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Sock It to Me

Posted Apr 24th, 2012 by Pat Brown
The best way to get rid of smelly foot odor is to sock it to me, or should I say “put a sockon it”. The primary cause of smelly feet is foot sweat, but that is not enough to cause that “toejam” smell. There is a method to this madness. The human body covered is in skin and hair. Ontop of this skin and hair, humans cover themselves with attire to avoid arrest and incarcerationfor indecent exposure. Foot coverings are shoes, boots, and sandals commonly referred to asfootgear. The feet are particularly vulnerable because there is no good time to be without somekind of footgear. Footgear protects our feet from many but not all injuries. Feet are susceptibleto stepping on nails, glass, rocks, and stepping in well…you-know-what. Occasionally, we evenstep on each other’s toes.

Foot attire has fashion and function, the choice of which one is more important is usuallyup to the owner of the pair. Foot fashion dictates that socks are worn with closed in shoes liketennis, but not open toe shoes like sandals. The foot fashion police have warrants for peoplewearing socks with flip-flops, another story I am sure. Foot function requires that the shoe isform fitting, comfortable, and supports and protect the feet. Foot odor is stronger in closed upshoes because the feet cannot breathe. The sweat becomes moisture that mixes with normal skinbacteria but with no air or sunlight, the prognosis is not good. Darkness, heat, and bacteria arenature’s formula to make anything grow. To minimize foot odor there are few things we shouldknow and a few things we should do.

Good foot care begins with daily bathing of the feet. Thorough drying of the feet isrequired including drying in between the toes. The foot examination is for shoe injuries likepressure points that cause redness and blisters and cracked toenails from shoes that are too smallor too tight. Closed in shoes require the appropriate kind of socks; do not wear closed in shoeswithout socks. Dress or causal shoes need an easy to slide in sock. These socks are a blend ofpolyester or rayon, nylon or spandex, the problem is they do not breathe. They score 100 withfoot fashion and 0 with foot care. The type of shoe chosen usually determines the type ofactivities and the amount of foot sweat.

. Open toe shoes allow more air exchange and exposure to sunlight evaporates thesweat on the exposed skin of the feet. . Feet in open toe shoes, have less chance of getting thenotorious toe jam odor but is not completely safe because the feet still sweat on the shoe sole.Perspiration trapped in the shoe sole can cause feet and shoes to carry a bad odor. The cottonsocks help absorb the moist and places a barrier between the feet and the sole of the shoe. Cottonsocks are essential for tennis wear because of the increased sweating of the foot. So if you aregoing to sock it to me, cotton breathes.


References
Abu-Qamar, M., & Wilson, A., (2011). Foot care within the Jordanian healthcare system: a
qualitative inquiry of patient's perspectives. Australian Journal of Advanced Nursing.
Ara, K., Hama, M., Akiba, S., Koike, K., Okisaka, K., Hagura, T.,…Tomita, F., (2006). Foot
odor due to microbial metabolism and its control. Canadian Journal of Microbiology,
Lyman, T.P., & Vlahovic, T.C., (2010). Foot care from A to Z. Dermatology Nursing, 22(5), 2-8.
Wright, K., (2009). A practical guide to foot care for older adults. Nursing & Residential Care.
About the author

Ms. Pat Brown MSN, APN, RN
Doctoral Candidate - RN for Luten Nursing Services and ADJ FCLTY at UOP

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