If the second toe on your foot looks longer than the big toe, you may have Morton's foot syndrome, also known as Morton's toe. Although the condition sounds like it might be unusual, it's actually quite common. Because Morton's toe affects your posture and the way you move, it can cause foot, lower leg, back, and neck problems.
What to Look For
You can usually determine if you have Morton's toe by examining your feet. If the second toe isn't obviously longer, which it isn't always, check the space between your first and second toes. You have Morton's toe if the space looks deeper than the space between your second and third toes. While it may not seem like a serious abnormality, the poor foot biomechanics it causes can lead to more serious conditions.
Common Foot Problems It Causes
Since the structure of the foot is different, Morton's toe can cause bunions, calluses, stress fractures of the toe, claw toes, hammertoes, and pain in the ball of the foot. Swelling of the foot and ankle can also occur.
The pressure placed on the longer toe when you walk and stand can cause calluses, hammertoes, and pain. Shoes with a wide toe box that are a half size bigger than your normal shoe size can help relieve pain. Choose shoes with good arch support to keep your foot properly aligned. Padding under the first metatarsal also provides support for the metatarsal arch, decreasing pressure when you walk.
How It Affects the Rest of the Body
If your toes point slightly inward or outward when you walk, you may have this genetic condition, which could be the source of your chronic pain. Your toes should be pointed forward. If not, you can experience all kinds of painful issues.
Tight calf muscles, shin splints, knee pain, and ankle pain can be symptoms of Morton's toe. Problems with your foot can strain calf muscles when you walk or run. Tight calf muscles can then cause shin splints—pain in the inside of the lower part of your shin bone.
The abnormal pronation that Morton's toe causes may be responsible for your painful shin splints. When your feet roll inward too much—the way they do with Morton's toe—the motion flattens the arch of your foot. Because your foot continues to roll instead of pushing off, the movement twists your foot and lower leg. As a result, overpronation can cause pain in the hip, knee, and lower back, according to the American Podiatric Medical Association.
Back, Shoulders, and Neck
It isn't uncommon for problems associated with Morton's toe to cause pain to spread to other areas of your body. The changes in your gait because of Morton's toe can lead to back pain and discomfort. You can experience low back pain, upper back pain, shoulder pain, and neck pain.
Your foot mechanics and walking gait both affect proper body alignment and can cause chronic pain. Trying to make up for when your foot over pronates puts more stress and strain on the bones, muscles, joints, and ligaments throughout your body.
As you get older, you may suffer more symptoms. Morton's toe can lead to osteoarthritis of the knee, Meniscus tears, and sciatica pain due to the extended wear and tear on your ligaments and joints. For professional assistance, contact specialists, such as those from Mid Nebraska Foot Clinic.
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