Morton’s Foot – a Common Problem

March 20, 2010 by · 1 Comment
Filed under: Foot Care, Health 

Morton’s Foot, often called Morton’s Toe, is a common problem in which the second toe (next to the big toe) is longer than the big toe. In the 1930s, podiatrist Dr. Dudley Morton discovered that many people had a short first metatarsal bone. He concluded that this condition impacted their gait, causing their foot to hyperpronate-a dysfunction of the foot causing your ankles to roll in when you stand, walk, and run. Estimates for Morton’s Toe range from 15% of the population to as high as 50-60%.

Morton's FootThe photo here shows an especially elongated second toe. In fact the second and third toes are longer.

The first metatarsal (of the big toe) is shorter than normal, and this makes the second toe appear longer than it actually is. This is usually a hereditary condition. Morton’s foot usually leads to excessive pressure on the 2nd metatarsal head (behind the second toe at the ball-of-the-foot). The constant pressure placed on the longer second toe while walking or standing can lead to callus formation under the second metatarsal head due to this excessive pressure. The repeated pressure of the longer second toe against the front of the shoe or boot may traumatize the nail. If a hematoma develops under the nail, the nail will change color and may fall off. Because of the excessive pressure on the second metatarsal head in the forefoot, Morton’s Toe is often associated with metatarsalgia.

Treating Morton’s Foot

Morton’s Toe makes buying shoes harder. It is important to fit shoes to this longest toe. Your toes need space and breathing room and your longer toe is no exception. In addition, make sure you trim your nails and file them smooth. Good toenail care, especially of this long toe, will prevent the nail from hitting on the front of the shoe-jamming the nail back into the nailbed. If you are bothered by toe pain, gel caps could help. These are a gel substance that covers the toe and many are reusable.

To get a good fit, look for shoes with a high and wide toebox. It may be necessary to use a shoe a half size to a size larger than normal in order to have space for the longer first toe. Use a nonslippery insole to keep the foot from sliding forward. The use of orthotics can align the foot by providing arch support. A metatarsal pad under the metatarsal heads of the forefoot can relieve pressure on the second metatarsal head. (A good source of metatarsal pads is Hapad)  Some runners will cut a slit over or on either side of the toe to relieve pressure. Another option is to cut out a small piece of the toebox over the toe. Orthotics may also provide relief. Surgery is usually a last resort.

“Face Lifts” for Feet

July 20, 2007 by · 1 Comment
Filed under: Footcare, Footwear, Health, Sports, Travel 

I recently learned of a new term for foot procedures – face lifts for feet. This was used an Associated Press article about the trend in cosmetic foot procedures. Some of these are called toe tucks, toe slim, toe shortening, along with common procedures like bunnionectomy and hammer toe surgery. Many of the patients are women who want their feet to look prettier. Others are those who are in pain from their feet.

     One podiatrist says these procedures make up the bulk of his practice. A

Houston

podiatric surgeon says he does five cosmetic cases a month, most shortening the second or third toe, or lengthening the big toe, at a cost of $1500 to $2000 per toe.

     I have heard from many athletes who have foot problems and could benefit from surgery. Bunions, hammer toes, Morton’s toe, metatarsal pain, ingrown toenails, and toenail removal, are a few examples. Rather then “put up with” the problem, there comes a time when surgery may be the right F91b7d16 choice. For example, the photo shows a person with Morton’s Toe. The toe is quite a bit longer than the big toe and could present many problems to an athlete. This person might happily have surgery rather than deal with the issues of such a long toe.

     Before choosing foot surgery, make sure to get at least two opinions, and three may be better. Investigate your condition on the Internet, at trusted websites. Become educated so when you contact a podiatrist or other specialist, you know what questions to ask. 

Morton’s Foot (or Morton’s Toe)

September 6, 2005 by · 1 Comment
Filed under: Footcare, Footwear, Health, Sports 

Morton’s Foot, sometimes called Morton’s Toe, is recognized by a longer second toe, or by a deeper web space between the first and second toe. Over 70 years ago, Dr. Dudley Morton discovered that many people had a short first metatarsal bone. He concluded that this condition impacted their gait, causing your foot to hyperpronate—a dysfunction of the foot causing your ankles to roll in when you stand, walk and run.
     Estimates range from 15% of the population to as high as 50-60% has Morton’s Foot. I recently saw a photo of four ladies feet, taken to show off their shoes and toenails—and all four had Morton’s Foot!
     The constant pressure placed on the longer second toe while walking or standing can lead to callus formation under the second metatarsal head due to this excessive pressure. The use of orthotics can align the foot by providing arch support. A metatarsal pad under the metatarsal heads of the forefoot can relieve pressure on the second metatarsal head. A good source of metatarsal pads is Hapad.com.
     Morton’s Foot makes buying shoes harder. It is important to fit shoes to this longest toe. Your toes need space and breathing room, as discussed in the previous blog, and your longer toe is no exception. In addition, make sure you trim your nails and file them smooth. Good toenail care, especially of this long toe, will prevent the nail from hitting on the front of the shoe—jamming the nail back into the nailbed. If you are bothered by toe pain, gel caps could help. These are a gel substance that covers the toe and many are reusable.
     Several websites offer information on Morton’s Foot, including MortonsFoot.com, SupportYourFeet.com, and FootPainCenter.com.

Saving Your Toes With the Right Toebox

September 4, 2005 by · Leave a Comment
Filed under: Footcare, Footwear, Health, Sports 

When trying on shoes, the toebox is one of the most important parts of your shoe. Those little (or large) toes at the end of your feet need room. The toebox is the front part of the shoe that covers the toes. That means we are talking about both height and width. The right toebox can save your toes. The wrong toebox can cost you your toenails.
     In shoes with the right toe box, your toes will feel comfortable and have room to wiggle and breath. Shoes with the wrong toebox will squeeze your toes—giving them no room to wiggle and breath. This squeezing may happen from the sides and/or the top. The side squeeze will push your toes together and maybe even underneath each other. A squeeze from the top down will put pressure on your toenails. When going downhill, this pressure often results in subungual hematomas or black toenails. If your nails are not trimmed properly and are too long, the jamming of the toes into the front of the shoe will put additional pressure on the nails and cause nailbed problems.
     One rule of thumb is that when standing in your shoes, you need a thumb’s width of space between the end of your longest toe and the front inside of the shoe. Generally this works. You may want more space when you are going to be involved in a muti-day race, hike or event. In that case, consider buying shoes a size of two larger than normal.
     You’ll note I said “space between the end of your longest toe.” For the majority of us, that means your big toe. But for about 15% of the population, it means the toe next to the big toe. This is a condition called Morton’s Foot or Morton’s Toe. This condition, usually hereditary, requires shoes to be fit to that toe.
     When trying on shoes, first, be sure to wear your own socks. Sock thickness can also affect the space in your toe box. Secondly, have someone check for good spacing in front of your toes. Third, wiggle your toes around and make sure you have space sideways and up and down. Fourth, don’t go solely by what the salesperson says. You must be the judge of how your shoes fit. After all, they are your feet, and you want to keep them happy.