Foot Odour & Sweating

Foot odour is an unpleasant condition for many patients, and is medically known as bromhidrosis. The first step in developing foot odour is usually the excessive sweating of feet and the accumulation of this sweat, known as hyperhidrosis. The feet contain over 250,000 sweat glands, and use these glands to effectively remove excess heat from our bodies.  

What causes foot odour?

While regular sweating isn’t unusually odorous, when sweat mixes with bacteria that break down the skin, unpleasant foot odour is produced. It may not just be bacteria contributing to the smell, but also yeast and fungus. This may not only cause foot odour, but also rashes and skin reactions. In terms of the cause, anything that causes increased sweating in the feet will increase foot odour. This can include:
  • Hot weather
  • Walking around on your feet all day
  • A genetic predisposition to increased sweating
  • Hormonal changes causing increased activity in sweat glands

How is it treated?

Ways to manage foot odour focuses on treating the bacterial infection as well as reducing excess sweat as much as possible. This can include:
  • Drying your feet well after showering, especially between the toes
  • Cleaning your feet using an antiseptic agent
  • Using an antifungal agent where a bacterial AND fungal infection is suspected
  • Airing out shoes
  • Don’t wear the same shoes two days in a row
  • Changing socks frequently if they start to feel damp
If the smell perseveres, you may need to get a medicated cream from your GP to treat the infection.