You’ve washed your toes three times a day, took your shower, put on hydrating cream, and plenty of aromatic products to avoid the smell, but still, after a long and tiring day at work or school, while kicking off your shoes and socks, you’re greeted with that unmistakable odor! Of course, it’s a typical body odor, yet very embarrassing, and it may make you ask yourself, “Why do my tootsies smell like rotten and fermented cheese?”
Just like all our skin, our feet are covered with a massive amount of sweat glands (250,000 glands to be precise), which are responsible for their nasty smell! Many people will blame a lack of proper podiatric hygiene for this condition (which is not wholly false), but the truth is that many other factors can cause this anomaly! Let’s check them out!
So, Why Do My Toes Stink by the End of the Day?
When your feet are covered with close-toed shoes, and you run around all day, they’ll generally sweat. And sweat itself has no odor. It’s when it gets into contact with bacteria that it produces this nasty smell. Scientifically this condition is known as Bromhidrosis, which is defined as excessive sweating (hyperhidrosis). Bacteria on the skin break down sweat as it comes out of the pores. As it breaks down, it automatically gives off a cheesy odor.
Therefore, the best way to prevent your feet from smelling is to wash them well and avoid wearing the same shoes for two days in a row (so as not to put your feet in a shoe that is still damp with the previous day’s sweat). That’s especially important for adolescents, who tend to find their feet smell more. But what causes stinky feet?
That’s more during adolescence or the puberty phase. Hormonal changes play a significant role in our body, including hair loss, beginning of menses, acne, and so on. All these changes are caused by hormonal discharges that give rise to waste. These wastes are eliminated in several ways, and one of them is through the feet’ sweat glands.
There are certain types of food that, when degraded, give rise to odoriferous molecules (which cause foul odors) and are eliminated through sweat, such as spices, alcohol, onion, or garlic. Check out this article to learn more about foods that can help eliminate body odor!
Stress and Anxiety
Whether it’s a first date, a job interview, or an important event, these are situations to which our bodies physically react when experiencing strong emotions such as stress. Stress sweat occurs when we try to impress someone or appear calm and confident, and then a face or hands covered in sweat can put us in a situation of shame, and even our clothes can give us away.
These disorders cause the release of hormones, stimulating the sweat glands. We have two types of sweat glands: apocrine and eccrine. When we are stressed or anxious, the largest apocrine glands – mainly in the armpits and groin – begin to produce sweat. Stressful or anxiety-producing situations also cause our heart rate to increase, and hormones and adrenaline flow throughout our bodies, causing extra perspiration from our eccrine glands.
Although it may not be easy, try to find ways to stay calm. Many people deal with stress sweat by taking deep breaths, listening to music, or going for a walk. Look for the best options that suit you!
Infections by Fungi and Bacteria on the Feet
One of the most common pathologies is an athlete’s foot or tinea pedis, which mainly affects athletes or mountaineers due to the excess moisture accumulated inside the footwear.
Hyperhidrosis is excessive sweating, which can be caused by another illness or a medication’s side effect. However, some people suffer from this excessive sweating without an associated cause (“primary hyperhidrosis”). The most affected areas are the hands, feet, armpits, or head. Primary hyperhidrosis usually begins in childhood or adolescence.
Hyperhidrosis can also be inherited and shared by several family members and is therefore known to have a genetic component. Nevertheless, this condition is sporadic and can affect 3% to 5% of the population.
Are Smelly Feet Healthy?
Stinky feet are rarely signs of a health problem, but sometimes it can be caused by an infection. Visit a doctor if you notice signs of infection or the smell does not improve. Although you have a condition that puts you at risk of foot odor, adopting appropriate steps to maintain clean and dry feet will undoubtedly combat foul smell!