High arch foot is the opposite of flat feet, highly arched feet are much less common than flat feet and more likely but not always associated with an abnormal orthopedic or neurological condition. A high arch foot is medically known as a cavus foot. Neuromuscular diseases that cause changes in muscle tone may be associated with the development of high arches. Unlike flat feet, high arch feet tend to be painful because more stress is placed on the metatarsals the section of the foot between the ankle and the toes. Highly arched feet may make it difficult to fit shoes, generally require a foot support by the use of custom made orthotics.
Although the most obvious thing about a cavus foot is usually the high arch, this appearance is actually produced by other more basic deformities in the foot. In all cavus feet the front part of the foot is angulated downwards more than normal, and the part on the side of the big toe is usually angulated down most of all. The result is to tip the arch upwards, and also to tip the foot onto its outer side. It is this combination that produces the appearance of a high arch and a large space under the foot. This foot type tends to suffer  from over weight bearing problems, such as callous over the heads of the metatarsals (see anatomy) due to the diminished area where weight is distributed. In a few people with cavus feet they will also have weak calf muscles.
Patients with a cavus foot sometimes find it difficult to find shoes to fit, or the feet may ache, especially around the ankle, the outer edge of the foot or in the ball of the foot. Curled-up toes may rub on shoes.  Cavus feet tend to be stiffer than normal and may not take pressure as well as normal feet, so they may ache if you have been on your feet for a while. Some people with mild cavus feet do not notice them until they take up running or other sports, when the cavus may limit their exercise tolerance.
Some people complain that their ankles feel weak and they get ankle sprains easily. A few people who have reduced feeling in their feet as part of the condition that caused the cavus, find that their skin rubs raw in areas of high pressure. If you have a high arch foot it is well worth visiting a Podiatrist and having a gait assessment.












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Page last updated 14 October, 2007