High arches

This article does not constitute as medical advice.
If you are experiencing symptoms, contact your doctor or make an appointment.

What are High arches (Pes cavus)?

The arch of the foot runs from the toes to the heel. High arches (Pes cavus) or a high instep causes pain because of intense pressure on the toes and heel while doing regular, daily activities. You can look to see if you have Pes cavus by examining your footprint. In addition, because of the way feet roll inward, people with this condition are more prone to ankle sprains, knee pain, and plantar fasciitis. Therefore, patients should stick to low-impact exercises to avoid injury. High arches are less common than low arches.

Causes of High arches (Pes cavus)

Many people are born with this condition as it is generic. However, they can be developed over time. Here are common causes of high arches: 

  • Hereditary: This condition can run in families. Patients should look at their family’s history if they inspect that they have high arches. 
  • Gender: Pes cavus is more commonly passed down to women (68%) than men (20%). 
  • Bone condition: When the bone structure of the arch is higher than average between the heel to the toes. 
  • Neurological condition: This can stem from a nerve condition such as cerebral palsy, polio, stroke, muscular dystrophy, and others. If only one foot is arched or if the condition worsens, contact our office

Symptoms of High arches 

Besides examining the foot to see if the arch between the heel and toe are higher than usual, patients should check for other symptoms such as: 

  • Foot pain and tired feet: Discomfort in the feet may worsen over time due to the intense pressure on the toes and heels. 
  • Difficulty finding well-fitting shoes: People with this condition have inflexible feet, so finding comfortable shoes can be challenging. Read our section on “Treating High arches” to see which shoes best support this foot type. 
  • Poor posture and balance: Posture and equilibrium can be faulty due to the intense amount of weight on the heel and ball of the foot. With unstable feet, the patient may be more prone to ankle sprains. 
  • Other foot problems: High arches can lead to other foot issues such as hammertoes, calluses, and claw toes. 

Treating High arches 

  • Low impact exercises: High impact workouts can put extra pressure on the heel and toes since this condition offers less shock absorption. Athletes should properly stretch their arches before and after their workouts. 
  • Supportive shoes: Look for shoes especially formulated for high arches and support the plantar facia. 
  • Orthotic insoles: Insoles for Pes cavus help stabilize and equally distribute the weight and create a cushion on the foot. 
  • Very high arches can be corrected by surgery: While most cases don’t require medical treatment, surgery or physical therapy may be recommended for some. 
Normal arch vs high arch vs. flat arch

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