It is a natural process for the body to sweat. The body is covered with over 5 million sweat glands and the foot contains 250,000 sweat glands alone. Each sweat gland secretes moisture and salts onto the surface of the skin to cool it down. This explains why we sweat more during hot weather and exercise. Sweaty feet are a common condition occurring when feet sweat excessively and inappropriately, sometimes causing an unpleasant odour. However for some people it can be a persistent condition that can be embarrassing and bothersome.
Cause of foot odour / smelly feet
The sweat glands of the feet are overactive and produce more sweat than is necessary can be due to:
Response to feelings of anxiety or stress.
Medical condition such as diabetes, hyperthyroidism, menopause or obesity.
Footwear consisting of synthetic materials and man-made materials.
Socks manufactured from man-made materials.
Stress triggered by, both physical and emotional.
Changes in hormonal levels.
Change in the weather, hot or cold.
Signs and symptoms of Foot odour/ Smelly feet:
Moist and wet feet.
Continually damp or wet socks.
Smelly feet due to excess moisture on the feet creates a breeding ground for bacteria and fungi which break down.
Excessive fungi can cause peeling and sogginess between the toes (see Athlete’s foot).
Pitted keratolysis where the skin has a pitted, punched out appearance.
Other areas of the body may be affected – most commonly are the hands, armpits, hands and scalp.