A foot having abnormally high medial longitudinal arch is known as Pes Cavus. It retains its high arched appearance while carrying the weight of the body. It is less in occurence as compared to the flat foot problem. Pes Cavus is apparent at an early age.
The sudden appearance of Pes Cavus, or its presence unilaterally, may be due to trauma or neuro-muscular disease. It is more bothersome as compared to flat foot. Less of the plantar surface of the foot is weight bearing resulting in increased stress on the heel and metatarsals. Painful plantar calluses are often present.
Appearance of High Arched Foot
The toes may develop a deformity with painful corns on the top of the toes or at the tips. The high arched is very poor at absorbing the shock of heel during the gait cycle. This creates abnormal stress on the soft tissues of the heel and mid-tars.
Excessive supination,(roll outwards) of the heel leads to high arched pes cavus foot. A distinct highly curved arch is observed along the inside of the foot. Sometimes the toes may be in a clawed position. When a person with a cavus foot stands, the middle of the foot seems to be raised higher off the ground than normal. The heel may be drawn in towards the inner sde, and the toes may also be drawn inwards.
Symptoms of High Arched Foot:
- Shin, knee, heel and spinal pain is felt, as these structures are forced to take more force than they are normally subjected to Clawing or hammering of the toes along with calluses and corns either on top of the toes or beneath the ball of the foot
- Hammertoes or claw toes are formed
- Pain when standing or walking
- An unstable foot due to the heel tilting inward, which can lead to ankle sprains
- Hard skin under the toe of the foot
- Pain or tenderness along the arch
- Shoes may wear out quickly
- Shoes may be difficult to fit, especially around the ankle
- Stiffness of the feet may be there
- Severe pes cacus can cause calf pain, knee pain and hip pain
- One may suffer from ankle sprain easily
Causes of High Arched Foot
- Charco-Marie disease
- Friedreich’s ataxia
- Syringomyelia’Spina bifida
- Normal genetic variation
- Hereditary causes
- Cerebral Palsy
Treatment of High Arched Foot:
The treatment of high arches mainly depends on the cause which is responsible for the high arched foot. If the condition worsens with the passing up of the time then more conservative treatment methods can be followed which can be effective in treating the condition and reducing pain.
There are some external devices which can be used to stabilize the foot and also provide support to the extra-high arches. These devices comprises of orthotics which can be placed inside the shoes, braces which can be worn on the outer side of the foot and help in keeping the ankle and foot stable and special shoes which have high tops and wide bases to provide support and stability.
The secondary symptoms can be treated by trimming up of the calluses or by using pads which reduce pressure on the definite points on the foot and provide relief.
In case the above mentioned treatment methods do not show desired results and pain gets worsened day by day then surgery is the best option left for treating this condition. In case you are suffering from neurological conditions, then surgery is the only treatment method which has to be followed for treating the pain and inconvenience caused in walking due to the presence of the high arches.
The main goals of surgery are:
- Correct the existing deformity present in the ankle, the toes, the high arch and the imbalances of the muscles
- Preservation of the motion as much as possible
- Reestablish the balance of the deformed forces of the muscles located around the ankle and the foot
- To prevent the development of ankle arthritis from occurring as the deformity of the foot and instability of the ankle could result in the development of this condition