Thursday, November 10, 2005

Morton's toe

Who uses it: Podiatrists, shoemakers, runners
What it means: Having a second toe that is longer than one's big toe.
How to use it: To describe my feet.

Happy birthday today to my old friend Drew Schuler, down in Atlanta.

Textbooks and medical dictionaries describe Morton's Toe as a "foot disorder," but at least 50% of the U.S. population has it. In fact, I had no idea that everyone's feet didn't look like mine until I was well into high school.

What makes Morton's Toe a problem -- for more than just finding shoes that fit -- is that it goes along with over-pronation, which is putting too much weight on the insides of one's soles, so that the ankles fall in. Humans want to put weight on their big toes, and those of us with short big toes have to roll our feet toward each other in order to do that. This, in turn, can cause back problems and general ungainliness, as I can testify from personal experience. It also makes your arches hurt like a monster when you're doing something that requires the big toe's participation, like yoga or ice skating.

We had our first ice storm last night. I was planning to walk down to the brewpub, to get the latest news about what's going on with the abandoned Gardiner Paperboard factory. Yesterday, when Dizzy and I walked through there, we saw salvage workers cleaning up the interior, which suggests that someone has bought the place and plans to do something with it. I figured they'd have the scoop at Kennebec Brewing, which is right next door.

But when I opened the door, my deck was covered with star-shaped grains of ice. My need for gossip and Frank's Oktoberfest lager didn't seem as important as my need to keep my bones intact. This morning it's slightly warmer, and the ground is only damp, not glazed -- so maybe I'll try it again tonight.

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