A Foot to Stand On

Morton's Toe Might Lead To Foot Pain If It Affects Your Gait

by Grace Ortiz

If your second toe is longer than your big toe, you might have a condition known as Morton's toe. This is a fairly common foot abnormality that might not give you any problems, but if it affects your gait. The condition can lead to foot pain, knee pain, and back pain. Here's a closer look at Morton's toe and how a podiatrist might treat it.

The Causes Of Morton's Toe

While it appears your second toe is abnormally long, Morton's toe is caused by a problem with the big toe, which is shorter than it should be. This gives your foot the appearance of having a longer second toe. The big toe may also be hypermobile, and when that's combined with having a second toe that's longer, your gait can be affected. Morton's toe is often a congenital condition, but it can also be caused by an injury or medical problem that develops after birth. Your second toe might be a little longer or a lot longer, and the effects of the condition can vary from having no symptoms to being bothered so badly you need surgery.

Treatments For Morton's Toe

While surgery is a possibility, it isn't usually needed. Instead, a podiatrist can recommend orthotics to wear that hold your foot in alignment and correct for an abnormal gait. Metatarsal pads may also be suggested. These pads relieve pressure on the bones in the ball of your foot. You can place them in your shoes or wear them on your feet. Wearing shoes with large toe boxes is important too so your toes have plenty of room and so the metatarsal pads can be accommodated. Your podiatrist might also need to treat other foot conditions caused by Morton's toe, such as plantar fasciitis, stress fractures, and toe deformities. In addition, you may need additional help and support from your podiatrist if you are an athlete with Morton's toe. A longer second toe changes your foot mechanics when you run, and that can lead to problems that affect not only your feet, but also your ankles and knees.

Even if you don't have any symptoms due to your longer second toe, you should be aware of how the condition could potentially affect your feet in the future if you take a job where you walk all day or if you begin running. Wearing the right orthotics might help prevent foot injury and pain. You may want your feet and gait analyzed by a podiatrist so you can ward off future problems that could leave you with structural changes to your feet and foot pain in the years ahead.