Cavus Foot (High Arched Foot) Signs, Symptoms and Tratment

What is Cavus Foot?

Cavus foot is also known as Pes Cavus.  Cavus foot is a foot type that consists of a higher than normal arch. The arch, or instep, runs from the base of the toes to the heel. High arched foot construct lowers the foot’s ability to absorb shock and it leads to an excessive amount of pressure being placed on the ball of the foot and heel. Pes cavus is the opposite of pes planus (flat foot). Pes cavus are much less common than flat feet (pes planus).

What are some Causes of Cavus Foot?

There are many causes for pes cavus (High Arch Foot). It may be present as an inherited trait since birth (Genetic) or patient may have an underlying neurological disorder.

Some medical condition which can cause high arches are:

  • Cerebral palsy
  • Charcot-Marie-Tooth disease
  • spina bifida
  • Freidereich’s Ataxia
  • Polio
  • Muscular dystrophy.

The need for a full work up of the underlying cause is necessary since it determines the treatment plan.

In the absence of neurological, congenital or traumatic causes of pes cavus, the remaining cases are classified as being ‘idiopathic’, since their cause is unknown.

Symptoms Associated with Cavus Foot?

  • Higher than normal arch (instep) 
  • Contracture of the toes. (Hammer or claw toes) 
  • Painful callus formation in the ball of the foot 
  • Heel pain and/or pain is the ball of the foot when standing or walking 
  • History of recurrent ankle sprain or feeling that the ankle is unstable 
  • Difficulty fitting in shoes
  • Muscle weakness 


Conservative Treatments of Cavus Foot:

  • Orthotic / shoe insert
  • Callus care and maintenance
  • Ankle brace for unstable ankle
  • Custom bracing (Ankle Foot Orthosis) in cases of neuromuscular disorders


Surgical Treatments of Cavus Foot:

Surgical treatment should be considered after a failed conservative management. The operations can be difficult with long recovery time. The surgical plan may consist of a combination of soft tissue and bone work. A complete evaluation and work-up of the cause of cavus foot will be needed prior to the selection of the surgical plan.

High Arch foot X-ray


High Arch Foot X-ray
High Arch Foot X-ray