Morton’s Toe Overview
If your second toe is longer than your big toe (also called the hallux), then you have Morton’s toe. This condition may not seem serious, but if not managed, it can put extreme pressure on the head of the second metatarsal – that area at the ball of the foot, at back of the second toe.
This undue pressure can cause extreme pain comparable to metatarsalgia pain. The disproportionate pressure can likewise cause calluses to form under the second metatarsal head. Fortunately, Morton’s toe surgery is hardly ever necessary. Morton’s toe can usually be treated with orthotics and the right shoes.
Signs and Symptoms
It is easy to spot Morton’s toe. In most cases, the second toe sticks out further than the big toe. In cases when the abnormal length of the second toe is not obvious, simply curl the toes inward – the metatarsal bones will usually push against the skin, so that a row of bumps emerge just behind the toes. The second metatarsal should extend past the first.
Patients with Morton’s toe also usually develop thick calluses behind the second toe and on both the inside and outside parts of the foot where the toes are linked. Some patients with Morton’s toe have flat feet as well. In some cases, the patient’s ankle rolls toward the inside part of the foot (a condition called pronation).
Morton’s Toe Causes and Risk Factors
Morton’s toe is hereditary. If one of your parents has a second toe that is longer than big toe, you may have inherited your Morton’s toe from him or her.
Tests and Diagnosis
A physical examination is usually all that a doctor needs to diagnose Morton’s toe.
Morton’s toe surgery is hardly ever necessary. In fact, the right footwear may be all that is needed to manage the condition. If you have Morton’s toe, stick to shoes that have wide toe boxes or toe areas. Such shoes are able to accommodate the abnormality comfortably. If you are having a hard time finding shoes with wider toe boxes, try a simple trick: buy only shoes that are bigger by at least half size. Longer shoes can accommodate your longer second toe.
If the pain does not subside even after you have switched to more comfortable footwear, it may be time to consult a doctor and have special orthotics designed for your feet’s dimensions. Orthotics may be incorporated with arch support features that can help keep your feet aligned. It can also come with metatarsal pads that help decrease stress on your foot’s ball. The right shoes and the right orthotics make the wining formula. They should provide immediate relief.
Remember to only trust a licensed podiatric physician. Only these health professionals can accurately diagnose and recommend a solution for your Morton’s toe. Remember that the foot is just a part of an intricately related body system – improper diagnosis and treatment can not only affect your foot and lower leg, but also affect your circulatory, neurological, and musculoskeletal make up.