Everyone has experienced the odor of shoe-confined, sweat-ridden feet! It is a phenomenon that either has occurred to you or to someone around you… and that unpleasant scent has traveled to your nose. Intense foot odor, also known as bromohidrosis, is a problem that millions of people experience every day!
Why does bromohidrosis happen?
Bromohidrosis is primarily caused by wet, sweaty feet that find themselves confined in close-toed shoe wear. The feet have the most sweat glands out of any other part of the body, almost 500,000 glands all together! Unfortunately, when feet are enclosed in shoes – the sweat has nowhere to evaporate and thus stays on your feet and in your shoes! The warm temperatures and the moisture due to perspiration create an optimal environment for bacterial growth. Bromohidrosis is essentially the metabolic product isovaleric acid caused by the thriving bacteria in your shoes.
What causes sweaty feet?
The condition of excessively sweaty feet is termed hyperhidrosis and is fundamental cause of foot odor. This disorder affects approximately 1% of the population. Other causes for more than normal perspiration leading to bromohidrosis are stress, hormonal changes and even some drugs.
Is bromohidrosis dangerous?
Although bromohidrosis is uncomfortable and embarrassing, this foot condition is not a health hazard. However, bromohidrosis is a condition that should alert you that your feet and shoes are now home to plenty of bacteria. If not prevented or treated, toenail and skin fungus may follow your sweaty predicament. Fungus also grows in the same type of environment as bacteria: dark, wet and warm. If you have a nail laceration or rupture in the skin, the organisms may find their way into your toe and spread in the area.
What are ways to prevent smelly feet?
- Wear cotton or wool socks instead of those made of synthetic materials (like acrylic) as cotton
and wool will help absorb moisture and allow your feet to breathe
- Change your socks often, at least once a day to keep bacteria from taking hold
- Wear open-toed shoes or minimize the wear of close-toed shoes
- Practice good foot hygiene and shower regularly
- Dry your feet thoroughly after washing them (especially between toes) and keep your feet dry
- Dust your feet with foot powder (like talcum) to discourage sweating
- Air out your shoes in natural sunlight
What treatment options are available for bromohidrosis?
These options should be considered after you have tried preventing the condition. Consult your podiatrist about your problem and they may recommend stronger alternatives. Treatments may involve aluminum chloride hexahydrate 20% solution, electric current devices used to diminish sweating, or surgical intervention which involves cutting the nerve responsible for perspiration. Your medical professional will know the appropriate course of action for you and help you control this unpleasant problem!
Come into Beverly Hills Foot and Ankle, P.A. today to see how Dr. Nisha Krishnan can help you with your feet problems! Together, we'll find a treatment option that works for you!
Call us at (352) 513-4867!
About the Author
Dr. Nisha Krishnan is the President of Beverly Hills Foot and Ankle, P.A. She specializes in Podiatric Medicine and Surgery and offers a full-range of foot, ankle and lower leg services.