While most of us diligently wash our hands, face, and body, we often neglect our feet. Yet, our feet are just as susceptible to dirt, sweat, and bacteria as any other body part. Not cleaning your feet can lead to problems, from unpleasant odors to fungal infections to ingrown nails.
Taking care of your feet can help prevent problems, but the first step is identifying the problem. Here are some signs that you’re not cleaning your feet properly and what you can do to keep them clean and healthy, courtesy of our team at Eazy Foot & Ankle in Los Angeles, California.
No one likes to talk about foot odor, but it’s a common problem and one of the most obvious signs that you’re not cleaning your feet properly. You might notice a foul odor coming from your shoes and your feet. Bacteria that thrive in warm, moist environments — such as inside your shoes or between your toes — cause this odor.
To prevent this, wash your feet with soap and warm water daily, especially after exercise or wearing closed shoes for an extended period. Before putting on socks and shoes, thoroughly dry your feet.
You might also consider rotating your shoes to give them plenty of time to dry before wearing them again.
Any discoloration on your feet, such as yellow or brown patches, may be a fungal infection. Fungal infections can develop on your feet if not properly cleaned or exposed to moist environments, such as public showers or swimming pools.
To prevent fungal infections, always wear clean and dry socks and shoes, avoid walking barefoot in public places, and dry your feet thoroughly after washing them. Don’t share linens, including sheets, towels, and floor mats, with anyone with a fungal infection.
Cracked and dry skin
If your feet feel rough and dry, it may be a sign that you’re not moisturizing them enough. Moisturizing your feet after washing them can help to keep them hydrated and prevent cracking and peeling. You can use a thick, fragrance-free foot cream for your heels, but never put lotion between your toes, which increases your risk of a fungal infection.
Note: preventing cracked heels is especially important if you have diabetes. Cracks can allow bacteria to enter your skin and increase your risk of a slow-healing wound.
Itching or burning
If you experience itching or burning sensations on your feet, it may be a sign of athlete’s foot. Athlete’s foot is a fungal infection that can develop when your feet are not properly cleaned or dried. It can cause redness, itching, and burning sensations on the skin between your toes.
Keep your feet clean and dry, especially between your toes, to prevent athlete’s foot. You can also use an antifungal foot spray or powder to prevent infection. Dr. Elhiani may prescribe a stronger antifungal to combat stubborn cases.
Ingrown toenails occur when the edges of the toenails grow into the surrounding skin, causing pain and inflammation. Improper nail trimming or poor foot hygiene can cause ingrown toenails.
To prevent ingrown toenails, trim your nails straight across and avoid cutting them too short. Use the right size toenail clippers; don’t share them with anyone else.
Questions about foot hygiene?
Talking about stinky feet and fungal infection isn’t for everyone, but our compassionate, non-judgemental team is here to help! Board-certified podiatrist Albert Elhiani, DPM, and our team offer concierge-style comprehensive podiatric care for adults and children.
We’re just a call or click away with our office in the Pico Robertson area of Los Angeles, California. You can reach us at 424-375-6348 to schedule your next appointment or use our online portal to get started.