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20 years
What is the best way to stop my feet from smelling after playing sports?
Jul 14, 2014

Dr. Rania Mousa General Medicine
Human body odor (offensive or otherwise) is normal, everybody has it and everybody’s stink is different. Bacteria thrive in the warm, moist environment created by sweating feet enclosed in footwear during physical activities. Those critters feed on your sweat, and produce isovaleric acid, which we perceive as smelly foot odor. While you aren’t likely to stop your feet from sweating completely, there are some simple things that you can do at home to minimize or eliminate offensive odors.

Here are some tips:

-The best way to prevent smelly feet is to keep your feet dry , Towel off your feet—especially in between toes—after the shower, and dab them with anti-fungal powder that keeps you dry while warding off odor-causing fungus.

-Proper hygiene is necessary to reduce the levels of bacteria that constantly grow on your feet. Bathe them at least twice daily to prevent bacteria from accumulating on them and between your toes. Use lukewarm water and antibacterial soap. Dry your feet thoroughly, and pay particular attention to the areas between your toes. Moist areas invite bacterial growth that results in foot odor.

-If you know you’re going sockless, try dotting antiperspirant on the bottoms of your feet and between toes

-Apply an odor-fighting foot power liberally to your feet after you bathe and dry them. Coat all surfaces evenly, paying special attention to the soles. Don’t allow clumps of powder to form between your toes. This can produce more smelliness when you begin to perspire.

-Wear cotton socks, which will allow your feet to breathe. Synthetics trap and multiply smelly odors, so always choose natural fabrics for your feet. Keep several extra pairs with you so that you can change them frequently during periods of physical activity. If you feet are sweaty, dry them thoroughly before putting on fresh socks.

-Sprinkle a little baking soda into each of your shoes right before you put them on. Shake the soda around inside the shoes to treat all surfaces. This will go a long way toward fighting odors when you crank up your game.

-Choose canvas, leather or mesh footwear, which allow feet to breathe. Change your shoes midway through your activity if they become damp. Take removable inner soles out of your shoes as soon as you remove them. Dust the insides of the shoes with baking soda and allow them to dry out at least overnight before wearing them again. Alternate which pairs of shoes you wear daily to give them time to air out completely in between uses.

-Treat yourself to a relaxing and beneficial foot soak after showering each day. Bring a quart of water to a rolling boil. Turn off the heat add six tea bags to steep as the water cools to a comfortable temperature. Add one quart of warm water and soak your feet for 30 minutes. The tanic acid present in the brewed tea is an astringent that will change the pH level of your skin. This will help fight bacterial growth and prevent excessive sweating and offensive foot odor.

-Apple cider vinegar has natural antibacterial properties and can be helpful for fighting stinky feet. Add a half-cup of apple cider vinegar to two quarts of warm water. Relax for 30 minutes as you soak your feet in the solution. Rinse your feet well with warm water and pat them dry.

When to Talk to Your Doctor

If your feet still stink, consult your health care professional about underlying health issues that may be causing the condition. He may recommend prescription oral or topical medications to resolve the problem, or prescription strength soaps, antiperspirants or antibacterial products. Tell your doctor if the smell of the odor has changed, which can be an indication of a more serious medical condition.