Why do my feet smell

Monday February 3 2020

Coffee, coke, Pepsi, or even energy drinks

Coffee, coke, Pepsi, or even energy drinks should also be avoided since they contain caffeine that may increase sweating and therefore foot odour. Net Photo 

By Dr Vincent Karuhanga

Whenever I get stressed at work, my feet start smelling. I have stopped wearing closed shoes and eating meat or eggs to no avail. What can I do? Enos

Dear Enos,
Foot odour is caused by breakdown of sweat by foot bacteria left to accumulate on the feet. Feet have as many as 250,000 sweat glands that constantly produce about 500mls of sweat to keep feet moist. Sweat itself has no smell but when in excess and accumulates on the skin, it will be broken down by skin bacteria leading to a repugnant smell.

Unchanged socks or even shoes which hold on to sweat create a good growth environment for bacteria and a fungus, worsening matters. This is why it is important to maintain proper foot hygiene and wearing dry clean shoes and socks.

Some people’s feet over sweat because they are genetically inclined and stress and anxiety simply makes it worse. Since you say you remove your shoes when you reach office, you should wash and dry them well when the shoes are off. Some foods containing garlic may increase foot odour.
Coffee, coke, Pepsi, or even energy drinks should also be avoided since they contain caffeine that may increase sweating and therefore foot odour.

When some people with a condition called trimethylaminuria eat meat, fish or eggs, their sweat may end up smelling like fish since these have choline which is converted in our gut into the fishy compound trimethylamine (TMA). The solution for such people is to stop eating these foods.

Otherwise anybody with foot odour requires good foot hygiene to control foot odour. Shoes and socks should allow feet to breathe and should therefore be spacious and made of leather. Washing the feet daily with soap and water and keeping them dry is also important.

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