Many Americans are afflicted with toes that are significantly longer than other toes. This is especially common for the middle toe, just beside the big toe. This is called Morton’s Toe. Morton’s toe leads to excessive pressure on the second metatarsal head, resulting in pain, and that pressure can lead to callus formation under the second toe. Many people with longer toes suffer with shoe sizing. This can eventually result in hammer toes due to toe bunching in closed-toe shoes, as well as toes hanging off of open-toe sandals.
Occasionally, I’ve spoken with patients who have had to buy different or larger shoe sizes and have come to our office to explore the possibility of toe shortening surgery. The questions often asked are, “What does toe shortening surgery consist of? Is it considered cosmetic?”
Toe shortening surgery consists of removing a pre-determined length of bone and fixating the toe to bring the shortened bone back together. New technology allows for minimally invasive surgery, with hidden incisions and no external fixation wires. Post-op recovery is now shorter and less painful. However, shortening toes is considered a cosmetic in most cases, and is generally not covered by insurance.
It’s fairly common to have the middle toe longer than the big toe, but if your toe is significantly longer, or is keeping you from wearing properly fitted shoes, you may want to see one of our podiatrists for an exam. We can go over surgical, as well as non-surgical options, to help you. Orthotics that feature arch support to keep the foot aligned, and a metatarsal pad to reduce stress on the ball-of-the-foot are also options, depending on the severity of your condition. As I mentioned, hammer toes and calluses can be the result if left untreated. Click here to request an appointment, and one of our staff will be happy to contact you!