Do you know what a Morton’s Foot is? Unless you have it or are a podiatrist, your answer may very well be “no.” And understandably so. I know I’ve heard the term Morton’s Foot and that has been as far as my knowledge of it went—that is, until I came across this article about it and how massage may help someone who is afflicted with it.
Linda Fehrs, Licensed Massage Therapist (LMT), did a nice job of thoroughly explaining Morton’s Foot plus how it differs from a Morton’s Neuroma in her article “Morton’s Foot: One Little Bone, One Big Problem.” She also included some interesting facts pertaining to Morton’s Foot.
According to Fehrs, Morton’s Foot (also called Morton’s Syndrome) was named after Dr. Dudley J. Morton, a physician, orthopedic surgeon, researcher and author who was well known in the 1920s – 1950s. “He described this condition, in which the second toe appears to be longer than the first or ‘big’ toe.”
What makes a Morton’s Foot is when the second toe appears to be equal in length or longer than the big or first toe. According to Fehrs, the cause is not that the second toe is longer than the first, as much as the first toe’s metatarsal is shorter than it should be compared to the second toe’s metatarsal. The metatarsal is a bone that sits in front of your heel bone and helps make up the arch of your foot. It connects to your phalanges or the bones in your toes.
Now Morton’s Neuroma, named after Thomas C. Morton, is a painful condition that entraps nerves found in the spaces between the metatarsals. This is thought to be caused by wearing too tight of shoes. While “Morton’s Foot is genetic, Morton’s Neuroma is acquired. In some cases, the neuroma can be caused by Morton’s Foot,” Fehrs said.
“A foot with a long second toe is unofficially known as the Classic Greek Foot and those who share this distinction, share it as well with the Statue of Liberty created by artist and sculptor Frederic Auguste
Bartholdi,” Fehrs added.
According to Fehrs, Dr. Dudley Morton cited many different ailments that could be caused by having a long second toe. They are back, hip and knee pain, arthritis, fibromyalgia, bunions and hammer toes, and temporomandibular joint (TMJ) pain. So, yes, if you have Morton’s toe, it can cause a “chain reaction of misalignment” through your body, creating many different ailments, as listed above.
If someone is experiencing chronic pain that doesn’t have a specific origin, massage may help to ease this pain. Trigger Point Therapy is the most recommended massage modality for treatment of Morton’s Foot. Swedish massage, acupressure, neuromuscular techniques and reflexology may help too.
Fehrs said the most common trigger points are found in the Gluteus Medius (hip), Tensor Fasciae Latae (hip), Quadriceps (thigh), Adductor Longus (thigh), Peroneus Longus (lower leg), Tibialis Posterior (lower leg) and Flexor Hallucis Brevis (foot).
Source: “Morton’s Foot: One Little Bone, One Big Problem” by Linda Fehrs, AAS, LMT. Visit www.integrativehealthcare.org/ mt/mortons-foot-second-toe-bigger.
Susan Santi is a certified massage therapist and owner of Ahhh Massage in Virginia, MN. Feel free to contact her with questions at 218-410-2144.