#condition - Foot & Ankle

Pes Cavus – High Arched Foot

What is Pes Cavus?

‘Pes’ denotes the foot and ‘cavus’ implies high arched.

The arch of the foot varies from person to person, and there is a wide range of normality. Typically with a cavus foot, the arch is prominent/high, the heel tilts inwards and the front of the foot in drawn downwards.

What are the causes?

In many people, we do not know the cause of their cavus foot. Equally the majority of milder cases do not cause problems. Conditions which cause weakness of lower leg muscles can result in a cavus foot. Examples include spina bifida, muscular dystrophy and nerve disorders.

What symptoms might I experience?

Most people with pes cavus have no problem at all. Cavus feet tend to be stiffer than normal and are not able to absorb shock from the ground during walking and running. The foot posture can place excessive pressure over the ball and lateral side of the foot as well as the ankle joint. Your toes may curl and rub on shoes. Some people sprain their ankle easily.

What should I do if I am getting pain and my feet are getting more deformed?

You should seek referral to an Orthopaedic Foot and Ankle Specialist, who will be able to assess your condition. Mr Amin work’s at a Major Teaching Hospital and commonly treats difficult high arched foot deformities, and offers a regional service.

If not already tried, you will be referred to a podiatrist for assessment and consideration to custom made shoes, and/or insoles to help support the foot and distribute pressures more evenly. If your ankle gives way, physiotherapy will be organised and an ankle brace often helps in the short term.

Will I need surgery?

Most people with cavus feet do not need surgery. However, if your cavus feet cause a lot of pain, rub badly on your shoes so that the skin breaks down, or your foot or ankle are very unstable, and simple treatment has not helped, it may be worth considering surgery.

Surgery for cavus foot is often quite major, especially if the deformity is severe or very stiff. The exact nature of surgery varies considerably and I would discuss this with you in detail when we consult.