Smelly, Sweaty Feet
Summary of Chapter 23
You have brains in your head. You have feet in your shoes. You can steer yourself in any direction you choose.– Dr. Seuss
Smelly, Sweaty Feet
Sweat is that salty, clear liquid with your own personal odor. It is the body’s remarkable way of maintaining an even temperature. If it weren’t for the act of sweating, you skin would always be colliding with the hot and cold of the outside world. Like Goldilocks trying to eat the three bears’ porridge, you would always be saying, “Too hot” or “Too cold!” Your ability to sweat helps make your body just right. But where, when, and how much you sweat is controlled by your nervous system. And sometimes there is an upheaval in this chain of command. Signals get crossed.
Perspiration is composed of water, sodium chloride, potassium chloride, minerals, and lactic acid (which mosquitoes home in on), urea, and trace amounts of organic material (that can also have odors from food you ate). If you were barefoot, the sweat would evaporate and your feet wouldn’t smell, but they stay wet when you sweat while wearing shoes and socks. When bacteria, which thrive in the damp, dark environments, act upon these sweaty secretions, the result is foot odor.
Emotional problems can increase the amount of that you perspire. (Just think of how much more you can sweat when you’re stressed.) Your body temperature can also trigger an outpouring of sweat. This is the reason why you sweat more in order to cool off when you are exercising. Closed shoes aggravate sweaty feet and set up a perfect environment for bacteria to grow, leading to more odors and more sweat.
In this chapter of My Feet Are Killing Me Dr. Levine makes sure no one ever sees you sweat:
- Are smelly feet actually a medical condition?
- Who gets smelly, sweaty feet?
- Can food make your feet smell funny?
- How can you control sweating and its odor?
- What is hyperhidrosis?
- How do you treat hyperhidrosis?
- Herbs for your feet
- Real Patient Recap: Dr. Levine transforms a long suffering patient’s life with a simple yet effective treatment.