Stress fractures linked to Morton's toe

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Thursday, December 11, 2014
Stress fractures linked to Morton's toe
An estimated 15 percent of people have Morton's toe which means your second toe is longer than your big toe. The condition is linked to stress fractures.

CLEVELAND (KABC) -- If you've got a Morton's foot, which means your second toe is longer than your big toe, you may have a higher risk of foot problems like arch pain, plantar fasciitis, calluses, even ankle or knee pain.

That's because the way your foot strikes the ground could trigger problems throughout your whole body and it could also raise your risk of a fracture.

"People with Morton's toes who do a lot of exercises that pound on the ground, jumping, running, skipping are at an increased risk for stress fractures," said Dr. Charis Eng of the Cleveland Clinic.

Morton's toe was appropriately named after being discovered more than 70 years ago by Dr. Dudley J. Morton. It's an inherited condition that about 15 percent of people have.

The best way to treat it is to wear shoes that have enough width at the toe box, good arch support and stability. Sometimes a foot pad put under the ball of the foot can ease pain, too, and age is a factor as well.

Younger people may have fewer symptoms from Morton's toe because they're more active, but years of wearing the wrong shoes can definitely worsen the problem.

Dr. Eng says the longer your second toe, the bigger the risk.

"Some people just have a teeny-weeny Morton's toe, so the longer the toe, obviously, you can see where the stress lines are completely different in your legs," Dr. Eng said. "Those are the people who would have a higher likelihood of getting stress fractures."

Dr. Eng recommends low-impact sports like swimming or biking for people with Morton's toe. Again, Morton's toe can affect the whole body because it changes your posture and the way you walk. This can lead to low back, shoulder and neck pain.