08 Aug Why is Second Toe longer than Big Toe?
What Is the Meaning of a Long Second Toe?
It goes by the name Morton’s toe, Greek toe, turkey toe, royal toe, and Viking toe. They’re all ways to identify the unusual condition of having a second toe that’s longer than your first toe.
If you have this condition, should you worry? Let’s look at the causes and possible meanings of this extra-long digit.
Genetic and Biological Reasons
Having a long second toe is not a deformity. The long bone connected to the second toe is the longest bone in the foot. It’s natural that this toe sometimes sticks out further than the others.
Your foot has 26 separate bones:
- 7 tarsal bones that make up your ankle.
- 5 metatarsals. These are the long bones that run along each foot.
- 14 phalanges or toe bones.
The long metatarsal bones can sometimes push the phalanges out as your bones grow. In some cases, they grow past the length of the first toe.
Myth and Folklore
Through the centuries, myths and folk tales have circulated about left-handed people, people with moles and people with long second toes.
The ancient Greeks venerated a long second toe as the ideal of physical perfection. You can still see these long toes on ancient Greek and Roman statues. The Vikings believed that a long second toe meant you’d have a long life.
Other cultures believed that women with long second toes were bad-tempered and would control their husbands. In the practice of psychic foot reading, readers interpret a long second toe is a sign of leadership ability or royal ancestry.
How Many People Have a Long Second Toe?
Although nobody knows the exact number, foot care experts estimate that between 3% and 15% of the population has this condition.
Can It Cause Any Problems?
In most cases, your long toe won’t cause you any physical, medical or gait problems.
Wearing the wrong shoes can cause an uneven weight shift that exerts excessive pressure on both toes. This can lead to various conditions including:
- Morton’s neuroma. This condition creates the painful sensation of a large, hard stone pressing against your toe.
- Hammertoes. This condition causes the toes to bend downward in a hammer shape.
- Thick corns and calluses. Excessive calluses on your soles and toes can make walking painful.
Prevent Toe Problems
You can avoid these conditions by:
- Wearing wide-width shoes.
- Avoiding tight, narrow shoes and high heels.
- Wearing shoes that support and cushion your toes.
How a Foot Care Professional Can Help
If you have developed Morton’s neuroma, severe calluses or foot pain related to your long second toe, contact a podiatrist. A foot care doctor can prescribe quick, easy interventions to correct the condition. These include:
- Custom orthotics to correct gait and cushion the toes.
- Surgery to shorten the toe.
- Removal of corns and calluses.
Choose Your Shoes According to Toe Length
Make sure you take your long toe into consideration when you’re buying shoes. Your shoes should be long enough to fit your long toes comfortably.
Open shoes like orthopedic flip-flops are a good choice. Going barefoot when it’s safe to do so is another great option for your long toes. Give them the room they need to move freely.
Keep All Your Toes Healthy
Whether you have normal toes, long toes or short toes, do your best keep them healthy. Our feet do everything for us. Return the favor by wearing the right shoes, treating them with care and getting regular podiatric checkups.