Pain along the outside of your foot, stretching towards your little toe, can make walking difficult and really get in the way of everyday life tasks. If you're experiencing pain of this sort, don't just ignore it. While some causes are rather minor, others won't correct themselves without treatment from a podiatrist. To help you get to the bottom of the issue, take a look at these possible causes of pain in the outside of the foot.
Are you beginning to notice a bump where your little toe meets up with your foot? You may be developing what is known as a talilor's bunion, which is an inflammation of the bone and ligaments in this area. This painful condition typically develops as a result of wearing shoes that put pressure on the outside of your foot. Switching to looser shoes with a larger toe box should help keep the condition from getting worse. In the meantime, try using cold compresses and Epsom salts soaks to address the pain. If the bunion does not improve, see your podiatrist, who may recommend wearing a splint or orthotic device.
Metatarsal Stress Fracture
If you participate in activities that put a lot of strain on your feet, like running or soccer, you may have a stress fracture in your last metatarsal bone (the bone that runs along the outside of your foot towards your little toe.) Stress fractures occur as a result of repetitive strain and stress on a bone, such as that which occurs when you're running. Usually, with a stress fracture, the pain will be localized to a specific area, which becomes very painful if you press on it.
You'll need to have your foot x-rayed to diagnose a stress fracture. If this is, indeed, what's causing your pain, treatment will involve taking a few weeks off from physical activity and perhaps switching to shoes that absorb more impact.
Dorsal Compression Syndrome
If the pain seems to radiate towards the top of your foot, you might be dealing with dorsal compression syndrome. This is a condition in which the metatarsal bones, which form the top of your foot, end up being pushed too close to one another due to flattening of the arch. It's common in athletes and people who spend all day on their feet -- especially when the shoes worn have a lack of arch support.
Switch to shoes with more arch support, and see if your symptoms improve within a week or two. If the pain does not subside, your podiatrist may recommend physical therapy or cortisone injections.