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This Unique Toe Trait Can Lead to Foot Pain

“He’s got his father’s feet.” That’s what followers of the British monarchy are saying about the newest baby in the family. A recently published picture of newborn Archie Harrison Mountbatten Windsor shows that his toes are of pretty even length. That means he didn’t inherit Morton’s toe from his mother.

What is Morton’s toe?

Photos of Meghan Markle – a.k.a. the Duchess of Sussex and new mom of Archie – have shown us that her second toe is longer than her big toe. Expert podiatrist Dr. Kenneth R. Wilhelm of Clifton Foot & Ankle Center will tell you that this condition is known as “Morton’s toe.”

Morton’s toe IS NOT wrong or dangerous and it’s nothing to worry about – unless it causes you pain.

Morton’s toe IS inherited. Your genes and your ancestry determine if your second toe will be longer than your first. About 20% of the general population has Morton’s toe.

Morton’s toe CAN sometimes lead to complications including

  • Capsulitis – inflamed ligaments in the second toe that can make walking painful.
  • A neuroma – thickening of the tissues surrounding a nerve in your toe.
  • A callus – an area of thickened skin underneath the longer toe. Calluses form as a result of extra pressure on the toe when you walk.
  • Metatarsalgia – pain in the ball of the foot, also due to excessive pressure.

How to prevent aches and pains with Morton’s toe

The one thing you can’t do to prevent these possible complications is change the length of your second toe. But the following methods are definitely within your control:

  • choose shoes with a wide toe box
  • buy shoes long enough to accommodate the longest toe
  • minimize pressure on the toe by wearing special pads or custom orthotic inserts, which Dr. Wilhelm can recommend and provide for you at our Fairfax County podiatry office
  • Watch out for any changes in your feet. If Morton’s toe causes you any discomfort at all, fix it early before the problem gets worse. Call our Centreville, Virginia office at (703) 996-3000 or make an appointment online.
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