High arches, also known as pes cavus or cavus foot, is a foot condition characterized by an excessively high arch that doesn’t touch the ground when standing. It is the opposite of having flat feet where there is no visible arch. For some people, having high arches can lead to various foot problems and discomfort. If you think you may have high arches, it's important to seek treatment from a podiatrist right away. With proper care and treatment, you can reduce your risk for further complications and enjoy greater comfort while walking or standing for long periods.
Understanding High Arches
People with high arches may have this condition due to a neurological problem, such as cerebral palsy, Charcot-Marie-Tooth disease, or spina bifida. It can also be a genetic problem. Because your skeletal makeup and posture are impacted by the way you stand, high arches can create structural problems in your body. For some people, high arches can be very painful.
Symptoms of High Arches
- Calluses or corns on the ball, heel, or side of the foot
- Instability or frequent ankle sprains
- Difficulty finding shoes that are comfortable and fit properly
- A heel that tilts inward
- Numbness or tingling in the feet
- Toes that are bent when standing, such as hammer toes or claw toes
- Achilles tendinitis or tightness in the calf muscles
In addition, high arches can often lead to various foot problems, such as bunions, plantar fasciitis, and stress fractures. Not everyone with high arches will experience the same symptoms or level of severity. Some people with high arches may not have any symptoms at all. If you have high arches and are experiencing discomfort or any of these complications, seek evaluation and guidance from an experienced podiatrist. A podiatrist can assist in managing symptoms effectively and provide appropriate treatments as needed.
How a Podiatrist Can Treat High Arches
Podiatrists experienced in foot and ankle conditions can accurately diagnose foot problems, such as high arches, through a comprehensive evaluation. A podiatrist will examine your foot to assess its structure and range of motion and identify any underlying causes that could be contributing to your condition. They may order testing to confirm the diagnosis, such as an X-ray, MRI, a nerve conduction study, or electromyography.
Possible Treatment Options
- Custom orthotics. Podiatrists can prescribe customized orthotics, such as arch supports or shoe inserts, to help correct foot alignment and provide additional support.
- Footwear recommendations. High arches often require specialized footwear to accommodate the unique foot structure and prevent excessive pressure points. A skilled podiatrist can guide you in selecting appropriate shoes with proper arch support, cushioning, and stability.
- Physical therapy. In some cases, physical therapy may be recommended to address muscle imbalances, improve flexibility, and strengthen the muscles surrounding the foot and ankle.
- Icing. Applying ice to the arches of your feet can help reduce pain and inflammation.
- Medication. To help ease pain and swelling, over-the-counter pain medications can be used.
Types of Surgery for High Arches
A podiatrist will only recommend surgery for high arches if conservative approaches have failed to relieve pain and discomfort. Surgery may be necessary if the case is severe, and surgical intervention is needed to correct an underlying structural issue or to improve the overall function of the foot.
There are several surgical procedures that can be performed to address high arches, depending on your specific needs. These include the following:
- Soft tissue release. Tight tendons and ligaments contributing to the high arch may be surgically lengthened or released to alleviate tension and improve foot alignment.
- Tendon transfer. In this procedure, tendons from one part of the foot are transferred to another area to help balance the forces acting on the foot and improve stability.
- Osteotomy. This procedure involves cutting and reshaping the bones in the foot or ankle to realign the foot structure and redistribute weight more evenly.
- Joint fusion. This procedure involves fusing two or more bones to provide stability and correct deformities in the foot.
Surgery does not come without risks. It is essential to discuss the risks and what to expect after surgery with your podiatrist before agreeing to a procedure. Your podiatrist will determine what procedure will be best for your specific needs.
Austin Foot and Ankle Specialists Go the Distance for You
When you have a foot or an ankle problem, you want a team of specialists who will give you clear answers about your condition, treat you with state-of-the-art equipment, and provide you with a treatment plan that directly addresses your specific issue. Our podiatrists understand the importance of healthy feet, and with their education and training, they provide you with the best options for a speedy recovery.
The award-winning podiatrists at Austin Foot and Ankle Specialists are recognized across the country for their depth of knowledge, treatment options, and outstanding service. If you are experiencing foot or ankle pain, contact us at 512-328-8900, or take advantage of our online appointment scheduling.