to lunch. It all adds up to more and more women ditching high heels for comfortable shoes that make sense and are healthier.

Even our colleagues at the American Podiatric Medical Association report that high heels can result in strains and pains of all different sorts.

Common Foot Problems

One of the most common foot problems associated with these high heels are bunions. These commonly show up on the inside of the big toe and although they look like bones growing outward, they have more to do with the big toe joint. When the alignment of the big toe gets out of joint, this problem starts. Bunions are made even worse in heels because the position and shape of the shoe comes in direct contact with that misaligned joint.

There are other issues that make flats the more logical choice over heels. Consider:

  • Bumped Heel Bone. If you wear high heels long enough, you can wind up making the back of your heel more prominent. When you consider that some people already have an enlarged heel from genetics, you can see why the problem can be made much worse with raised shoes.
  • Hammer Toes. This is a common foot problem that can come up as a result of other issues, but high heels are still a big reason why bent and crooked toes cause discomfort. Still, although high heels make the situation worse, it’s unfair to blame this foot problem on them completely. Although women often blame high heels for the resulting corns, they are often a by product of a pre-existing hammer toe situation.

Although women are ditching high heels for more sensible shoes, there are some things you can do if you can’t do without those pumps. If you can limit the amount of time you spend in those raised shoes, you’ll be able to avoid a lot of the pain and swelling associated with them.

Finding the right kind of cushions for the front of the shoe is another possible solution.