Smelly feet are a common problem, particularly for people who sweat a lot, lead active lifestyles, or those who wear tight-fitting shoes. This can be a cause of embarrassment for many individuals, but know that you’re not alone. Many people experience foot odor issues at some point in their lives and a podiatrist can help address this condition.
If you have smelly feet that just won’t go away, you have come to the right place. Below are some signs you need to look out for to know when it’s time to see a podiatrist.
Signs You Need Help from a Podiatrist
- Persistent Foot Odor
Having foot odor from time to time is normal, especially when you’ve undergone strenuous activities or a long day. However, if you notice that your feet smell even after washing, cleaning, and drying your feet thoroughly and regularly, this may point to signs that you have underlying issues that call for professional attention.
- Itching and Discomfort
Smelly feet can sometimes be caused by fungal infections, such as athlete’s foot. This can lead to itching and discomfort, as well as unwanted foot odor. If your feet constantly itch or worse, have a burning sensation to them, this can signify other foot problems or concerns.
- Change in Foot Appearance
Similar to the point above, foot infections like athlete’s foot can sometimes cause changes in a person’s foot appearance. Some changes in foot appearance that you should look out for include redness, inflammation, or cracked feet, among others. Blisters and peeling skin are also other changes you have to look out for.
- You Have Other Medical Conditions
Individuals who are living or dealing with certain medical conditions like diabetes or peripheral vascular disease are highly encouraged to consult with their trusted foot doctor.
These aforementioned medical conditions put individuals at increased risk of foot complications, especially as these diseases compromise blood circulation, particularly at their feet. This can lead to slower wound healing, foot infections due to high blood sugar, or foot ulcers.
Foot Odor and the Connection with Fungal Infections
There are various causes of smelly feet, but one of the most common causes for these are fungal infections like athlete’s foot. Fungi and bacteria such as Epidermophyton or Trichophyton typically thrive in warm and moist environments, especially the insides of your shoes and even between the toes.
When these fungi multiply and fail to be stopped in their tracks, they break down sweat and dead skin, leading it to produce a bad smell in your feet. These fungal infections can contaminate various surfaces, not just your shoes and feet. If left untreated, these can also be spread through towels and floors.
How Foot Doctors Treat Smelly Feet
Visiting your podiatrist can help you get rid of smelly feet. Consulting with these medical professionals can help treat the root of the problem.
To diagnose the underlying cause of foot odor, podiatrists can use varying diagnostic tools and methods to determine the cause of your foot odor. These include conducting a physical examination of your feet to look for any signs of infection.
Moreover, your foot doctor may also conduct a fungal culture by taking a sample of your skin or toenails. They’ll send these to a lab in order for them to be tested for fungus. Alternatively, people with potential underlying medical conditions may be asked to get further blood tests to determine what causes their foot odor.
The Bottom Line
Regular visits and consultations with your podiatrist can help treat the root of foot odor. By identifying the cause of smelly feet, you can regain your comfort and confidence with every step you take.