Bromodosis, also known as smelly foot syndrome is a type of body odor that affects the feet of humans. It is sometimes considered to be an unpleasant smell, but can also be the target of foot fetishism, more specifically as a form of olfactophilia. Bromodosis is caused by foot sweat and the accumulation of bacteria, which creates an odor. The odor can exhibit varying qualities depending on the state of the feet.
Bromodosis can also be a sign of other, less common issues. These include: Athlete’s foot, a fungal infection that can cause the skin to crack, flake, blister, and itch, athlete’s foot can contribute to the smell of your feet. Another health condition that can cause bromodosis is pitted keratolysis, a condition in which bacteria ‘eat’ the skin on the soles of the feet, pitted keratolysis causes a white, ‘pitted’ appearance and cheesy smell.
Bromodosis doesn’t just occur in hot weather. Your feet sweat every day, no matter what the temperature is. While anyone can get stinky feet, it’s estimated that 10% to 15% of all people have feet that are smellier than average. These people host a certain bacteria on their feet called Kyetococcus sedentarius that create sulfuric compounds. These compounds can cause sweat to smell like rotten eggs.
Beyond these possible causes of bromodosis, the biggest culprit is usually poor hygiene and over-wearing the same shoes, without giving them adequate time to air.
Is Bromodosis Contagious?
No, bromodosis is not contagious. However, if it is associated with a contagious fungal infection, it can easily spread from your feet to others. Athlete’s foot is contagious and can spread through contact with an infected person or from contact with contaminated surfaces, such as towels, floors, and shoes. You can also spread bromodosis causing bacteria from your foot to others, especially if you scratch or pick the infected parts of your foot.
How to Get Rid of Bromodosis Fast
According to WebMD, bromodosis are usually easy to treat at home. Here are a few things that you can do to get rid of bromodosis fast.
Soak your feet. If your foot odor from bromodosis is noticeable, you can try soaking your feet to give them a deep cleaning. To do so, mix half a cup of Epsom salt in warm water. If you don’t have Epsom salt, you can mix two parts of warm water with one part of white or apple cider vinegar.
Let your feet soak for up to 20 minutes once a week. Epsom salt helps to remove moisture from your skin, so bacteria that cause bromodosis are less likely to hang around. Vinegar also helps to remove bacteria from your feet. You shouldn’t soak your feet if you have any open wounds or sores.
Keep your feet dry. Bacteria live in moist areas, so keeping your feet dry will help prevent bromodosis. You can apply talcum powder to your feet to soak up any wetness or sweat. If your feet are very sweaty, you can even try using antiperspirant on the bottom of your feet.
Practice good hygiene. If you have bromodosis, you should wash your feet every day. You can wash them as you shower or you can scrub them in a tub with warm water. Dry your feet thoroughly, including between the toes. You should also keep your toenails clean and trimmed, and file off any dead skin on your feet. This can also help to reduce places where bacteria like to live on your feet.
Take care of your footwear. You should avoid wearing the same shoes two days in a row, if you do, you may likely develop bromodosis. Always let them air out. In addition, you can wash the insoles of your shoes to help them smell better. Another way to help reduce the risk of bromodosis is by using a disinfectant spray on your shoes and letting them air dry. This will kill off any bacteria living in your shoes.
While at home, allow your feet to get some fresh air by removing shoes and socks. Try to wear sandals when you can to reduce sweat. If you need to wear close-toed shoes, make sure that you wear shoes that fit properly. If your socks typically get sweaty during the day, carry an extra pair or two with you so that you can change them when your feet start to smell.