Morton’s toe gets its name from the first orthopedic surgeon to officially describe the condition—Dudley Morton. If your second toe is longer than your big toe, then you have Morton’s toe . Usually, this congenital condition doesn’t cause any problems. If yours does, a foot specialist in Sugar Land can give you the expert guidance you need. Podiatrists tend to recommend nonsurgical treatment options before considering surgery.
Understanding Morton’s Toe
Your foot has five long bones that connect each toe to the midfoot. These bones are called metatarsals. Your big toe is connected to the first metatarsal, and your second toe is connected to the second metatarsal, and so on. Morton’s toe doesn’t involve an anatomical abnormality with the second metatarsal, but rather with the first. If the first metatarsal is shorter than usual, then the big toe will be shorter—consequently, the second toe looks longer than it should be.
Identifying Possible Complications
Many people with Morton’s toe never see a foot doctor for this condition, as it doesn’t always cause symptoms. In severe cases, Morton’s toe can cause changes in the way a person walks. This imbalance results in excess pressure placed on the second toe or the ball of the foot. The complications that can occur from changes in gait can range from calluses and corns to hammertoes. Hammertoes are characterized by the bent position of the toes. Initially, it’s possible to stretch out hammertoes. Over time, the muscles tighten to the point at which they cannot be manually flexed. If hammertoes become permanent, corrective surgery may be needed.
Trying Nonsurgical Treatment Options
Most patients with Morton’s toe will do well with a change in footwear. Foot doctors recommend wearing comfortable shoes that feature a wide, deep toe box. This will give the toes plenty of space. You may also need metatarsal pads, or custom orthotic inserts to achieve proper foot alignment.
Exploring Surgical Correction
If Morton’s toe is causing significant problems, and a change in footwear isn’t enough, a foot surgeon may perform a surgery that involves shortening the second metatarsal bone. This is an outpatient surgery, during which the doctor will excise a small portion of the bone, and then use surgical hardware to hold the ends of the bone together as they heal.