Are your toes smelling more pungent than usual? There are various reasons why your feet could smell — but did you know that one of them is an athlete's foot infection?
Along with flaky, itchy, and red skin, people with the fungal foot infection sometimes experience smellier feet than normal. Read on to find out if the smell could be caused by athlete’s foot, how you can get rid of it, and how to prevent future athlete’s foot infections.
What Does Athlete’s Foot Smell Like?
While not everyone who has an athlete’s foot infection experiences smelly feet, the foot fungus can have a pungent smell.
As the athlete’s foot infection continues to propagate on your feet, it can cause a very bad smell. Although sometimes our feet smell just because they’re sweaty, if you have an athlete’s foot infection, you may notice a musty, acrid smell that’s unlike regular sweaty feet.
For more on how to get rid of sweaty feet, take a look at our post, How to Get Rid of Sweaty Feet.
Getting Rid of Athlete’s Foot Smell
If you already have athlete’s foot or are showing signs of athlete's foot symptoms, you should start treatment immediately. It’s best to use a specially formulated antifungal cream like SilkaⓇ Antifungal Cream.
Containing terbinafine as the active ingredient, the cream starts working right away and when applied consistently according to the instructions, your athlete’s foot symptoms should disappear in as little as 7 days.
While you’re treating the foot fungus, it’s important to wash your feet, shoes, and socks more often to prevent the bad smell and fungus from lingering. Your feet will usually stop smelling bad when your athlete’s foot infection clears up.
If you’ve used the cream and your athlete’s foot infection hasn’t improved or has got worse, you should seek advice from your healthcare professional.
That said, if you have any pre-existing health conditions or a suppressed immune system, you should see your doctor for a personalized treatment plan.
Prevent Athlete’s Foot from Coming Back
While a consistent athlete's foot treatment plan is essential for eradicating the fungal foot infection, prevention is always better than cure.
Here are some essential foot care tips that will prevent athlete’s foot from coming back.
• Wash your feet with warm water and mild soap at least twice a day. Usually, people find it easiest to wash their feet in the morning and early evening. That said, if you exercise vigorously, you should wash your feet immediately after the session. Pay attention to all areas of your feet, making sure to thoroughly wash the spaces between your toes as this area can harbor bacteria and fungi.
• Change your socks twice a day. Wearing socks that are damp from sweat provides the perfect breeding ground for the fungus to develop. Always change your socks after a long day on your feet or following strenuous exercise.
• Wear socks and shoes made from natural fibers. Try to wear socks made from natural cotton materials as these are more breathable and allow airflow around your feet. The same goes for shoes. Wearing shoes made from natural materials like leather will help ensure your feet can breathe and prevent hot and humid conditions from developing.
• Apply foot powder. Foot powder is an excellent addition to your daily foot care routine. The particles help absorb excess moisture and provide a fresh feeling. Applying foot powder in the morning and evening is a great way to ensure your feet don’t get too hot and sweaty.
• Remove dead skin off your feet with a pumice stone. Dead skin gets soft when it’s wet, creating the optimum conditions for bacteria and fungi to thrive.
• Cut your toenails short in a straight line. Clean and file them regularly so that they don’t harbor bacteria or fungi underneath the nail.
• Wear open-toe sandals in the summer or go barefoot. By not wearing tight shoes, you’ll help your feet remain dry and prevent the optimum conditions for the fungi to spread.
• Alternate your footwear each day. By changing your footwear each day, you’re giving your shoes the chance to dry out from sweat and excess moisture before you wear them again. You could also remove the insoles from your shoes to help them dry properly. Damp shoes encourage bacteria and fungi to grow on your feet.
• Wash your shoes regularly. Washing your shoes in the washing machine will kill any fungal spores and ensure your shoes are clean for your next use. Check out our guide to washing your shoes properly.
Taking the time to care for your feet will help keep away bacterial or fungal infections, like athlete’s foot, and ensure your feet are at their healthiest.