Why Do My Teen’s Feet Stink?

As children pass through adolescence, smelly feet may seem to just as normal as messy rooms and pimples but at Texas Foot Specialists we want parents to know that severe foot odor is not normal. It may be a sign of a medical problem. It is also costly—when foot odor becomes embedded in shoes and sneakers no amount of washing or spraying will get rid of it. The only option is to throw the shoes away. If your teen’s smelly feet are becoming an ongoing problem make an appointment at our Pasadena, Houston or Sugar Land office.

Where’s the Smell Coming From?

The first step is to have one of our podiatrists, Dr. Bruce Miller or Dr. Gregory Mangum, examine your child’s feet. There are several physical reasons why foul foot odor occurs:

  • A hereditary condition known as Hyperhidrosis can cause feet to sweat profusely. While it’s not actually the sweat that smells bad—the perspiration mixing with bacteria in your socks and shoes is the odor producer—it can cause a foot odor problem.
  • Hormones
  • Stress
  • A side effect of certain medications
  • Bacterial or fungal infection
  • Fluid intake

Depending on the source of the foot odor, the podiatrist may recommend a prescription medication or a home remedy such as soaking feet in a black tea or vinegar solution for 30 minutes a day for a week to help kill odor-producing bacteria and close up the pores in the feet.

Preventive Measures

There are also some simple steps you can take to deal with a foot odor problem. These include:

  • Making sure your teen is wearing socks with their sneakers or any closed shoes
  • Encouraging daily washing of the feet with soap and water
  • Buying cotton socks or those made of materials that pull moisture away from the skin
  • Avoiding plastic shoes, tight nylon hose and other materials that don’t allow feet to breathe
  • Reminding your teen to wear flip flops or shower shoes in the locker room and not to share socks, shoes, wash cloths or towels or any items that touch someone else’s feet

There are some things that you can’t avoid as a teenager but smelly feet doesn’t have to be one of them! If you have additional questions about the care of your child’s feet, contact us for answers.