If your second toe is longer than your first toe, you are living with a condition called “Morton’s Toe” (also sometimes called “Long Toe,” “Morton’s Foot,” or “Greek Foot”).
It is a genetic condition and affects somewhere in the vicinity of 30% of the population.
Morton’s Toe is not a serious condition, but it can be problematic for some people if they don’t take proper precautions.
To help everyone understand this condition, we have created this helpful guide.
In this guide, you will learn all about Morton’s Toe and how to better live with the condition if it is causing you discomfort.
What is Morton’s Toe?
You have five metatarsal bones in your foot. These metatarsals essentially connect your toes with the rest of the foot. In a “normal” foot, the first metatarsal will be the longest, the second metatarsal will be the second longest, etc. A person who has Morton’s Toe will have their second metatarsal bone be longer than the first metatarsal bone — causing their second toe to be slightly longer than their big toe. Besides that, everything else with regards to the foot is the same.
Historically, it was considered a blessing instead of a “foot condition.”
The reason Morton’s Toe is sometimes referred to as “Greek Foot” is due to the fact that the ancient Greeks thought that having the second toe longer than the first toe looked much better. In fact, both the Statue of Liberty and Michaelangelo’s David were sculpted to have the second toe be longer than the first toe.
What Causes Morton’s Toe?
Unlike many foot disorders, Morton’s Toe is entirely due to genetics! Usually, most foot conditions come about because of a mixture of multiple factors of which genetics can be a small or large part. But, with Morton’s Toe, whether you have it or not is entirely due to genetics.
What are the Symptoms of Morton’s Toe?
In most cases, the symptoms associated with Morton’s Toe are not extreme, but they can be uncomfortable. The most common symptom of Morton’s Toe is callusing or discomfort at the ball of the foot at the base of the second toe.
When walking, a person with Morton’s Toe puts more pressure on the second toe than normal. When a person with a “normal foot” walks, most of the weight is put on the first toe, which is designed to accommodate that pressure. The second toe is not designed to handle the extra pressure. This can result in a callus forming, pain in the ball of your foot, or even wearing holes in your shoes where the balls of your feet hit with the added pressure.
In most cases, people will only suffer from calluses, but in certain cases, people with Morton’s Toe may develop more serious issues because of their Morton’s Toe. For example, having Morton’s Toe can lead to a person developing several other foot conditions such as hammer toe or bunions. This is due to the extra stress put on the second toe when a person with Morton’s Toe walks.
Treatment Options for Morton’s Toe
Due to the genetic nature of Morton’s Toe, it cannot be removed completely, except through surgery. However, there are several ways to help keep Morton’s Toe from causing any problems.
Metatarsal pads are great for alleviating pressure applied to the ball of the foot when walking. They can take some getting used to (especially those that hook around the toe), but the pain relief associated with these pads makes that process much easier.
- Dr. Frederick’s Original Metatarsal Pads – This package include two super-stretchy gel pads that hook around your second toe and rest under the balls of your feet. The pads help to eliminate pressure points experienced due to your Morton’s Toe.
- Dr. Frederick’s Original Half Toe Sleeve – These are the same idea with a different design. These pads slide over your foot and cushion the ball of the foot when you walk.
- Yosoo Metatarsal Gel Pads for Women’s High Heels – This product is marketed specifically for women’s high heels. At the time of this writing, they are very well reviewed on Amazon (4.4 out of 5 stars) and appear to greatly help women suffering from ball of foot pain when walking in heels.
- LifeLux Ball Of Foot Cushions – This package is a combination of metatarsal pads, giving you options to try out several and determine which you prefer.
Because walking with Morton’s Toe puts more pressure on the 2nd metatarsal, getting orthotic insoles is a must. The insoles can take the pressure off the 2nd metatarsal and make walking more comfortable. Here are some orthotic insoles with metatarsal support.
- New Balance Insoles IUSA3810 – The contoured shape of the metatarsal pad is designed to redistribute weight and pressure to help give relief.
- Powerstep Pinnacle Plus – Built-in metatarsal support to spread and cushion the metatarsal heads to help alleviate pain.
- Stridetek Tactical Trainer – Patented Metatarsal Riser Support Pad encourages proper bio-mechanics, resists over pronation (rolling inward at the ankles), and relieves forefoot pain.
- New Balance Insoles IPR3030 – Uniquely designed metatarsal support helps prevent/relieve pain and discomfort.
Most shoes are designed to accommodate a “normal foot.” So, if you suffer from Morton’s Toe you will need to get shoes that have a large amount of space in the toe box to account for the larger 2nd metatarsal. We recommend the Orthofeet brand. Orthofeet makes decent looking, and more importantly, well performing shoes for women, and shoes for men. They make orthotic dress shoes, athletic shoes, sandals, boots, and even slippers.
Over the Counter Pain Medication
If you are ever suffering from intense pain due to your Morton’s Toe, then over the counter pain medications can help you get past a temporary bout of pain. However, pain medications are not a long term solution to the pain caused by Morton’s Toe.
If you want Morton’s Toe removed completely, either because other treatment options are not keeping the pain under control or because of cosmetic reasons, then you can get surgery to get it corrected. The process involves artificially shortening the 2nd metatarsal so that it is shorter than the 1st metatarsal. Surgery is generally not recommended, except in very serious situations because of the risks involved in any surgery.
Hopefully this guide has helped those with Morton’s Toe to better understand the condition. If you have just recently discovered that you have Morton’s Toe, you should go see a doctor right away to discuss treatment options.