• Sock Out Bacteria with Clean Socks

    on Nov 25th, 2019

There’s no greater friend to feet on a cold fall or winter day than warm socks. The outside air may chill you to the bone, but at least your toes will be toasty when wrapped in your favorite pair of socks. Sometimes the fit is so snug that we don’t even want to take them off. Although 55% of people admit to wearing dirty socks, leaving them on for too long can lead to problems. From funky smells to itchy spells, here is what you need to know about wearing unwashed socks.

Stinky Feet

The human foot has 125,000 sweat glands, and over the course of a day, a pair of feet can perspire as much as a half pint. That’s a lot of sweat, and as it builds up it provides a humid environment in socks that allows bacteria to blossom. The foul-smelling bacteria leads to bromodosis, or smelly feet. The problem only worsens as socks moisten, since wet and dirty socks prevent feet from breathing or drying. 

Bromodosis is a common condition, but it especially affects individuals who suffer from hyperhidrosis, or excessive sweating. The best way to prevent bacteria and the stench it produces is to regularly wash feet and change socks. It is advised to replace socks at least twice daily, and to gently clean feet with mild, soapy water at each sock change. Any time you feel your feet getting sweaty, quickly put on a pair of dry socks.

Itchy Feet

Smelly feet might be the most common problem from wearing unwashed socks, but it’s not the only one. Fungal growth also results from the dark, damp conditions inside dirty socks. This can lead to conditions like athlete’s foot and toenail fungus, which can cause pain, redness, itchy or flaking skin, and even skin infections, especially if wounds are already present on the foot.

Anti-fungal powders and creams are effective methods to prevent fungal growth, but regularly changing socks also limits a fungi’s foothold. Just make sure you’re changing into clean socks. A spin through the washing machine with warm water and detergent is usually enough to kill most fungal growth.

The Right Sock

You can further protect your feet by using proper footwear. In warm weather, cotton is a relatively light fabric that offers good ventilation, especially compared to synthetic materials like nylon and polyester. It may not be the best option for those with hyperhidrosis, however, as cotton takes a long time to dry. Bamboo fiber socks are renowned for being soft, flexible, and adept at absorbing moisture, while also holding antimicrobial properties that inhibit bacterial growth. But when it comes to winter, there’s no better choice than wool. Whether those little piggies are going to market or staying home, wool socks will keep them warm and dry. Extremely absorbent, wool holds over 30% of its weight in water without feeling damp. Its soft texture is incredibly comfortable, yet as a thicker fiber, it’s more durable than other materials.

If hyperhidrosis is putting a damper on your winter, Progressive Podiatry is here to help. We’ll walk you through the various treatments to alleviate the condition, and we can also address any problems with athlete’s foot or toenail fungus. Call to schedule an appointment at our convenient locations in Mount Airy and Ijamsville.

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