When a person’s second toe is longer than the neighbouring big toe (or hallux), this is called a Morton’s Toe. The name derives from American orthopedic surgeon Dudley Joy Morton, who researched the condition of having a relatively short first metatarsal bone (one of the five long bones in a foot) and a hypermobile first metatarsal segment (meaning that the joints are abnormally bendy). Morton himself called it Metatarsus atavicus, considering it an atavism (apparent setback in evolution) recalling prehuman grasping toes.
Morton’s Toe can cause nail problems due to the fact that regularly shaped shoes can’t accomodate the longer second toe – as well as so-called musculoskeletal dysfunction and
pain. However, there have been accounts of certain positive cultural and anthropological interpretations. In several languages, Morton’s Toe is referred to as a Greek foot, because Greek, Roman and neo-classicist sculptors regarded it as a desirable physical trait and thus created their sculptures’ feet in that image. It has been associated with royalty as well, particularly during the period of Greek rule over Egypt – the so-called Egyptian foot is one with the big toe being the longest.
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