One relatively common cause of foot pain is neuromas. A neuroma is an overgrowth of nerve tissue, usually in the space between the third and fourth toes. As the nerve tissue grows, it places pressure on the nerve. This leads to foot pain when walking and sometimes other symptoms like numbness and tingling. In some cases, you might notice swelling in the area where the neuroma is located.
Needless to say, a neuroma can make walking or even standing unpleasant.
The exact cause of neuromas is unknown but excessive trauma to the foot and wearing tight shoes that press the toes together is a factor. Neuromas are more common in women, partially because women are more likely to wear high heels that push the toes forward and place pressure on the toes and feet. If your feet are abnormally shaped, either too flat or with excessively high arches, you're at higher risk for neuromas.
How do you know if you have a neuroma? A podiatrist is trained to make the diagnosis and give you treatment guidance. Some neuromas can be treated conservatively with a change in shoe wear to shoes with wide toe boxes, and in some cases, orthotics. For pain, your podiatrist may recommend over-the-counter anti-inflammatory medications or a cortisone injection into the area to reduce inflammation.
If you have a neuroma and it doesn't respond to conservative treatment, outpatient surgery to remove the inflamed nerve and surrounding tissue may be an option. Whatever you do, don't ignore foot pain. If you have a neuroma, it generally won't go away on its own. Talk to a podiatrist about your options.