High Arch Foot Signs, Symptoms and Treatment

High Arch Foot Overview

High arch 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.  High arch foot is the opposite of pes planus flat foot. High arched feet are much less common than flat feet.

Causes of High Arch Foot

There are many causes for pes cavus (high arched 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 a high arched foot 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 of High Arch 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 treatment of High Arch Foot

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

Surgical treatment of High Arch 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/or bone work. A complete evaluation and work up will be needed prior to the selection of the surgical plan.

X-ray

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