High arched feet, Pes Cavus

When looking into problems with your feet very often you’ll hear about low arches, over pronation, flat feet, or pes planus. These terms refer to when the arch of the foot is too low. However, the opposite problem exists as well. There are a multitude of problems associated with the arch is into high. Some of these problems will be reviewed in this article.

Proper arch height is a relative term. It refers to the condition where all of the bones are properly aligned and the foot. If the arch is too low or too high the alignments of these bones are off. When the arch is too low often the bones are spread out. This can cause excessive motion of the bones. When the arch is too high, sometimes the bones are packed too close together. This can cause pain from compression.

A common problem associated with high arches his pain on the outside of the foot. The outside of the foot, also called the lateral column, becomes overloaded causing compression injuries. This excessive compression can cause pain and inflammation in the joints also called capsulitis. Over time this can lead to breakdown of the joints or arthritis. The pain from capsulitis is exacerbated by standing up on your toes. There are several nonsurgical treatments for this problem. Prevention would include wearing shoe gear that accommodates for this overload.

People with high arched feet are more prone for ankle sprains to the outside. This is due to the high arch causing the foot to have a curved in or inverted position. This inverted position causes more tension on the outside of the ankle and predisposes the ankle to “rolling out.” The more times the ankle is sprained, the more predisposed the ankle will be to additional sprains. This is because the ligaments holding me ankle in place becomes stretched and did not provide the same support. Ankle sprains can be prevented by wearing shoes that support the outside of the foot and ankle or ankle braces. This is especially true when walking on uneven ground like a hiking trail. In severe cases the ankle has to be reinforced for surgery.

Tendinitis can also be caused by high arched feet. The peroneal tendons run on the outside of the ankle. One of the jobs of these tendons is to keep the ankle from rolling out. As discussed before the high arch foot predisposes the ankle to rolling out causing the peroneal tendons to have to work harder. Just as with any other tendon in the body, over use can cause inflammation. Inflammation in the tendon is tendinitis. Peroneal tendinitis presents has pain running along the back and the bottom of the outside part of the ankle. It can be accompanied with bruising or swelling. Again this can be prevented by wearing supportive shoes or braces especially when walking on uneven ground. In severe cases the tendons can be torn and may require surgery.

This is only a few of the problems that can be caused by having arches that are too high or pes cavus. If you start to have pain as described above or any other pain in the foot should be evaluated to make sure that the arch is not the primary cause. Often wearing the correct shoe gear can solve your problem.