Do you have a long 2nd toe?

If your second toe is longer than your big toe it's called Morton's toe. This can cause foot problems and throw the body's balance off-kilter, causing back and knee pain, walking problems and putting stress on muscles that then can compound problems all over the body.  
Morton’s Foot, or more commonly known as Morton’s Toe or Greek Foot, is a type of foot structure that’s common to about 20% of the Earth’s population, and easily recognizable by just looking at your toes.  Bend the toes down to see if the joint on the second toe is longer than the first one.
 You have Morton's Toe if the metatarsal bones in the big toe and the second toe next to it are the same length, the second toe will be longer than the big toe, as shown in the photo.

The main symptom experienced due to Morton's toe is discomfort and callusing of the ball of the foot at the base of the second toe. This is because the big toe would normally bear the majority of a person's body weight while walking, but because the second toe bone is further forward, the force is transferred there. Instead of having a traditional tripod weight distribution layout with your feet between the ball, the place behind the fifth toe, and the heel; When people with Morton’s Toe are walking they have all their weight placed on the heel and behind the second toe. Because the foot tilts side-to-side and the foot rotates outward to try and compensate, this is like walking on ice skates.  Many people have leg and back pain related to Morton's Toe.

Here's a quote from, "Have you looked at your feet? Do you have Morton’s Toe? Could there be a link between symptoms of Fibromyalgia, Chronic Pain, Restless Leg Syndrome, Neck Pain, Shoulder Pain, Knee Pain, Hip Pain, Low Back Pain, Tingling Leg or Legs, Sciatica, Plantar Fasciitis, TMJ, Sensitive Teeth… and  your feet?

Every person I know who has had a knee or hip replacement has Morton’s Toe. Coincidence? Maybe."

For more information read the book, Why You Really Hurt: It All Starts in the Foot by Dr. Burton Schuler for simple solutions that can help alleviate foot and body pain (plantar fasciitis, fibromyalgia).  There are some great reviews on Amazon.   
Here's a video describing Morton's Toe.

Here's a website with descriptions of how it affects posture and alignment and how you can use a simple pad to shim your toe to get relief.

From The simplest and most cost effective way to deal with Morton’s toe is to place a shim under the head of the first metatarsal, (ball of the foot). The shim needs to cover the green area in the photo.
The most convenient shim material I have found is the felt pads used under furniture on hardwood floors. They have a self-adhesive back so are very easy to glue into place. Home Depot sells ““Surface Gard 4-1/4” x 6” Medium Duty pads for under $4.00. I have also cut and layered shims using a throw away inner tube (which can often be found for free at tire repair centers) glued together with rubber cement. I have also used Dr. Scholls “MoleFoam” (not MoleSkin).
If your shoes have a removable insole, stick the shims underneath the insole at the “dimple” made by the ball of your foot.  Make sure the pad does not extend into the area of the second metatarsal.  If your shoes do not have a removable insert, then glue the shim on top of the insole at the same “ball of the foot” dimple.
People frequently have pain and a callus under the head of the second metatarsal because it is sticking down more than the others. A soft pad is often prescribed to be placed over the callus. That is exactly the wrong thing to do. The 2ndmetatarsal head already sticks down too much. This extra pad, in exactly the wrong place, will usually make your chronic pain and foot pain worse.

There's a great blog post about Morton's Toe and how he fixed it here: 

How to Change Your Life for 75¢

Foot Health, Body Alignment, Sitting Still, and Meditation

I've been learning a lot about how the body's alignment and mechanics create health or create pain.  There is a wonderful website by Katy Bowman called, The Restorative Exercise Institute, that has peaked my interest and taken me on a new health educational journey.

I recently bought Katy's book, "Alignment Matters."  It is a collection of her blog posts and it is not only VERY educational, it is also FUN to read.  She has a delightful sense of humor and I found myself chuckling and outright laughing while reading.

I had no idea how important body alignment is to our overall health and well-being.  Our feet are the foundation of it all.  Our footwear  has been influenced by fashion and our high-heeled shoes have created pain and misalignment.  I found Katy's list of shoe choices and bought two pairs of "negative" healed shoes (Earth Kalso).  Walking in them has brought my body into proper alignment and made me realize I have had terrible posture and instead of walking I was "falling forward" and catching myself with a bent knee every time I walked anywhere.  No wonder my knees ached and I have had cartilage problems.  Here is a video of walking with a bent knee and in slow motion HERE and a video of the CORRECT way to walk: HERE and in slow motion HERE.

One of the blog posts, "You are bound to be Successful," is about vipassana meditation.  Katy said, "I became a Vipassana meditation student over two years ago, and I will say with 100% conviction, that it was the best thing I have ever done for my long-term health."   This is a very intriguing thing to say.  I had no idea what vipassana mediation was, so I googled it and there are free 10 day retreats about 250 miles away from where I live.

In another blog post, "Men have Pelves too," she talks about men's pelvic floor tightness and pain being the cause of many misdiagnosed prostate issues (she again refers to vipassana meditation). Here's what she says:

My Big Announcement:
If you work at all with the pelvic floor (male or female), if you personally have a pelvic floor disorder right now, if you have some sort of chronic pain issue that is “unsolvable” right now, if you are a noticing a relationship between your mental-state (stress) and a body ailment (pain), if you are NOT noticing a relationship between your mental-state and a body ailment, if you are a man, if you are a woman, if you work in the pelvis (or on or around), if you offer any sort of body therapy: You need to read this book.
So I read Tim Park's book, "Teach us to Sit Still."  It really is AMAZING!  I loved reading this book.  The depth of emotion and insight is mind-blowing.  I found myself going back and re-reading certain sentences because of the profound truth that was stated. He goes through years of pelvic pain and trying to find a cause/cure.  He discovers a book called, "A Headache in the Pelvis," that gives him the breakthrough information on the cause and what he can do to help himself.  This leads him to finding Vipassana Meditation.  His descriptions of the insights into himself, the pain and eventual peace that he experiences while meditating make me want to try it, too. 

Another post you may enjoy: Do you have a long 2nd toe?
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