JACKSON, MS (Mississippi News Now) - Stinky feet are a problem for most adults, and one that can affect children, too.
Podiatrist Dr. Tip Sullivan at Mississippi Foot and Surgical Center said people might associate stinky feet with summer weather, but it is actually a year round problem.
The odor results from the digestive process of bacteria. Bacteria love sweaty, dead skin cells. They eat those. They thrive on them. After they consume the nourishment, bacteria digest the sweat, and they pass gas. The result is stinky feet.
"They pass a sulfur type of gas," said Dr. Sullivan. "If you've ever smelled rotten eggs, that's where it comes from."
Dr. Sullivan said a fact many people do not know is the most sweat glands in the body are located in the feet. That's why feet produce the most sweat in the body. "Most people sweat between a cup and a pint of sweat a day."
Dr. Sullivan said to correct the problem, you want to kill as much bacteria as possible. Soak your feet in vinegar and water, or Epsom salt and water, daily. Clean between toes, and dry your feet, completely.
"You put powder in your shoes," said Dr. Sullivan. "It helps absorb sweat. You wear socks that wick moisture away from feet."
Dr. Sullivan also recommended taking extra socks everywhere you go so you can change them, if necessary.
"Open shoes allow the sweat to evaporate quickly, and it doesn't allow the bacteria to grow as easily," added Dr. Sullivan. If sandals stink, he said it is the shoes, not your feet.
Antiperspirants might also help reduce sweating and bacteria. Dr. Sullivan said using underarm antiperspirants on the feet usually works fine. There are prescription antiperspirants, but he said those are not commonly necessary.
One method many patients are interested in is how the doctor fends off stinky feet. "I have inserts in my shoes," said Dr. Sullivan. "I just keep the inserts clean, and my shoes will mechanically wear out before they will stink anybody out."
Dr. Sullivan said another option to lower the amount of sweat released through the feet is Botox injections.
If you've tried everything that podiatrists recommend, take the stinking shoes, toss them, and get a new pair.