Back in school, Dominic, a classmate, had smelly feet. You couldn’t miss him; the stench of his feet was enough to alert a blind person of his presence. I always wondered why his feet smelled like that yet he was one of the cleanest boys in school. The unpleasant stench repulsed all students and no one wanted to be near him. Even he was uncomfortable and kept his distance whenever he could because students would start to whisper whenever he came near them. And even when he wore open shoes, the smell was still terrible.
Most of us have to cope with smelly, sweaty feet from time to time, especially during hot weather. According to Dr Ronald Ssekitoleko of Kampala Family Clinic, while sometimes foot odour is a health issue, lack of hygiene plays a big role. He says that while Dominic seemed clean, it was possible that there was a part of his body he just didn’t pay attention to - the feet. Failure to clean and dry the feet well can cause them to smell when covered in shoes because bacteria like dirty and warm places. “The high temperature in shoes favours the growth and multiplication of bacteria,” Dr Ssekitoleko explains.
Athletes Foot, also known as ringworm of the feet, is a fungal infection which often attacks between and under the toes, causing a bad odour - especially if one wears closed shoes a lot. “Though Athletes Foot may not cause your feet to smell immediately, they gradually will, if it is not treated fast,” Dr Ssekitoleko says.
Wearing shoes is a good idea, but the doctor advises against wearing the same pair every day. If possible, avoid wearing the same shoes two days in a row. Skipping a day will allow them time to dry out completely.
All human beings are different in one way or another and that includes our immunity. While one person may put on the same pair of shoes and not have smelly feet, another will smell because of the difference in immunity to parasites.
Dr Ssekitoleko says some people’s immunities are very low and perceptible to fungal infections.
Many times, people may not pay attention to what they are eating but the doctor says poor nutrition can play a big role in causing smelly feet.
Diabetic people are prone to smelly feet because bacteria love sweet things,” the doctor says. Diabetics provide the perfect atmosphere - sweet and warm, for the bacteria.
While you can treat foot odour, preventing it will spare you the embarrassment that comes when others smell your stinky feet.