Morton's syndrome: A syndrome characterized by a shortened first metatarsal (foot) bone that results in excessive force on the head of the second metatarsal (foot) bone and a hypermobile first metatarsal segment. The external appearance of the foot in Morton's syndrome is characterized by an abnormally shortened first toe in comparison to the second toe. Calluses are seen on the plantar surface (bottom) of the foot beneath the second and third metatarsal bones.
Symptoms of Morton's syndrome include pain and tenderness at the base of the first two bones of the foot and at the head of the second metatarsal bone. The pain usually arises with walking or standing and improves with rest.
Morton's syndrome is usually a hereditary (inherited) condition. The defective first metatarsal bone cannot provide adequate support for the foot, and arch fatigue and pain are common.
Treatment often involves wearing prescription shoe inserts that help prevent the degenerative changes that result from improper alignment. In severe cases, surgery may be recommended to restore proper alignment of the foot.
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Last Editorial Review: 5/13/2016