For most of us, the big toe is the longest on the foot. But for a not-small amount of people (about 15% of the population), the second toe reaches farther than the first.

You may be wondering: aside from a visual difference, does this (inherited) condition, known as Morton’s foot, cause any problems?

The answer, perhaps surprisingly, is: quite possibly!   Called a Morton's toe, you may experience discomfort when your second toe is longer than your first.

People with Morton’s toe (so named because the condition was discovered by Dr. Dudley J. Morton about 70 years ago) are more susceptible to arch and heel pain, calluses and even stress fractures!

The most common symptom people with Morton's toe experience is callusing. A callus is a thickened patch of skin that usually appears on the bottom of your foot. They are caused by too much pressure, and people with Morton's toe are more susceptible because their imbalanced toes distribute weight improperly on the soles of their feet. 

This condition can also make the ball of your foot or the base of your second toe hurt. Finding a proper shoe fit can be difficult, and wearing badly fitted shoes can lead to more pain, as well as damaged or ingrown toenails

How Can I Minimize Complications with a Longer Second Toe? 

According to Dr. Charis Eng of the Cleveland Clinic, if your second toe is longer than your big one, taking the following precautions can help prevent injury and discomfort:

  • Choose shoes with wide toe boxes and strong arch support
  • Consider orthotic inserts or foot pads that offer increased padding under the ball of the foot
  • Stability is key in your footwear—low or no heels are the safest choices
  • Steer away from sports that pound your feet with running or jumping as they can increase your already elevated fracture risk
  • When deciding what type of exercise to do, think of lower-impact activities like swimming or biking

Just because you have a foot that’s shaped differently doesn’t mean you’ll have to spend your life dealing with foot pain. If Morton’s foot or other structural foot problems are causing you discomfort, schedule an appointment with Dr. Andrew Schneider so we can help alleviate your pain.

Dr. Andrew Schneider
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A podiatrist and foot surgeon in Houston, TX.