Many different conditions can cause shooting pain in the bottom of the feet. Plantar fasciitis pain in the heels and arches, for example, is often described in this way—especially with the first few steps of the morning. If the pain is closer to the forefoot and toes, conditions such as arthritis, gout, or capsulitis (to name just a few) might be considered as well.
That said, when we hear the term “shooting”—or other sensory terms like “shocking,” “tingling,” or “burning”—this is sometimes an indication that there may be a nerve issue or injury at play. Among other things, nerves are responsible for relaying sensory stimuli (including pain) back to the brain. If they get pinched, constricted, injured, or otherwise damaged, shooting pain is a common symptom. Notable conditions include:
Tarsal Tunnel Syndrome. This is something of a “partner” condition to carpal tunnel syndrome, only it takes place in the ankle rather than the wrist. The posterior tibial nerve may get compressed where it runs through a tight, narrow space in the ankle (the tarsal tunnel). Painful symptoms tend to be located along the bottom of the foot and the inside of the ankle.
Peripheral neuropathy. In this condition, nerves become damaged over time (sometimes years), often as a result of poor circulation, and chronic pain and sensations slowly emerge. It is extremely common in people with diabetes, but can arise from other factors (including other diseases, poor nutrition, smoking, alcohol abuse, etc.). In a minority of cases, there’s no obvious explanation.
Morton’s neuroma. Pain from this condition is located in the ball of the foot near the toes, usually between the second and third or between the third and the fourth. A small mass of thickened tissue appears next to the nerve that runs through this area; although you probably won’t see or feel a bump from the outside, you’ll feel it when you bear weight and it presses into the nerve.
Whatever the cause, shooting pain anywhere in your feet is not normal and should be evaluated immediately by the professionals at Gulf South Foot & Ankle. Whether it’s nerve pain or something else, we’ll help you isolate the primary cause and develop an effective treatment plan. Call (504) 708-4810 to reach our Metairie office, of (985) 809-1464 for Covington.