Is your second toe longer than your big toe? If so, you are one of millions of American’s with Morton’s Toe. Even the Statue of Liberty has Morton’s Toe! Once considered the ancient Greek ideal of beauty, Morton’s toe can lead all kinds of pain in your feet, knees, legs, back, neck, create gait and posture problems and even cause arthritis.
Maybe you have Morton’s Toe but were given a different name for the condition. Named after Dr. Dudley Morton back in the 1930s, Morton’s Toe is also called Morton’s Foot or Morton’s Foot Syndrome, Greek Foot, Morton’s neuroma, Morton’s metatarsalgia , Morton’s neuralgia, plantar neuroma and intermetatarsal neuroma. All of the names are a bit misleading; Morton’s Toe is defined as the relative length of the foot bones or metatarsals, specifically the relative length difference between the first and second metatarsals that define this syndrome. Even if your first and second metatarsals appear to be about the same length, if the space between your first and second toe appears to be deeper, not wider, but deeper than the space between your second and third toes you may also have Morton’s Toe.
Morton’s Toe causes hypermobility of the first metatarsal. The end result is that your first metatarsal bone has too much motion and is not as stable as it should be. World famous Russian ballerina Anna Pavlova had Morton’s Toe and had to work harder, in great discomfort, to overcome the instability of her foot.
Some of the other foot problems that can be caused by a Morton’s Toe include:
- Hammer Toes
- Fallen arches or flat feet
- Shooting pain in toes or foot
- Heel pain
- Ankle pain
- Tired feet
- Burning feet
- Stress fractures
- Plantar fasciitis
- Metatarsalgia or burning sensation on the ball of your feet
- Neuromas or non-cancerous nerve tumor
It has been estimated that somewhere between 20-30% of the population has Morton’s Toe. Like blue eyes or brown hair, Morton’s Toe is hereditary. It’s not caused by wearing improperly fitted footwear, though too tight or high schools or worn out athletic footwear can certainly exacerbate the issue. Shoes with wider toe boxes or less pointy or rounded toes are better choices. Sometimes, it is necessary to go up a half size or so to accommodate Morton’s Toe, though be sure the rest of the shoe fits properly, including arch support and key foot bed flex points.
If your pain and discomfort does not subside after you have switched to more comfortable footwear, it is time to consult a doctor. A licensed podiatrist, like Dr. Weinert, will design special orthotics to fit your feet’s dimensions. Orthotics may incorporate arch support features that can help keep your feet aligned and may also have metatarsal pads that help decrease stress on the ball of your foot.
If left untreated, Morton’s Toe can get worse with age. Sport’s injuries that a younger, stronger, more active body could more easily shrug off can be tough on older joints and ligaments. For example, osteoarthritis of the knee can be traced directly to torque caused by Morton’s Toe and internal rotation of the tibia, as can Meniscus tears that lead to arthroscopic knee surgeries. Regardless of your age, correcting Morton’s Toe leads to healthier athletic performance.
Your feet are the platform your body is built on. Morton’s Toe not only affects your feet, it can also cause lower extremity pain such as:
- Ankle Pain
- Shin splints
- Knee pain
- Tight IT Bands
- Chondromalacia or Runner’s Knee
- Fractured Meniscus
- ACL Tears
Your posture and overall quality of life can be impacted by untreated Morton’s Toe too. Better body alignment reduces the incidence of back and neck issues like:
- Neck pain
- Lower back pain
- Upper back pain
- SI Joint Pain
- Sciatica and Piriformis Syndrome
When treating your Morton’s Toe or other foot issues, reach out to 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 musculoskeletal, neurological, and circulatory health.
Dr. Anthony Weinert specializes in the treatment of Morton’s Toe and other chronic foot aliments. The author of “Stop Feet Pain Fast”, a book on foot and ankle wellness, Dr. Weinert believes in the motto “Happy Feet, Happy Life!” Call 888-718-4402 to request your free copy of Dr. Weinert’s book.
With locations in Oakland County and Macomb County, Dr. Weinert serves Troy, Warren, Sterling Heights, Birmingham, Royal Oak, and Clawson. Call 586-751-3338 (586-751-FEET) to schedule an appointment at Dr. Weinert’s Warren location or call 248-362-3338 (248-362-FEET) for the Troy office.
For further information about the effects of obesity on feet, contact Dr. Weinert’s Warren office at 586-751-3338 (FEET), or his new Troy office at 248-362-3338 (FEET). You can also visit www.FootPhysicians.com, or Dr. Weinert’s office website for more information at: www.stopfeetpainfast.com