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Cavus (High Arch) Feet

Cavus foot is a condition involving an abnormally high arch in the foot. When walking or standing, this condition places more weight than normal on the ball and heel of your foot, causing pain and instability, among other symptoms. Cavus foot equally affects individuals of all ages, from all backgrounds, and can appear in either or both of your feet. High-arched feet are less common than flat feet but are more likely to cause pain and other problems.

Cavus foot commonly occurs as a result of an underlying medical or neurological condition, such as polio, muscular dystrophy or cerebral palsy. Cavus foot may also occur as a result of congenital defects. They may be inherited from a parent, or they may result from an orthopedic condition or a disease of the nerves or muscles.

Cavus foot is typically identified by a high arch that is noticeable when standing. Additional symptoms may include hammertoes, claw toes, foot instability, pain when walking or standing or calluses on the heel, ball or side of the foot. In some cases, individuals with cavus foot may also suffer from foot drop, which causes those affected to drag their feet when walking. As compared to a normally arched foot, high arches cause more pressure to be put on the metatarsals (the bones of the forefoot). Over time, this can result in pain, weakness and fatigue in the feet. High arches also shorten the feet, potentially making it difficult for a person to find shoes that fit. People with high arches may need special orthopedic shoes or inserts for support.

To diagnose cavus foot, your doctor will examine your foot and review your medical history. In most cases, your foot will undergo muscle testing and your walking pattern will be evaluated. To provide a more accurate diagnosis, x-rays may also be done in certain cases.

Treatment for cavus foot varies depending on the severity of your condition. Mild cases of cavus foot can often be remedied with foot and ankle bracing, custom-made orthotics or wearing more comfortable shoes. If your condition remains unresponsive to the aforementioned treatment methods, surgical treatment may be necessary. Surgery for cavus foot aims to relieve pain and improve stability.

Cavovarus Foot Deformity

A cavovarus foot deformity usually appears during childhood.  The arch is very high and the heel slants inward.  Both feet are often affected and the misalignment gradually worsens over time.  Pain, calluses, ankle sprains and stress fractures are all common results of cavovarus foot deformity.  The condition may be a sign of a neurological disorder or Charcot-Marie Tooth disease, both of which can affect the nerves and weaken the muscles of the feet.

Initially, if the cavovarus foot deformity is mild, the recommended treatment is typically orthotics to redistribute weight and pressure on the foot.  However, most cases of cavovarus foot deformity eventually require surgical correction.  The surgical technique chosen varies depending on the severity of the case and the age of the child, but often an osteotomy is performed to reposition the bones of the foot and realign the tendons and ligaments.

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