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Tykia Murray: Sole Survival -- Defeating the Funk

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It is fodder for first grade class clowns and insensitive friends – stinky feet. YOUR stinky feet. Do you find yourself in turmoil at the thought of removing your shoes? Don’t sweat it (bad joke, sorry). Although it’s a source of embarrassment for many, it’s completely normal.

So what exactly causes the stink?

Our feet need to stay moist and pliable so that we can properly walk. Our feet contain sweat glands that can produce ½ a cup of sweat a day to aid this function. Foot odor comes from the excessive production of sweat. When all that water cannot effectively evaporate, our shoes and socks become a breeding ground for bacteria. The bacteria produce Isovaleric acid – the stinky feet culprit!

If you’re one for research, you’ll find all types of remedies for foot odor. These folk remedies and miracle cures proliferate online, but there’s a treatment you can try yourself which is quite simple: keep your feet dry.

Dry feet are odorless feet. Begin by washing and drying your feet thoroughly. Rub a little talcum powder on them and sprinkle some in your shoes (Gold Bond makes a good one). Be sure to wear shoes made of natural fibers like leather or canvas and stock up on cotton socks; they absorb sweat the best and allow maximum moisture evaporation.

If you find your foot odor persists, don’t hesitate to see a specialist. It could be a symptom of a larger problem like a fungal infection or glandular disorder.

Most of all, when you can, take off your shoes. Wiggle your toes and let your feet breathe. Be nice to them. Get a pedicure. When it’s warm, reward them with a nice pair of sandals (with the proper arch support, of course). They work hard to carry you around; make sure you care for them.

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We value and respect our HERWriters' experiences, but everyone is different. Many of our writers are speaking from personal experience, and what's worked for them may not work for you. Their articles are not a substitute for medical advice, although we hope you can gain knowledge from their insight.