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The article below is an updated version of the original article published in Children Foot Clinic, September 7, 2009.
Morton’s Foot, also known as Morton’s Toe or a Greek Foot, is a relatively uncommon foot condition, where the first metatarsal is short, in relation to the second metatarsal and the big toe is usually sorter than the second toe.
The name Morton’s Foot, also known as Morton’s Toe or a Greek Foot, derives from American orthopedic surgeon, Dudley Joy Morton (1884-1960), who originally described it as a triad of findings: a congenital short first metatarsal bone, a hyper mobile first metatarsal segment and calluses under the second and third metatarsals.
Morton’s Foot Is An Uncommon Foot Abnormality
Although Morton’s Foot is considered a disorder, many healthcare providers simply consider it to be a normal variant of foot shape, affecting 30-50% of the population (depending on the author). However, in my experience, it is not a common variant of foot shape, but an uncommon foot abnormality; affecting approximately 10% of the world population (it’s more common in some parts of the world than others).
In all normal foot structures, the first metatarsal head bears the majority of a person’s body weight in preparation for pushing off the big toe when you walk. But because, in a Morton’s Foot, the first metatarsal is shorter than the second metatarsal, the body’s weight is automatically transferred to the longer second metatarsal head.
Due to its smaller size, the second metatarsal head is not meant to support the majority of the body’s weight. So when this happens, the body protects the (smaller and more fragile) second metatarsal head by building up callus tissue. This callus tissue acts like a pebble imbedded in the skin, which produces pain when you walk.
My research concurs with Dudley Morton’s findings; that this foot structure mainly produces painful symptoms in the feet. But, recently, much has been written on the internet about the Morton’s Foot, citing Janet Travel’s earlier work, which suggests that Morton’s Foot is a common perpetuator of chronic musculoskeletal pain throughout the body.
It needs to be clarified that, in Travel’s later years; what she thought to be Morton’s Foot, might very well be, in fact, a Rothbarts Foot. This is because (in a Rothbart Foot) in which the first metatarsal is elevated and twisted; it can appear shorter than the second metatarsal – when in actuality it is not.
Confusion has also arisen equating Morton’s Foot with Morton’s Neuroma. Morton’s Neuroma, a term coined by Thomas George Morton (1835-1903), is a nerve tumor that frequently occurs between the third and fourth metatarsals. It has no relationship to Morton’s Foot.
To learn more about the Morton’s Foot, read my paper in Podiatry Review, Morton’s Foot or Rothbarts Foot: Are they the same?
To read about other foot structures, some of which cause chronic pain, go to: Your Feet: What They Look Like Gives Valuable Information.
And if you have questions about what’s involved in being treated with Rothbart Proprioceptive Therapy, see our FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions) Page.
Why struggle with temporary fixes and treatments that only work in the short term when you can be free, once and for all, of the chronic muscle and joint pain that is making your life miserable?
As you learn more about my innovative therapy, you may find that addressing and effectively treating your foot structure may be the missing link to ending your long time battle with unrelenting muscle and joint pain.
If you would like to contact me regarding an appointment to resolve the pain in your hips, click here.
Professor/Dr Brian A Rothbart
Chronic Pain Elimination Specialist
Discovered the Rothbarts Foot and PreClinical Clubfoot Deformity
Developer of Rothbart Proprioceptive Therapy
Inventor and Designer of Rothbart Proprioceptive Insoles
Founder of the International Academy RPT
Author of Forever Free From Chronic Pain and The Foots Connection to Chronic Pain