Not Your Typical Stink: 3 Causes of Abnormally Awful Foot Odor

Everyone walking around in socks and boots in the hot summer sun all day will have some degree of foot odor. Yet, there are some feet that are so pungent, there must be some underlying medical condition responsible for the extreme scent. Often times, changing the type of socks or shoes you wear and improving your hygiene habits can go a long way in clearing up a foot odor problem. But there are, in fact, a few medical conditions that make some feet smellier than others.

extreme foot odor

Do you or someone you know have an alarming amount of foot odor? It could be a sign of trouble.
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Bacterial Overgrowth

Ten to fifteen percent of the population has extremely smelly feet due to an overgrowth of a particular type of bacteria, according to KidsHealth. The wicked Micrococcus sedentarius bacteria produces the usual, run-of-the-mill organic acids that other bacteria produce, but also churns out volatile sulfur compounds that smell like rotten eggs! Yuck!

Overgrowth may occur for several reasons:

– Your feet are cooped up in shoes all the time, which creates a dark, humid, warm environment for growth.

– You have come into contact with complementary types of bacteria that promote mutual colonization.

– Your skin degradation (open wounds, dead skin) provides a banquet of “food” for bacteria to feast upon.

Cleansing your feet daily with antibacterial soap and using pumice stones or brushes to remove dead skin are important first steps to alleviating skin surface bacteria. Furthermore, a drying agent like aluminum chloride can inhibit bacterial overgrowth, according to researchers. You can also use ultraviolet sterilization to remove odor-causing bacterial buildup from your shoes.

Fungal Infections

Bacteria isn’t the only pathogen in town. Fungal infections can also contribute to foul foot odor. Foot fungus causes the skin to break down, which provides more food for the smelly bacteria to scarf down. The more the bacteria eats, the more waste it excretes, and the more it colonizes. The end result is a whole lot of stink! Athlete’s foot fungus — red, itchy patches between the toes and alongside the sole — can be treated with over-the-counter medication. Toenail fungus will require a prescription from your doctor or laser toenail treatment.


The sweat gland connects the nervous system with the outside world.
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Bacteria is generally what causes the stink, but sweat contributes to the potency of the odor, as well. There are 250,000 sweat glands on each foot, so you can imagine how much saturation that produces. About 1.3 million Americans are said to suffer from this condition, which causes people to experience an exaggerated sweat response in their armpits, hands, and feet. In the past, people with hyperhidrosis relied upon a risky surgery that severed a nerve responsible for overabundant sweating. Nowadays, people are able to receive Botox injections that block nerve signals for sweating.

The Bottom Line on Extreme Foot Odor:

The SteriShoe UV shoe sanitizer is just one of many tools to use in your battle against excessively smelly feet. Our product will rid your feet of 99.9% of the living bacteria within one 45-minute treatment. A shoe sanitizer also helps to dry out your insoles. In rare cases of old shoes that have seen it all, you may find there is no saving them and must toss them in the trash. Most of the time, you’ll find that a little sanitization works wonders. Try a SteriShoe UV sanitizer risk-free today!

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