According to estimates, one out of every five Asians has flat feet. However, not a lot of people know that almost the same number of people have a condition known as high arched feet, which is the
opposite of flat feet.
This little known condition is also known as pes cavus (Latin for “hollow foot”) or cavoid foot.
What is Pes Cavus?
It is a condition in which a person’s foot has a characteristically-high arch which results in a considerable amount of weight being placed on the heel and ball of their foot when running, walking, or standing. Over time, the condition will increase the workload for muscles responsible for controlling the foot and may lead to overuse injuries. Many people can find that slippers with arch support can help ease the pain.
How Does One Know They Have High Arched Feet?
High arches can be hard to diagnose and will often require the expertise and experience of a podiatrist to identify. Nevertheless, a simple footprint test can help you determine if professional foot posture evaluation is necessary.
The Wet Footprint Test
Wet your feet and stand on a paper bag or paper towel. Compare the arch shape of your prints with the illustration below. It is worth noting that this footprint test isn’t 100% accurate and that proper foot posture evaluations include a ton of other components.
What Causes High Arched Feet?
In over eighty percent of cases, the condition appears spontaneously and has no discernible causes.
In the other twenty percent, the condition could be as a result of either one of the following reasons:
– A neuromuscular condition – Some conditions affect muscles and nerves bringing about an increase in the height of the arch with the most probable condition being Charcot-Marie-Tooth disease, a disorder that is inherited and which is characterized by loss of touch sensation and progressive muscle tissue.
– Trauma – Severe trauma to the foot like fractures and burns could lead to high arched foot.
– A history of deformities like club foot within the family.
Does Having High Arched Feet Mean Experiencing Pain?
Having high arched feet doesn’t necessarily increase chances of injury and often doesn’t cause any issues.
However, there are people with high arched feet that experience various symptoms, which include instability and pain. These symptoms could develop at any age and usually affect both feet.
Is Treatment Necessary for People Pes Cavus?
In most cases, treatment will be required if the condition is associated with pain in the lower limb or foot. However, if the affected person feels no pain, treatment is not a must; except for severe cases where treatment is necessary to minimize chances of injury in the future.
What Treatment Options Are There?
The goal of treating the pes cavus is to allow patients to run or walk without experiencing any of the symptoms associated with the condition. Doctors or podiatrists try their best to identify any underlying causes and signs that the patient’s condition is progressive.
Non-surgical treatment options include:
– Shoe modifications, often in the form of high topped footwear that offers foot stability
– Orthotic devices that are fitted into shoes to help reduce pressure
– Physical therapy to strengthen weak muscles and stretch tight muscles
If all of the measures mentioned above fail to reduce or control the condition’s symptoms, surgery might be considered. However, it is often only considered when the patient’s condition is progressing faster than usual or is so pronounced that its symptoms no longer respond to conservative treatments.