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Why your shoes, feet smell

Joy Anyim

Do you fell embarrassed whenever you put off your shoes at home, in the office or any other place and an offensive smell oozes from them? Do people feel irritated whenever you do same?  If yes,  then you may be suffering from Bromodosis. 

Bromodosis, which is simply known as smelly foot or foot odour is the cause of that unpleasant smell from your shoes.

It is a type of body odour peculiar to the feet. It is not necessarily associated with poor hygiene but occurs when the feet lack ventilation.

When the feet sweats, bacteria on the skin feast on and break down the sweat, causing it to produce isovaleric acid which is responsible for the offensive odour.

Each foot has over 250,000 sweat glands that can produce over a pint of sweat in a day. So, as the sweat emanates from the pores around the feet, the bacteria which are ever present on the skin acts on it, resulting in a cheesy smell.

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Other causes of foot odour:

Other causes of smelly foot could be, what you are wearing (poor quality shoes, over worn shoes or socks); fungus infection such as Athlete’s foot; certain medications; some diseases; persons with hyperhidrosis (a condition which makes a person to sweat excessively); poor hygiene and harsh environments.

How to prevent foot odour:

“Prevention”, the saying goes, “is better than cure.” So for those who would not want to have smelly foot here are  a few guidelines.

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  1. Wear well-made shoes (leather shoes or canvas), as your feet will breathe better in them unlike in plastic ones.
  2. Wear shoes for the occasion and place. If you can do without boots during hot weathers, it is advisable to do so.
  3. Buy more than one pair of shoes and give an interval of at least 24 hours before you repeat a pair.
  4. The type of socks you wear determines if you will have smelly foot or not. It is always advisable to wear socks made with copper,wool, cool max or any other moisture-wicking fibres. This will help for ventilation.
  5. Wash your body including the feet daily.If you have a history of foot odour, clean your feet with an anti-bacterial soap.
  6. When you are at home in the evenings,you can walk around on bare foot to allow the feet breath some fresh air.
  7. Drink lots of water as it helps fight body odour.Also keep the feet dry always because the feet perspire more than any other part of the body.

Treatment of foot odour

There are claims that some home made recipes such as ginger and charcoal solutions are effective for the treatment of foot odour. Others recommend some medicated foot deodorant cream as very effective treatment option. Such claims may be true, but it is still advisable you consult a physician as persistent foot odour may be a warning sign of a more serious health condition.