High arch or cavus foot is a condition where a foot’s arch is raised more than normal. The high arch causes pain and instability as a result of excessive weight falling on the ball and heel of the foot when walking or standing.
Symptoms of a cavus foot include pain in the foot while walking, standing or running, inward tilted heel that causes instability of the foot and ankle sprains, callus formation on the ball and at the outer edges of the foot, toes that are bent (hammertoes) or clenched like a fist (claw toes), difficulty wearing shoes and/or shortened foot length.
High arch sometimes occurs as an inherited abnormality but typically occurs in children with neurological disorders or conditions such as cerebral palsy, spina bifida, and muscular dystrophy.
A high arch is diagnosed by noting the patient’s family history and a physical examination of the foot. X-rays may also be taken to determine the severity of the condition.
A high arch that is flexible does not require any treatment. In cases where there is pain, shoe modifications such as an arch insert or support insole can help to relieve pain while walking. Custom orthotic devices can be made to fit into shoes and provide stability and cushioning. Surgery to decrease the arch or flatten the foot is only considered for very severe cases.