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What Is a Long Toe?

A long toe, or Morton's toe, occurs when the second toe is longer than the big toe.
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  • Written By: Dan Cavallari
  • Edited By: Bronwyn Harris
  • Last Modified Date: 09 October 2014
  • Copyright Protected:
    2003-2014
    Conjecture Corporation
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A long toe is a common name for the condition known as Morton's toe; this occurs when the second toe on the foot next to the big toe appears much longer than the big toe. While the appearance may suggest that the long toe is, in reality, longer than the first or big toe, this may not be the case. The metatarsal bones, which are situated behind the toe bones themselves, are actually the cause of the condition; the first metatarsal, which is behind the big toe, is actually shortened in relation to the second metatarsal, which is situated behind the second toe that appears long.

The presence of a long toe can cause some problems for a person. This foot pattern can lead to poor foot posture, which can in turn lead to pain throughout the foot, ankle, or even the leg. A person's walking gait can also be affected, which can in turn cause pain throughout the body. It is possible, however, that a person with a long toe will suffer no negative consequences at all, in which case treatment may not be necessary. If the long toe does cause pain, however, a few different types of treatments are available.

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Choosing quality, supportive footwear can help alleviate some of the symptoms of the long toe and can help support the foot properly to prevent gait issues. A person with Morton's toe may find himself replacing shoes more often to ensure proper support. Orthotic devices can also be used to help correct any gait issues. A wide toe box that does not put pressure on the toes is recommended, and an insole that prevents excess pressure on the metatarsal bones will help prevent some pain.

Calluses are likely to develop on the bottom of the foot near the second metatarsal, since this bone is not intended to support most of the body's weight. The calluses can lead to pain, so treating them by soaking the feet may also lead to some pain alleviation. A proper insole will also help alleviate some of the pain, and good arch support within the shoe will help keep the foot properly aligned during a normal walking gait. If pain persists even after the correct shoes and orthotics have been chosen, it may be necessary for the person to visit a podiatrist for further consultation.

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