Morton’s toe (more correctly called Morton’s foot) refers to a second toe that appears longer than the big toe, because the first metatarsal bone is short relative to the second. It was first described by the American orthopedic surgeon Dudley Joy Morton (1884-1960, different from the Morton of Morton’s entrapment, a painful nerve compression at the base of the toes). It’s also called Greek foot because the ancient Greeks found it aesthetically appealing and incorporated it into paintings and sculptures. Michelangelo’s David and the Statue of Liberty both have Morton’s toes.
According to some estimates, about 20 to 30 percent of people are born with this foot trait, which means it can be considered more a normal variation in foot anatomy than a disorder. Though little is actually documented about how it affects foot biomechanics, it may be associated with such conditions as hammertoes, bunions, and Morton’s entrapment, and it may contribute to various musculoskeletal issues in some people because the weight that the ball at the base of the big toe normally bears when walking is shifted to the balls at the bases of the other toes.
If you have symptoms from Morton’s toe, a flexible pad placed under the big toe, or orthotics designed with a metatarsal pad, may provide some relief. A physical therapist may be able to recommend special exercises.