HEALTH & WELLNESS

Foot pain just won't go away

I walk a lot in a variety of shoes (long walks with dog in tennis shoes, and dressy shoes, some with heels, for work), and I keep getting a severe pain in the sole of my feet just below the third and fourth toes.

Tennis shoes and bare feet usually don't bother me as much, but sometimes that pain crops up.

It started when I was first pregnant, went away for a while, and now it's back with intensity no matter how much I stretch my foot, use pads or massage it.

I've heard that guys get this pain too. Is it common, and what can I do about it?

ANN

Pasadena It could be a neuroma, a compression of a nerve branch (often in the region of the third and fourth toes), says Dr. Bob Baravarian, director of the Foot & Ankle Institute of Santa Monica. It's a relatively common condition.

A neuroma can lead to pain when walking and is usually worse on hard floors and with tight shoes.

Orthotics or insoles to control abnormal motion can help relieve the pain.

Physical therapy, cortisone injection, nerve surgery or a freezing treatment are also sometimes recommended.

— Janet Cromley

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