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Treat Hallux Limitus with a Morton's Extension

What is a Morton's Extension?

Thomas George Morton (1835-1903) was a clinical professor and surgeon at The Pennsylvania Hospital.  He was an active surgeon during The Civil War and founding director of several hospitals in the Philadelphia area.  As a pioneer of surgical techniques, he is accredited with diagnosing and performing one of the first appendectomies in which the patient survived.

Although the history is obscure, Dr. Morton's name remains in foot care and describes a number of different conditions including Morton's metatarsalgia and Morton's neuroma.  A modification to shoes also carries his name, specifically, the Morton's extension.

What foot conditions can be treated with a Morton's extension?

A Morton's extension is an extension of the shoe or arch support, that changes the function of the foot by limiting the range of motion of the great toe joint.  Morton's extensions are used in the treatment of:

Hallux limitus (and hallux rigidus)

Turf toe


Sesamoid fractures

Ulcerations of the great toe (diabetic)

Use of a Morton's extension has a profound effect on the function of the forefoot.  In addition to limiting the range of motion of the great toe joint, a Morton's extension increases the lever arm length of the foot. orthotics with a Morton's extension carries a number of products that utilize a Morton's extension in varying degrees of stiffness.  Choosing the most appropriate device for your needs depends upon your level of activity and shoe type.

Turf toe platesMolded Turf Toe Plates are most commonly used for pedestrian and sports activities.  In addition to arch support, Molded Turf Toe Plates provide a very rigid Morton's extension.

Carbon Graphite Turf Toe Plates are a simple semi-rigid, flat orthotic that fits well into pedestrian shoes.  Carbon Graphite Turf Toe Plates are a particularly good option for dress shoes.

Turf toe plate
Hallux Trainer Insoles

Hallux Trainer Insoles are a finished insert with a semi-rigid polypropylene Morton's Extension.  Hallux Trainer Insoles are a great product for tennis shoe or boot insole replacement.

VHD - Vasyli Howard Dananberg Insoles are a unique form of modifiable Morton's extension.  The proximal and distal plugs (included) are used to either increase or decrease the range of motion of the great toe joint depending on the stage of hallux limitus (increased motion for early-stage with decreased motion for late-stage HL).

VHD - Vasyli Howard Danaberg Orthotics


Dr. Jeffrey Oster
Jeffrey A. Oster, DPM

Medical Advisor

Updated 3/15/2021

Leave your comment
11/27/2018 12:30 PM
I ordered the Hallux Trainers so I could continue to run.  However I only needed one for my right foot.  Can I wear one or should I wear both?
11/30/2018 9:05 AM
My first inclination is to recommend using both the right and the left but I think you really need to experiment with them a bit.  From my own personal experience, I like a symmetrical fit in my shoes; if one shoe is a certain 'snugness' I like the other to feel the same.  And <a href="/hallux-trainer-insoles">Hallux Trainer Insoles</a> are intended to be a replacement insole for the shoe (totally removing the old insole).<br>
Play with it a bit and see what works best for you.<br>
<a href ="/jeffrey_a_oster_dpm_cv">Jeffrey A. Oster, DPM</a><br>
Medical Director<br>
12/19/2018 8:06 PM
My doctor states I have the beginning of hallux limitus and it is bothering me when I'm hunting because we walk through the woods.  Is there a particular plate that is better for someone as active as I am?  Thanks Buddy
12/20/2018 4:10 PM
There's two ways to treat <a href="/hallux-limitus#Tab3">hallux limitus</a> and the ways are based on the stage of hallux limitus.  In the early stages of hallux limitus, you can use a <a href="/vasyli-dananberg-orthotic">Dananberg Orthotic</a>.  The primary purpose of the Dananberg Orthotic is to actually increase range of motion by plantarflexing the 1st metatarsal bone.  But as you start to develop that distinctive bump on top to the great toe joint (dorsal bunion), that means that the range of motion of the great toe joint is going to be limited.  In that case you need to change gears and use and insert that will limit the range of motion of the great toe joint with a Morton's extension.<br>
A Morton's extension is a semi-rigid to rigid extension under the great toe joint that will limit the range of motion of the joint.  In the case that you cite, you're likely using a hiking boot.  In that case, a good tool would be our <a href="/hallux-trainer-insoles">Hallux Trainer Insoles</a>.  Hallux Trainers are a finished insole with Morton's extension that will completely replace the inner sole in your boot. <br>
<a href="/jeffrey_a_oster_dpm_cv">Jeffrey A. Oster, DPM</a><br>
Medical Director<br>