High Arches (Cavus Foot)

What are high arches (cavus foot)?

Cavus foot is a condition in which the foot arch is very high. The high arch causes excessive pressures on the ball and heel of the foot, where the bodies weight is displaced. It can develop at any age and can affect one or both feet. 


Cavus foot is commonly caused by a variety of neurological disorders and medical conditions. Cerebral palsy, spina bifida, Charcot-Marie-Tooth, polio, muscular dystrophy or stroke are all problems that can lead to high arches. High arches that are a result of a neurological disorder are typically progressive in nature and will worsen without intervention and treatment. High arches can also be an inherited biomechanical trait. Because of the many reasons for cavus foot the treatments will vary.


The arch of a cavus foot appears abnormally high. Other problems that can occur due to high arches are:

  • Hammertoes - pain or irritation of the hammertoe, especially when wearing shoes.

  • Calluses - on the balls and heels.

  • Pain - while walking and standing. 

  • Stability Problems - due to the heel tilting inward, which can lead to an increased risk of ankle sprains.


Many different treatments exist for hammertoe. You podiatrist will suggest one of the following treatments, depending on the severity and progression of the hammertoe:​

  • Shoes - a change to shoe gear, especially to a shoe which leaves more room for the offending toes. High heels and shoes with pointed toes should be avoided. 

  • Bracing - a variety of different braces may be recommended depending upon the individual. An AFO (ankle foot orthosis) is a common recommendation. 

  • Orthotic Inserts - a custom orthotic device is frequently prescribed to support the tendons and muscles as well as relieve pressures on the toes. 

  • Surgical Correction - depending on the state of the arch your podiatrist may recommend a surgical intervention to correct the problem. 

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