Morton’s Toe Causes, Symptoms & Treatment Options

by Mark Paigen November 15, 2018

If your second toe is longer than your big toe, you may have Morton’s Toe, also called Morton’s Foot Syndrome or Greek Toe. Though the condition is not uncommon (roughly 20 percent of the population has Morton’s Toe—including the Statue of Liberty!) in some individuals, it can cause biomechanical adaptations that lead to foot, knee, and back pain. Learn more about Morton’s Toe causes, symptoms and treatment options below. Speak to your podiatrist for a diagnosis and treatment plan if you suspect your Morton’s Toe could be responsible for pain.

What Causes Morton’s Toe?

Morton's Toe

Unlike many foot-related maladies, Morton’s Toe is not caused by ill-fitting footwear, injuries, or overuse. Instead, it is a factor of genetics. Those with this condition are born with it. When the second metatarsal bone inside the foot is longer and lower than the first metatarsal bone, the pressure that occurs with every step you take is not evenly distributed. This causes the added weight to be shifted to the second metatarsal. Over time, this may lead to overpronation (turning inward) of the foot along with other progressive structure irregularities in your foot, ankle, knee, leg, and back.

How To Know If You Have Morton’s Toe

Morton's Foot Vs Regular Foot

Image source

The main symptom of Morton’s Toe is easy to identify—your second toe is longer than your big toe. This causes the metatarsal (ball of the foot) beneath your second toe to fall lower than the big toe metatarsal, which creates a deeper space between the first and second toe than between the subsequent toes.

The condition itself is no cause for alarm. Many people with Morton’s Toe, however, experience a series of biomechanical complications as they age, due to the uneven distribution of pressure on the ball of the foot. These complications can include:

Common Complications Of Morton’s Toe In The Feet

In addition to a greater risk for these associated foot problems, those with Morton’s Toe may also be more prone issues in the ankles, legs, hips and back. This can include weakness or pain, shin splints, instability, arthritis, and more.

Treatment Options For Morton’s Toe

Simple treatment options can help align your foot, relieve the pressure on your feet, knees and legs that may otherwise lead to progressive skeletal dysfunction. The most common treatment for Morton’s Toe is a quite simple fix involving an orthopedic insert that raises the level of the big toe metatarsal to the level of the second metatarsal.

See a podiatrist if you are experiencing pain due to Morton’s Toe. Your physician will examine your foot, ankle, and leg as you sit, stand, and walk. If there is evidence of a metatarsal fracture or progressive foot disfunction, they may wish to perform imaging tests to see what’s going on at the bone, muscle, and tendon level. If the findings suggest the root of your foot disfunction is due to Morton’s Toe, your physician will likely suggest the proper type of shoe inserts to help you.

If your Morton’s Toe has contributed to other skeletal problems, your physician may refer you to a specialist who can address the specific issues you are experiencing.

Providers Who May Treat Symptoms And Complications Of Morton’s Toe

  • Podiatrist (Doctor of Podiatric Medicine)—physician who treats foot and ankle disorders
  • Orthopedic (Foot and ankle) surgeon—a surgeon who specializes in the surgical treatment of foot and ankle problems
  • Certified Pedorthist—specialist who has expertise in fitting and modifying footwear to address foot irregularities and conditions
  • Certified Orthotist – provides mechanical devices that address foot and leg or gait irregularities
  • Chiropractor – a spine practitioner and expert of the musculoskeletal system who can make adjustments in the skeletal structure and provide nerve relief or stimulation, as needed
  • Osteopath – a physician or surgeon who specializes in correcting problems and injuries of the bones, tendons, and muscles
  • Pain specialist—a physician who specializes in helping patients to remediate and cope with their pain using a variety of therapies, including injections, physical therapy, and oral pain medications
  • Doctor (PhD) of kinesiology—an expert in the study of motion and its effects on physical health; may also work as a physical trainer, occupational therapist, or physiologist

Tread Labs Insoles Can Help

Tread Labs offers orthotic inserts guaranteed to fit most arch and heel shapes and sizes. Our insoles feature medical-grade materials, a lifetime warranty, and washable, replaceable top-covers. Find out more about our semi-custom insoles to see if they’re right for you:

Why Tread Labs?
Choose orthotic insoles that are matched to the arch contours of your feet. Tread Labs support works perfectly for people with flat feet, ultra-high arches and everything in between.
Mark Paigen
Mark Paigen


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