Nerve related disease is likely what’s causing your sudden stabbing pain in the first few toes.

The pain could be enough to make you stop what you’re doing and grab the toes.

“When there is shooting or stabbing pain in the first few toes, I often think of a nerve related pathology,” says Dr. Velimir Petkov, DPM, surgeon and sports medicine specialist of the foot with Premier Podiatry in Clifton, NJ.

“In the feet, the most common nerve related disease is that of a neuroma or a condition in which the peripheral nerves that are innervating the toes get impinged — and that causes them to swell and get inflamed,” continues Dr. Petkov.

What is a neuroma?

It’s a growth of nerve tissue that shouldn’t be there, but it’s benign. Morton’s neuroma is usually between the third and fourth toes, but can develop between the big and second toe.

“A lot of times that can cause sharp, shooting and stabbing pain between the toes,” says Dr. Petkov.

In addition to stabbing pain a neuroma can cause burning, tingling and numbness.

“Neuromas can be aggravated by wearing very tight and pointy shoes which cause the metatarsal bones to squeeze against each other and therefore cause further irritation to the swollen, inflamed nerve endings,” says Dr. Petkov.

The aggravation by tight pointy shoes certainly doesn’t mean that people who don’t wear such shoes are immune to this painful condition.

If you get unexplained stabbing pain involving the toes, do not delay in getting an examination by a physician who specializes in foot disorders: a podiatrist.

Dr. Petkov diagnoses and treats numerous ailments related to the lower extremities, and has special interests in sports medicine, wound care and the most advanced minimally invasive procedures for plantar fasciitis and Achilles tendonitis.