Sweaty, stinky feet can be unnerving, particularly during long shifts. Generally, foot odor is caused by bacterial growth in sweaty shoes or on sweaty feet. If you have this problem, you most likely know how embarrassing it is to remove your nursing shoes. Sometimes, the odor is so strong it oozes through your shoes. Happily, sweaty feet, medically referred to as bromodosis, is simple, fast, and inexpensive to treat. Read on to learn how you can finally get rid of that stench this winter season.
Causes And Cures For Sweaty, Stinky Feet in Winter
Causes of Sweaty, Smelly Feet
- Your Footwear: During winter, you tend to wear non-breathable shoes such as waterproof boots and rubber shoes. This can encourage bacterial growth in the shoes causing them to reek.
- Temperature Fluctuations: For example, after walking outside in the snow and you get back inside, there is a sudden temperature change. In such an instance, your feet will do more work to regulate the temperature causing them to sweat more than normal.
- Dry Skin: During winter, humidity is lower and the air is drier. The outcome: layers of skin cells lose moisture and die faster. Bacteria feed on dead skin cells thereby triggering stinky feet.
- Wearing Chunky Socks: During winter, you wear chunky socks to keep your feet warm and cozy. The disadvantage of this practice is that it locks in the sweat thereby causing smelly feet.
Ways to Cure Smelly Feet
Opt for Breathable Nursing shoes
If you are looking for a good resource to deal with sweaty feet, breathable nursing shoes are an excellent option. They ensure air circulates properly within the shoes even when you are working a 12 hours shift. They help keep your feet fresh and dry thereby decreasing the chances of your feet sweating. And, if sweating is not completely blocked, the shoe’s breathable fabric will help wick away moisture so your feet remain dry and odor-free.
Wear Socks that Wick Away Moisture
Moisture-wicking socks provide several benefits over conventional socks. Aside from helping to prevent fungal and bacterial growth, they also decrease the danger of sores and blisters. Luckily for nurses and other healthcare workers on feet all day, some compression socks now have moisture-wicking properties.
When shopping for compression socks, opt for brands made of polypro or wool, as they are the top options for moisture-wicking. When working a long shift, it is a good idea to change your socks when they become sweaty to help decrease odor.
Alternate your Work Shoes
If money is not a problem, you should have two or more different pairs of nursing shoes. While alternating your work shoes will not prevent your feet from getting sweaty, it will help decrease odor caused by sweaty feet. When you alternate your work shoes, you give them sufficient time to completely dry out. Odor-causing bacteria like to hide and flourish in moist areas. Allowing your footwear to dry out completely will reduce moisture as well as the odor.
Use Shoe Deodorizer Inserts
You simply place these inserts into your pair of work shoes to help soak up moisture, absorb odor, decrease bacteria, as well as help prevent mildew and mold. You will find several brands in the market, from synthetic, natural, to cedar and charcoal filled ones.
Wash Your Feet Daily
Ensure your feet are clean at all times. Wash them on a daily basis using warm, soapy water. Use a soft brush and scrub mildly ensuring you clean between your toes. After washing, dry your feet properly.
Apply cornstarch or foot powder to your feet after washing. This will help dry out your sweaty feet and keep them dry longer. If you are looking for something stronger to fight smells, you can use an antifungal powder. Additionally, you can sprinkle some of the powder on the inside of your footwear to soak up more sweat.
Avoid Drinks and Foods that Trigger Sweating
What you drink and the foods you eat might be causing you to sweat more than normal. You may be aware that spicy foods trigger sweating, however, you may not know that alcohol can also cause you to sweat more than normal. Hot beverages such as tea and coffee can also trigger sweating. Thus, if you want to consume these beverages, drink them lukewarm or cold.
Wear Scrubs that Wick Off Sweat
Aside from wearing breathable shoes and moisture-wicking socks, you should also consider wearing moisture-wicking scrubs. These modern polyester scrubs ensure you are dry all day long by wicking off sweat from your body. Conventional cotton clothes clutche to your sweat, thereby making your scrubs uncomfortable and heavy. When your body is hot and sweaty, your feet will also sweat more, so it is a good idea to wear sweat-wicking clothing next to your skin.
Use an Antiperspirant
Using deodorant or antiperspirant is also a good way to control foot odor. You can use your regular underarm deodorant or buy a foot deodorant. However, bear in mind that deodorants do not prevent sweating but only masks the odor produced by sweat consuming bacteria. Antiperspirants prevent sweating and eliminate odor as well. Start with over-the-counter (OTC) antiperspirants. If they are unable to control the odor, ask your podiatrist to recommend a stronger one.
Use Sodium Bicarbonate
Also referred to as baking soda, sodium bicarbonate makes the surface of the foot more acidic. This in turn helps to decrease the level of odor produced by the sweat-consuming bacteria.
Get some baking soda (1 tablespoon), water (1 quart) and mix them in a container. Soak your feet in the solution for fifteen minutes. Do this two times each week.
Sweaty, smelly feet is a condition that several nurses have to deal with on a daily basis. However, you do not have to worry about smelly feet this winter. Alternate your nursing shoes and follow other tips presented in this article. If you do, you will be back to smelling fresh in a short while.