The High-Arched Foot
What is Pes Cavus?
Pes Cavus is the condition where the arch of the foot is higher than normal.
What causes Pes Cavus?
Some people are born with higher-than-normal arches, just like others are born with flat feet. This is usually based on genetics. In many patients, however, there is a neurological cause to this condition. Neuromuscular disorders like Charcot-Marie-Tooth, Roussy-Levy and Friedrich's Ataxia are frequently associated with the pes cavus deformity.
What kind of symptoms does Pes Cavus give the patient?
Sometimes the patient may experience no symptoms whatsoever. Many patients do experience problems, however, which may range from routine calluses or sesamoiditis beneath the ball of the foot, to shoe irritation on the top of the foot, to painful, contracted toes (hammertoes, clawtoes), to arch pain and fasciitis, to muscle tightness and fatigue from the muscles' altered function. Over time, the often overly-rigid joints in the cavus foot may cause arthritis and a tendency towards fractures. Knee, hip and low back pain are also common, and in patients where there is a neurological cause, there may be other symptoms around the body.
How is Pes Cavus treated?
In patients who have no symptoms, there may be no treatment required. But when symptoms are present, treatment usually depends upon the types of symptoms present. Padding, taping, anti-inflammatory medications, steroids and other methods may give short-term relief of acute symptoms. Often long-term treatment may be necessary, and this may include orthoses, orthopedic or custom-made shoes to make the deformity more comfortable, or surgery to actually correct the deformity.