Paresthesias in the foot just represent nerve compression somewhere, not damage, so can be ignored?

See a doctor. Should never be ignored since it is abnormal.
Not necessarily. While nerve impingement can cause parasthesias in the foot, neuropathy caused by disease such as diabetes, inflammatory arthritis, changes in circulation, thyroid issues can cause them as well. While parasthesias can be annoying, seeing a doctor about the cause and treating them appropriately is the reason not to ignore them.