9 Surprising Things It Means About Your Health If Your Feet Stink

by Lindsay E. Mack

Although you might want to smell like a bed of roses all the time, the truth is that sometimes body parts just reek. But this isn't always a sign of terrible hygiene or anything. As the surprising things it means about your health if your feet stink show, there are plenty of reasons your feet may be less than fresh. Sometimes, it's just the way your body works, and other times there's a simple remedy to help your dogs smell a little better.

For most people, though, the feet are one of the smellier areas of the body. This is because one pair of feet contains an average of 250,000 sweat glands, which can produce up to a half pint of sweat every day, according to the California Podiatric Medical Association. I'm looking at the 8 ounce marker on my water bottle right now, and that's a lot of sweat. Throw in some socks and shoes that retain moisture, and it's a recipe for some pretty rank smells, even under the best of circumstances.

That said, some health conditions can make these smells even worse. Thankfully, most stinky foot issues can be solved pretty easily with some over the counter remedies. If you have any serious concerns about your feet, of course, don't hesitate to see a doctor for advice. Otherwise, check out these common causes of foot odor.


Excess Sweat

Some people sweat more than others, and this can lead to odor issues. For instance, people who have hyperhidrosis, in which the body produces excess sweat, may find that this condition worsens foot smell, according to One Medical. It's beyond your control. If over the counter antiperspirants aren't helping, then consider seeing your doctor for advice. Anything from Botox injections to prescription antiperspirants may be used to treat hyperhidrosis, according to WebMD.


Athlete's Foot

A fungal infection, athlete's foot can cause a foul odor, according to Summit Medical Group. If you have additional signs of the infection, such as an itchy, scaly rash, then consider using some over-the-counter anti-fungal creams, and try to keep the feet dry, as further noted by the Summit Medical Group.


Stifling Sock Fibers

It's also possible your natural body odor just doesn't play well with certain fibers in your socks. If you end the day with super damp feet, then look for other options to keep your feet dry. For instance, socks made from moisture-wicking materials such as wool tend to be less smelly, as noted in Medical News Today.


Stress Sweat

It may sound weird, but the type of sweat you produce can have different smells associated with it. In fact, sweat produced from sweat can smell worse than workout sweat, thanks to its origin in the appocrine glands, according to Healthy Women. Stress sweat can contain more of the nutrients that feed bacteria, which results in that signature stink, as further explained in Healthy Women.


Hormonal Changes

Hormones affect pretty much everything, so it's no surprise that they can influence your foot odor as well. "Hormonal changes can cause you to sweat more, too. For this reason, teenagers and pregnant women are more prone to smelly feet," said foot and ankle specialist Dr. Kosta Antonopoulos in Live Well with UnityPoint Health. Yes, it's another thing no one warns you about pregnancy.


Damp Feet

Do what you can to keep those feet dry. Wet feet can be more prone to infections, according to WebMD, and infections can lead to smelliness (as well as discomfort). Be sure to dry your feet thoroughly after a shower, and consider using foot powder or anti-fungal powder to absorb excess moisture.


Cleaning Needs

Taking a few extra seconds to wash your feet thoroughly can make a big difference. Consider using an antibacterial soap and a bristle brush to really exfoliate all areas of the foot, according to Beauty Heaven. Applying some foot cream afterward is a nice finishing touch.


Worn-Out Shoes

If your foot hygiene is flawless, then consider your footwear. It's best to avoid wearing the same pair of shoes two days in a row, because this gives them time to dry out thoroughly, according to the Institute for Preventative Foot Health. Again, keeping those feet dry is the name of the game.


Excess Dry Foot Skin

This is another reason to regularly exfoliate your feet. As it turns out, dry skin and calluses can feed bacteria, which results in more smelliness, according to Getting rid of that excess skin may help cut down on the smell.

Although stinky feet are sometimes unavoidable, often a simple change of footwear and a good scrub can help so much. Plus, it's just nice to treat yourself to a little foot pampering now and then.