Cavus Foot (High-Arched Foot)

What is Cavus Foot (High-Arched Foot)

Cavus Foot Definition

A cavus foot describes a foot with an excessively high arch. This term can be combined with other medical terms that may further elaborate on the foot shape. A cavus foot type can sometimes be problematic as it causes a person to walk more on the outside of the foot and may lead to pain, stress fractures, ligament and tendon damage, or arthritis.

Cavus Foot Symptoms and Anatomy

In a normal foot, the heel pad should not be visible from the front.In a cavus foot, the heel bone (calcaneus) is inverted towards the other foot and the heel pad is visible from the front.The first metatarsal may be pushed down too far (plantarflexed) and there may clawing of the toes. This complex shape of the foot is often caused by a muscle imbalance.

Often, a person may not experience any pain or obvious difficulties because of their cavus foot. However, he or she may have a history of multiple ankle sprains or easily rolling the ankle. With time, a person may develop more pain on the outside of the foot and ankle from tendon injury or stress fractures. Muscle imbalance leads to more deformity including clawing of the toes and foot drop.

Cavus Foot Treatment Options

Initial nonoperative treatment often includes orthotics to help improve alignment and physical therapy for strengthening and balance.Bracing may help with ankle instability and weakness.A period of immobilization in a boot or cast for stress fractures and pain relief may be helpful.

Surgery is warranted for progressive deformity and incomplete relief of pain and function with nonoperative treatment.Surgical treatment often requires multiple procedures depending on the severity of the deformity and associated problems.These include bony procedures such as osteotomies (cutting and realigning of the bone), fusion of 2 bones and or treatment of the stress fracture.Soft tissue procedures include ligament repair, tendon transfers, and soft tissue releases for muscle or plantar fascia tightness.