High Arch (Pes Cavus) Symptoms, Causes, Treatment and Inserts

Pes Cavus Information

Pes cavus is the termed used to describe feet with an unusually high arch. Often, this condition causes more painful symptoms than does the flexible “flatfoot” that most people equate with “foot problems”. The high longitudinal arch causes a shortening of the foot. Also, oblique angle of the metatarsals to the floor results in increased pressure on the metatarsal heads (balls of the foot) with resultant callus formation.

Due to the high convex arch there is usually a clawing of the toes and, in turn, callus can develop on the dorsum (top) of the toes. This is considered an abnormality.

Causes Of High Arch (Pes Cavus)

The main cause for having pes cavus is heredity. That means that the condition runs in the family and can be passed on to the next generations. Also, because it is congenital, the person will have to deal with it for the rest of his/her life. However, there are also cases when the condition is caused by ailments like Charcot Marie Tooth Syndrome. Treatment of the underlying condition could possibly correct the arch problem.

The problem is that there is very little research and scientific data providing details and assessments regarding pes cavus. Thus, the patient’s only hope is to find footwear that could compensate the hollow portion so that he/she will have less pain and difficulties in using the feet.

Symptoms Of High Arch

  • To check if the patient has high arch or pes cavus, he/she will be asked to put feet on the ground without putting pressure for it to be as flat as possible. If there is a distinct hollow and arch between the balls of the feet and the front part, then he/she has pes cavus.
  • Just having a high arch does not mean that the patient will experience pain. If the feet are at rest or are not used in any activity, then the patient will not be experiencing pain at all.
  • It is only when the feet are used, especially for prolonged periods of time that the pain will be experienced.
  • Painful symptoms include pressure upon the balls of the foot and unusual fatigue when walking or standing.

Treatment For High Arch

  • Conservative treatment starts with properly fitted shoes with a low heel. The addition of a metatarsal support or bar can significantly relieve the pressure present at the ball region of the foot.
  • Also, custom molded inserts can diffuse weight bearing pressure over the entire plantar (bottom) surface of the foot.

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