Is your second toe longer than your first? Or perhaps you might have seen or known someone with such a toe alignment.
Normally, the length of our toes is in descending order, with the first one being the longest and the last being the shortest.
But it’s not uncommon for the second toe to be longer than the first, and such a condition is called Morton’s toe. If you or someone you know has this condition, then read on below as we explain what Morton’s toe is, what complications it can lead to, and most importantly, how it can be managed.
What is Morton’s Toe?
As we have already mentioned, Morton’s toe is a condition where the second toe is longer than the first.
People with Morton’s toe are simply born with it, and it is not something that can develop later in your life due to external factors.
The name ‘Morton’s toe’ comes from Dr. Dudley Morton, the person who discovered this foot condition more than 70 years ago. Morton’s toe is quite a common condition, and there are different statistics that suggest that it may occur in about 15-20% of the world population.
Morton’s toe is also called Morton’s foot, as well as some other names such as Royal foot or Greek foot (as having a longer second toe was considered to be aesthetically beautiful in ancient Greece).
Morton’s toe should not be confused with Morton’s neuroma, a painful condition caused by the thickening of the tissues in the toes. These two are completely different disorders and the only thing they share in common is a part of their name and the fact that they are both foot disorders related to the toes.
You can tell if you have Morton’s toe simply by looking at your feet so there is no need for a special diagnosis or analyzing any symptoms. The condition is not dangerous by itself, but people with Morton’s toe are prone to developing other complications such as foot and ankle pain, fracture, or further deformation of the feet.
An interesting foot fact about Morton’s toe is that it has also been depicted in two famous statues – Michelangelo’s David and the Statue of Liberty. So, if you have that special toe, you’re in good company!
What Causes Morton’s Toe?
Morton’s toe is a congenital condition, which means that it is present from birth. A person who does not have this condition since birth will not develop it in the later stages of their life.
As such, there are no underlying causes responsible for the condition. In Morton’s toe, it is the metatarsal bones of the second toe (and not the phalanges or toe bones) that are longer than the first.
Non-Surgical Options For The Management Of Morton’s Toe
In people with Morton’s toe, regular physical activity such as walking, running, and exercise puts more pressure on the second metatarsal bone. This can lead to difficulties in walking and abnormal gait.
It can also cause the feet to curl inwards when walking, which is called overpronation. Over time, Morton’s toe may also contribute to developing more serious conditions such as metatarsalgia or plantar fasciitis.
All of this may sound a bit worrying, but Morton’s toe can be managed without any surgery with the help of certain equipment, wearing appropriate shoes, and making necessary lifestyle changes.
Below, we’ve discussed different non-surgical options that can help you to manage Morton’s toe and prevent it from impacting your daily life.
Orthotic inserts are devices that are designed to fit inside shoes and footwear to prevent different types of feet disorders. Using orthotic inserts for Morton’s toe can prevent the feet from further misalignment and also prevent feet pain by providing extra comfort when wearing shoes.
Different types of orthotic inserts for Morton’s toe are available in the market and we have reviewed a few of the best ones below.
Footlogics insoles are designed to relieve several foot disorders, including Morton’s toe. These insoles are meant to replace the normal soles of your shoes.
The size has been adjusted to cover 3/4th of your shoe length so that there is more space and room for movement in the upper region of the shoes. The posterior part or the heel side of these insoles is elevated which decreases pressure on the toes when walking.
These soles have inbuilt cushioning which makes for a comfortable walking experience. They also have shape retention properties to adjust to the natural shape and arch of your feet.
These orthotic insoles are multipurpose as they can fit into all types of shoes and you can even wear them with sandals. They are available in five different sizes for both men and women along with an extra-large size.
Superfeet Green insoles are made of high-quality synthetic material with high durability. They do not deform or wear out over time, so a pair of these can last for a number of years. These are full-length insoles that you place inside your shoes, but you can also trim them from the edges in minor adjustments if required. As with the previous product, these insoles also feature an elevated heel while the toe region is flat and low.
The heel side of these soles also has an additional protective layer which helps to keep the structure of the soles intact even after prolonged use. The heel cups are wide and deep and so that you can rest your feet comfortably on them. Equipped with a layer of dense foam, these soles can absorb shock and pressure so that you can wear your shoes conveniently throughout the day. They are available in a variety of sizes for men, women, and even children.
The longer second metatarsal bone in Morton’s toe can lead to friction between the first and second toe. Eventually, it can also cause the toes and the feet to deform inwards. A toe separator can prevent such things and hold the toes in their natural position.
