Cavus foot is a condition in which the foot has a very high arch. An excessive amount of weight is placed on the ball and heel of the foot when walking or standing. It can lead to a variety of signs and symptoms, such as pain and instability. It can develop at any age, and can occur in one or both feet.
Cavus foot is often caused by a neurological disorder or other medical conditions such as cerebral palsy, Charcot-Marie-Tooth disease, spina bifida, polio, muscular dystrophy, or stroke.
An accurate diagnosis is important because the underlying cause of cavus foot largely determines its future course. If the high arch is due to a neurological disorder or another medical condition, it is likely to progressively worsen and you should consult your neurologist. On the other hand, cases of cavus foot that do not result from neurological disorders usually do not change in appearance.
The arch of a cavus foot will appear high even when standing. In addition, one or more of the following symptoms may be present:
- Hammertoes (bent toes) or claw toes (toes clenched like a fist)
- Calluses on the ball, side, or heel of the foot
- Pain when standing or walking
- An unstable foot due to the heel tilting inward, which can lead to ankle sprains
- Some people with cavus foot may also experience foot drop, a weakness of the muscles in the foot and ankle that results in dragging the foot when taking a step. Foot drop is usually a sign of an underlying neurological condition.
- Lower back pain
Custom made orthotics can be beneficial because they provide stability, cushioning to the foot and can relieve pressure as long as they are prescribed according to the cause of the problem.
If custom made orthotics fail to adequately relieve pain and improve stability, surgery may be needed.