Sharp, Stabbing Foot Pain Symptoms, Causes & Common Questions

Understand your sharp, stabbing foot pain symptoms, including 9 causes and common questions.

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Contents

  1. 9 Possible Sharp, Stabbing Foot Pain Causes
  2. Questions Your Doctor May Ask
  3. Statistics
  4. Related Articles

9 Possible Sharp, Stabbing Foot Pain Causes

The list below shows results from the use of our quiz by Buoy users who experienced sharp, stabbing foot pain. This list does not constitute medical advice and may not accurately represent what you have.

Foot sprain

A foot sprain is damage to ligaments within the foot. The term "sprain" refers to overstretching or tearing of ligaments — the strong, fibrous bands of tissue that hold the bones together within the joints. Foot sprains are usually sports or dance injuries. Any sort of running movement that involves sud...

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Plantar fasciitis

Plantar fasciitis is a common cause of heel pain that occurs due to collagen degeneration and inflammation in the tendons of the foot. Plantar fasciitis can interfere with daily activities such as walking and exercise, and, symptoms can become chronic and result in pain in other body ...

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Posterior tibialis tendinopathy

The posterior tibialis tendon attaches the calf muscle to the bones on the underside of the foot. It provides stability and arch support. If this tendon is damaged, the result may be a flat, unstable foot.

Posterior tibialis tendinopathy is most often a sports injury, where the tendon becomes inflamed or torn through overuse or high impact.

Symptoms include pain down the ankle and into the foot, sometimes with swelling. The pain becomes worse with any activity, even standing or walking. When standing, the patient's arch will be collapsed and flat and the front of the foot will point outward. The patient will be unable to stand on the injured foot and raise the heel.

Diagnosis is made through patient history, physical examination, and imaging such as x-ray, CT scan, or MRI.

Treatment involves rest, over-the-counter pain relievers, orthotics (shoe pads,) braces, and sometimes steroid injections into the damaged tendon. Surgery can be tried, but tends to be complex and cannot always restore the tendon completely.

Rarity: Ultra rare

Top Symptoms: swollen foot, pain in one foot, limping, pain in one ankle, spontaneous ankle pain

Symptoms that never occur with posterior tibialis tendinopathy: recent cutting accident

Urgency: Primary care doctor

Foreign body in foot

A foreign body in foot occurs when something like a splinter, nail, or glass becomes lodged in the skin.

Rarity: Rare

Top Symptoms: foot pain, foot stepping on an object

Symptoms that always occur with foreign body in foot: foot pain, foot stepping on an object

Urgency: In-person visit

Sharp, Stabbing Foot Pain Symptom Checker

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Tarsal tunnel syndrome

Tarsal tunnel syndrome refers to the symptoms that result from compression of the posterior tibial nerve. The posterior tibial nerve provides sensation to the bottom of the foot and controls some of the muscles involved in foot structure and movement.

Symptoms of tarsa...

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Jones fracture (broken foot)

A Jones Fracture is a fracture of a bone on the outside of the foot (called the fifth metatarsal). A Jones fracture can be either a stress fracture (a tiny hairline break that develops with time), or a sudden break due to trauma. This can result in pain, swelling, and tenderness on the outside of the foot.

Rarity: Rare

Top Symptoms: difficulty walking, constant foot pain, pain in one foot, foot bruise, foot injury

Symptoms that always occur with jones fracture (broken foot): foot pain from an injury, pain when touching the foot, constant foot pain, pain in the front half of the foot, pain in the outside of the foot

Urgency: In-person visit

Chronic idiopathic peripheral neuropathy

Peripheral neuropathy refers to the feeling of numbness, tingling, and pins-and-needles sensation in the feet. Idiopathic means the cause is not known, and chronic means the condition is ongoing without getting better or worse.

The condition is most often found in people over age 60. Idiopathic neuropathy has no known cause.

Symptoms include uncomfortable numbness and tingling in the feet; difficulty standing or walking due to pain and lack of normal sensitivity; and weakness and cramping in the muscles of the feet and ankles.

Peripheral neuropathy can greatly interfere with quality of life, so a medical provider should be seen in order to treat the symptoms and reduce the discomfort.

Diagnosis is made through physical examination; blood tests to rule out other conditions; and neurologic and muscle studies such as electromyography.

Treatment involves over-the-counter pain relievers; prescription pain relievers to manage more severe pain; physical therapy and safety measures to compensate for loss of sensation in the feet; and therapeutic footwear to help with balance and walking.

Rarity: Rare

Top Symptoms: distal numbness, muscle aches, joint stiffness, numbness on both sides of body, loss of muscle mass

Urgency: Primary care doctor

Frostnip of the lower limbs

Frostnip is damage of the outermost layers of the skin caused by exposure to the cold (at or below 32F or 0C). It is most commonly found in people doing leisurely activities like camping, hunting, or snow sports.

Rarity: Rare

Top Symptoms: foot pain, swollen foot, foot numbness, foot redness, limping

Symptoms that always occur with frostnip of the lower limbs: cold toe

Urgency: In-person visit

Charcot arthropathy of the foot

Charcot Arthropathy of the foot is a syndrome where patients with numbness of their feet, which can be caused by a variety of underlying conditions such as diabetes, develop weakening of the bones in the foot and ankle. Thus they may have fractures and dislocations of the bones and joints that occur with little trauma.

Rarity: Rare

Top Symptoms: joint pain, constant foot swelling, pain in one foot, warm red foot swelling, swelling of both feet

Symptoms that always occur with charcot arthropathy of the foot: warm red foot swelling, constant foot swelling

Urgency: Primary care doctor

Questions Your Doctor May Ask About Sharp, Stabbing Foot Pain

To diagnose this condition, your doctor would likely ask the following questions:

  • Did you recently injure your foot?
  • Have you ever been told you have flat feet?
  • Do you run for exercise or sport?
  • What is your body mass?

If you've answered yes to one or more of these questions

Please take a quiz to find out what might be causing your sharp, stabbing foot pain. These questions are also covered.

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Sharp, Stabbing Foot Pain Symptom Checker Statistics

People who have experienced sharp, stabbing foot pain have also experienced:

  • 5% Foot Numbness
  • 4% Swollen Foot
  • 3% Tingling Foot

People who have experienced sharp, stabbing foot pain were most often matched with:

  • 50% Posterior Tibialis Tendinopathy
  • 33% Foot Sprain
  • 16% Plantar Fasciitis

People who have experienced sharp, stabbing foot pain had symptoms persist for:

  • 32% Over a month
  • 26% Less than a week
  • 22% Less than a day

Source: Aggregated and anonymized results from Buoy Assistant (a.k.a. the quiz).

Sharp, Stabbing Foot Pain Symptom Checker

Take a quiz to find out what might be causing your sharp, stabbing foot pain