The Center for Podiatric Care and Sports Medicine

Hey, You, With the Morton’s Toe

Posted by on Monday, July 23rd, 2012

It’s always good to have some recognizable characteristics so people can describe you. Like a detective in a film noir might say, “She was a tall blonde with more curves than the Pacific Coast Highway, gams like a flamingo, and a Morton’s toe.”

A what?

A Morton’s toe! Let’s learn all about this crazy toe quirk.

Didn’t we cover this already? No, that was a Morton’s neuroma.

What is a Morton’s toe? Simply put, it means your second toe is longer than your big toe. It occurs in about 15-20% of the population. You’re born with a Morton’s toe, you don’t “catch it.” The ancient Greeks considered a Morton’s toe to be a sign of beauty so if you look at statues from antiquity, don’t be surprised if you spot long second toes on their feet. Famous example of a Morton’s Toe: the Statue of Liberty!

If I have one, then it just means I’m gorgeous, so what’s the big deal? Other than trying to choose an agent for my foot modeling career. Well, you may think it looks good, but a Morton’s toe can cause a variety of problems, especially if you’re someone who spends a lot of time on your feet, like a worker on a line, someone in the restaurant industry, or a keynote speaker who stands while giving speeches. Since the second metatarsal bone that connects to the second toe is longer than the metatarsal bone that connects to the big toe, the second toe takes most of the pressure on the ball of your foot, especially when you push off for every step you take. This isn’t something the second toe is built to do (hey, there’s a reason why the big toe is big).

As a result, you’ll likely develop a callus on the base of your second toe. The toe may be cramped against the top of the toe box, leading to bruising and a black toenail. People with Morton’s toes tend to overpronate, which causes a whole other host of injuries, such as bunions, shin splints, and knee issues.

Well, what should I do about it? The most important thing is to make sure your shoes fit. Look for shoes with a wide, long toe box. You may consider trying shoes a half a size larger to see if that helps keep the toe from pressing against the top of the shoe; lacing them the right way can help keep your foot from sliding them around. You can also find gel pads to put at the top of your shoe to absorb pressure. A podiatrist at The Center for Podiatric Care and Sports Medicine (212.996.1900) may recommend custom fit orthotics to help take pressure of the toe. Massage may help with pain associated with Morton’s toe.

A Morton’s toe is a condition you can live with as long as you take the simple steps outlined above to make life easier for your second toe. That toe may not have been designed to take all the pressure you’re giving it, but with a little care, it will do its best for your foot.

If you have any foot problems or pain, contact The Center for Podiatric Care and Sports MedicineDr. Josef J. GeldwertDr. Katherine Lai, and Dr. Ryan Minara have helped thousands of people get back on their feet. Unfortunately, we cannot give diagnoses or treatment advice online. Please make an appointment to see us if you live in the NY metropolitan area or seek out a podiatrist in your area.