Medical questions & health advice by board certified doctors
"Why do my feet have this awful smell?"
I'm a 20 year old full time student attending university. Recently my feet have this awful smell whenever I take my shoes off and it sometimes fills the whole room. I don't even want to take my shoes off anymore when I go to a get together. My don't feet don't itch or anything they just smell terrible. Please help me.
I would recommend that you discuss this with your primary care physician. If required, he or she may send you to a foot specialist (known as a podiatrist), however starting with your primary care physician would be advisable. The most common cause of foot odor is a growth of bacteria. This is caused by the fact that the foot can produce a significant amount of sweat. This warm, wet environment is the perfect environment for bacteria to grow -- and they can grow into your socks and shoes. Therefore, the smell may be coming from your shoes and not necessarily your feet. Washing your feet daily with antibiotic soap is important. Drying agents like talcum powder can be helpful to dry the feet and thereby kill bacteria. Other drying agents can be used if not enough and rarely surgery to decrease foot swelling is required. The foot itself can smell again from an infection -- although a fungal infection is more common. While athlete's foot is more often itchy and painful -- it can cause a smell. Therefore, I would recommend trying over the counter athlete's feet treatment (Tinactin, Lasmisil or miconazole) topically applied. Talk to your doctor. Good luck!