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High Arch – Cavus Foot


This condition is an abnormally high arch of the foot that results in an excessive amount of body weight being directed to the ball and heel of the foot. Cavus foot can be congenital or acquired, may develop at any age, and can affect one or both feet.


High Arch – Cavus Foot

Causes & Triggers

This condition can be caused by a wide variety off actors. It can be present at birth, the result of an inherited structural abnormality. In many cases, however, cavus foot develops slowly – later in life -as the result of a nerve or muscular disorder. Stroke, cerebral palsy, spina bifida, Charcot-Marie-Tooth disease and other medical conditions can cause cavus foot to develop.

  • Congenital abnormality
  • Neurological (brain & spinal) disorders:
    • Cerebral palsy (CP)
    • Charcot-Marie-Tooth disease
    • Muscular dystrophy (MD)
    • Polio
    • Spina bifida
    • Stroke

Signs & Symptoms

The most obvious symptom of cavus foot is a high arch that is present even when the person is standing. Because cavus foot results in an excessive amount of pressure in the ball of the foot and heel, the person may experience foot pain, ankle instability, and calluses on the sole of the foot. The person may also develop claw toes or hammertoes.

  • Calluses, especially on heel, side or ball of foot
  • Drop foot
  • Hammer toes or claw foot
  • Heel tilted inward
  • High foot arch noticeable when standing
  • Instability
  • Pain

Tips & Treatment

Treatment depends on the underlying cause of the problem. If the condition is inherited, orthotic devices, braces or changes in footwear may be recommended to provide more support for the foot. If the cavus foot has resulted from a nerve or muscle disorder, the underlying cause will be treated. In many cases, surgery is needed to correct the deformity.

  • Supportive braces can provide stability to both the foot and ankle.
  • Custom orthotic shoe inserts and/or high-top or special, wide-bottom shoes may provide support, stability and cushioning.
  • Surgery may be required to relieve pain and improve stability.

Related Specialties

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