ZocdocAnswersWhat is the best way to eliminate foot odor?

Question

What is the best way to eliminate foot odor?

My feet smell truly awful when I take off my boots at night. What is the best way to fight this? I'm in the construction industry, so I have to wear workboots for 8 to 12 hours a day.

Answer

Foot odor is a common problem which, although not medically serious, can be a source of distress and embarrassment. The doctors who will be well qualified to discuss this issue with you include your primary care doctor. Foot odor is caused by normal skin bacteria that digest the sweat your feet naturally produce, which creates the unpleasant odor. Therefore, the treatment of foot odor generally involves reducing the amount of sweat and bacteria on the skin. It is important to wash your feet daily with a good antibacterial soap. They should also be dried thoroughly, as excess moisture encourages bacterial growth. Wear good, wicking socks at all times; if possible you could consider changing your socks twice a day. If you can, have two pairs of boots and do not wear the same pair two days in a row; this will give them time to dry out. If these strategies do not work, your doctor may be able to prescribe some topical medications to reduce the number of bacteria or to reduce the amount of foot sweating. As always the diagnosis and the management of your particular concern will require a physical examination by your personal physician. Scheduling an office visit with your primary care doctor might be recommended.

This answer is for general informational purposes only and is not a substitute for professional medical advice.

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