Metatarsalgia and Morton's neuroma are two causes of sharp shooting pain in the toe, according to MedlinePlus and the American College of Foot and Ankle Orthopedics and Medicine. Metatarsalgia is a group of symptoms caused by a change in the dynamics of the foot.
Metatarsalgia develops when too much pressure is exerted on the ball of the foot, notes the American College of Foot and Ankle Orthopedics and Medicine. Factors that contribute to this pressure include being overweight, wearing uncomfortable shoes, having arthritis and having hammer toes. In some cases, doctors do not know what causes metatarsalgia. Patients with metatarsalgia typically have sharp and shooting toe pain when performing weight-bearing activities, such as running, walking and standing. The pain may develop into a chronic condition, and patients often feel like they are walking over pebbles.
Morton's neuroma is a nerve injury that occurs between the toes, leading to thickening and pain, explains MedlinePlus. Doctors do not know what causes the condition but believe that certain factors can contribute to its development, including having flat feet, wearing high heels and having forefoot problems. Patients with Morton's neuroma often experience pain between their third and fourth toes as well as toe cramps and sharp and shooting pain in the ball of the foot and toes.