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Dr Bijal Shrivastava answers all your childcare queries
My child is four years old and is extremely active. He loves to play around and is always on his toes, and so am I. I love the fact that he is constantly on the move, but I am facing one major issue—stinky feet. He does sweat a lot but overall it is his feet that make it unbearable, and I have to make him constantly wash them. Now that he is in preschool, I do not want the other kids to make fun of him. Please suggest ways to combat this issue.
ANUSHREE ROY, KOLKATA
Hi Anushree, It looks like your young one is a fun-loving and happy young man, and that’s always a pleasure to be around. Now, to tackle your concern of stinky feet.
Plantar hyperhidrosis means sweaty feet, and is a problematic situation to deal with. Sweating is a mechanism by which our body cools itself, especially in warm environments and even during exercise. For no known medical reasons, some people tend to sweat a lot. They usually have extremely sweaty palms and sweaty feet, as a result of genetics. Sweaty feet is not medically harmful, per se, but can cause functional or social problems, as you rightly fear might happen to your son.
The reason behind stinky feet is because bacteria gets trapped in the glands and proliferate due to excessive sweating, resulting in a foul odour. This is why it is of utmost importance to control bacterial growth and keeping the feet dry. This will prevent the bacteria from increasing, and causing the stench. Hence, good foot hygiene is essential. You can try the following things at home to help prevent your son’s feet from smelling: Try washing his feet with an anti bacterial soap twice a day. Dry the feet thoroughly after washing. Applying corn starch or anti-fungal powder before wearing socks. However, be careful as it can make his feet slippery, so avoid doing this when he’s barefoot. Avoid plain cotton socks and nylon socks. Choose socks made from a synthetic material or a wool-cotton blend. Use airy footwear which allows the feet to breathe. Avoid plastic shoes or cloth shoes, especially during the monsoons.
Follow this daily routine to prevent the sweaty feet issues. And all the best for the start of his schooling.
Dr Bijal Shrivastava MBBS and MD (Pediatrics), is a neotologist at Dr LH Hiranandani Hospital. She works full-time as a pediatric consultant and has been a pediatric practitioner for the last 12 years.