Morton's neuroma, a pinched nerve and diabetic peripheral neuropathy are all potential causes for shooting or stabbing pain in the feet, according to Catherine Moyer for About.com. Depending on the person, the pain also takes the form of burning or pressure.
Morton's neuroma refers to a thickening of the nerve running between the third and fourth toes, and it results in pain between those toes, most frequently when the patient is walking, explains Moyer. Sometimes this takes the form of pressure under the toes, much like it would feel if a sock were gathered beneath the toes. This is more frequent in women, perhaps because of their tendency to wear high-heeled or narrow shoes.
A pinched nerve appears at various parts of the foot, notes Moyer. Generally, trauma such as excess pressure from a poorly sized shoe, swelling or blunt force trauma causes the pinched nerve. Tarsal tunnel syndrome is another type of nerve trapping that grabs the posterior tibial nerve as it goes under the inner ankle area. In this case, the pain radiates from the arch and heel into the sole. Cramping and numbness often accompany shooting or stabbing pains with this condition.
Diabetics suffer the risk of neuropathy, a form of nerve damage that brings shooting, stabbing and/or burning pain to the feet, frequently during the night while the patient is sleeping, states Moyer. This condition comes and goes as diabetes progresses.