If your second toe is longer than your big toe (The big toe is also called the Great Toe) or your first metatarsal joint is shorter than your second metatarsal joint you have Morton’s toe (View Images). This is hereditary, 10-20% of the population have it. Many people have it with no complications. In the Greek Classic Period almost all statues were modeled after people with the “Greek Toe”. Not only was it considered attractive, a person lucky enough to poses this trait was considered to be intelligent and with qualities of creativity and leadership. One Lady that we all recognize (The Statute of Liberty) has a Greek or Morton Toe.
Why Does a Morton Toe Cause problems:
The Great Toe is supposed to carry @ 65% of the pressure with each adjacent toe bearing less and less. The Little Toe is said to carry 5% leaving 30% of the pressure to be carried by the middle three toes. Other factors contribute. If you pronate (walk on the inside of your foot) the big toe will carry a greater percentage of the pressure. Pain from Morton’s Toe can develop because the longer second toe bears an excessive amount of pressure. The 1st Metatarsal bone is much bigger in diameter than the 2nd Metatarsal because it is meant to carry the majority of pressure. When the second toe is longer it can create a side to side movement in the foot often called hypermobility. This adds to the complications of Morton’s Foot. Anything that adds additional pressure to the mentioned metatarsals increases the odds of Morton foot. Because of high heels, women are 8 times more likely to develop Morton’s Toe than men.
I Now Have Pain from Morton’s Toe, How do I Treat it?
- Custom Orthotics with Metatarsal pads are highly recommended. They can offer relief from pain by distributing pressure on the foot evenly and help stop over pronation which is common with Morton’s Toe.
- Comfort Shoe Wear.
- Taping the first two toes together
- Icing the bottom of the foot
- Cortisone shots
- Anti-inflammatory drugs: Ibuprofen, Aleve or aspirin, may be taken orally to reduce pain and inflammation.
If pain remains chronic, contact a podiatrist, there is surgery to shorten the bone in the second toe. Recovery time can be as little as two weeks.