As the name suggests, toe separators are small devices that fit like a ring in your toes and separate two toes from coming into contact with each other. Toe separators can be of different shapes and sizes and we have reviewed one below.
Zentoes toe separators are made of silica gel which makes them soft and flexible as well as durable and long-lasting. All you have to do is slip your toe into the ring and the bulky side of the gel pad will prevent the first and second toe from touching each other.
It may feel a bit odd when wearing them for the first time but they are very comfortable and you will soon get used to them. They are free from latex and other chemicals so you are not likely to have any allergic reactions.
These toe separators are small and compact so you can wear them with shoes on throughout the day. You can wash and reuse them continuously and for a long period. Make sure you keep them clean to avoid stinky feet.
There are no size variations as it has a universal, one size fits all design and is suitable for both men and women. There are three color variations you can choose from – white, beige, and transparent. Go nuts!
Cushioned pads for the feet are also effective in managing pain due caused by Morton’s toe. They provide great relief and comfort while walking with shoes on.
Here’s our review of one of the best footpads for Morton’s toe.
These metatarsal foot pads are made of stretchable, elastic fabric that can fit perfectly on all foot sizes. They have an inner layer of gel cushion which reduces pressure on the metatarsal region of the foot.
They evenly distribute pressure on the toes while walking thus alleviating the pain caused by Morton’s toe. The material is also breathable and does not allow the build-up of heat even when you wear them for longer periods.
Due to their elastic nature, they conform to the shape of your feet so you can wear them comfortably with shoes and sandals. The material is washable so you can clean and reuse them daily. The package includes two footpads allowing you to wear them one at a time alternately.
Best Shoes for Morton’s Toe
In Morton’s toe, the second toe takes more pressure than the first and it gradually widens the distance between the two toes. That is why people with Morton’s toe often have wider feet. So wearing tight-fitting shoes will only cause more problems such as pain and deformation in the toe region of the foot. That is why people with Morton’s toe must be careful and selective about the type and size of shoes they wear. For example, shoes with a wider toe box and raised heels are suitable for Morton’s toe. And having pressure-absorbing rubber outsoles is always preferable.
There’s no difference between male and female Morton’s toe, but women usually have slender feet compared to men. That is why it’s best not to wear unisex shoes if you have Morton’s toe. But searching for suitable shoes among hundreds of products online can be quite a hassle, so we have selected some of the best Morton’s toe shoes for both men and women.
Men’s Shoes For Morton’s Toe
Skechers men’s sneakers are primarily made of durable and breathable mesh material, with certain parts also made of leather. The front region is quite spacious and provides enough room for the toes. The sole is arched appropriately, so the foot can rest comfortably in its natural position. But the main highlight of these shoes is the high-quality rubber soles.
The insole of these sneakers is made of moisture-absorbing fabric, and beneath it lies a layer of gel-infused foam. The foam does a great job of absorbing pressure so that the base of your feet feels comfortable and relaxed while walking.
The outsole is strong and durable but still flexible enough to bend while walking. Stiff soles can cause pain in the foot, especially for people with Morton’s toe, so the flexibility of these outsoles is noteworthy.
With 15 different colors and designs to choose from, these shoes are also high in the fashion quotient.
Women’s Shoes For Morton’s Toe
The Skechers women’s walking shoes are also made of mesh fabric with a durable rubber sole. They are delightfully comfortable and lightweight so it’s a breeze to wear them throughout the day.
The mesh material is soft and somewhat flexible so that the toes can fit in conveniently without tightness or stiffness. These are lace-free, slip-on design shoes so you can get in and out of them quickly.
The midsole of these shoes is equipped with adequate cushioning to decrease pressure and increase comfort. The insole is lined with bamboo extracts which control bad odor and keeps the inner region fresh. The shape of the footbed is slightly curved upwards at the front region which prevents the toes from pressing the ground too often.
They come in different sizes from 5 to 11, and there are 11 design variations to choose from.
Gravity Defyer pain relief women’s shoes are specially designed for different foot ailments and disorders. Made of part fabric and part synthetic material, these shoes are equipped with Gravity Defyer’s patented spring absorption technology.
It’s a unique spring-like foam that fits between the midsole and the outsole at the heel region which has very high pressure and absorbing properties.
The toe box is spacious and the footbed is arched perfectly for a comfortable fit. Similar to the previous product, these shoes also have an upward curved front region to reduce contact between the toes and the ground. They are available in sizes 6 to 11 with eight different designs.