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Cavus Foot

What is Cavus Foot?

Cavus foot is a condition in which the foot has a very high arch. due to this high arch, an excessive amount of weight is placed on the ball and heel of the foot when walking or standing. Cavus foot can lead to various signs and symptoms, such as pain and instability. It can develop at any age and may occur in one or both feet.

Cavus feet can look different depending on how high the arch is, what is causing the condition and if the condition is causing pain. For some people, the high-arched foot will cause extra pressure on the ball and heel when standing or walking, leading to pain, difficulty in shoe wear, and foot instability (prone to sprains). For others, cavus foot can lead to a severe deformity that leads to the person walking on the outside of their foot.

What causes cavus foot

Often, a cavus foot is an inherited structural problem that has no link to any medical condition. However, in some patients, the cavus foot can be due to neuromuscular diseases that cause muscle contractures that draw the ball of the foot closer to the heel.

Neurologic conditions causing cavus foot deformity include:

  •  Spina bifida
  • Muscular dystrophy
  • Cerebral palsy.
  • Polio.
  • Spinal tumors.
  • Spinal cord injuries.
  • Stroke.
  • Charcot-Marie-Tooth disease (CMT).

What are the symptoms of the cavus foot?

The arch of a cavus foot will appear high even when standing.

While not everyone with cavus feet has symptoms. With time, your metatarsals (the long bones between your ankle and toes) can shift, causing you to become symptomatic. In addition, one or more of the following symptoms may be present:

  • Hammertoes (bent toes) or claw toes (toes clenched like a fist)
  • Pain when standing or walking
  • An unstable foot due to the heel tilting inward can lead to ankle sprains.
  • Callus formation on the ball, heel, or along the outer edge of the foot.
  • Foot pain, mainly when walking, standing, or playing sports.
  • Toes that are bent when standing.
  • Trouble finding shoes that fit well
  • Shortened foot length


The diagnosis of a cavus foot is made by physical exam. 

The doctor at Fulshear Foot and Ankle examines the foot, looking for a high arch and possible calluses, hammertoes, and claw toes. 

The foot is tested for muscle strength, and the walking pattern and coordination of the patient are observed. The entire limb may be examined if a neurologic condition appears.

If you feel pain in your feet and suspect high arches may be to blame, you can perform a simple test at home to find out if you have high arches. You will need water and a piece of sturdy paper or cardboard.

  1. Dip your foot in the water.
  2. Step on the paper or cardboard.
  3. Examine your footprint.

If you mainly see your toes and heel and little or none of the middle part of your foot, chances are you have a cavus foot.

X-rays are sometimes ordered to assess the condition further. In addition, the surgeon may refer the patient to a neurologist for a complete neurologic evaluation.

The following tests are available to see if your arches are high:

  • Foot X-ray
  • Spinal X-ray
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) test of the spine
  • Electromyography
  • Nerve Condition Study

They may also do a genetic test to see if this can be passed on to your child.

How are Cavus Feet managed or treated?

There are several treatment options available for cavus foot. What is best for you depends on a few different factors, including the flexibility of your feet. Treatment for cavus foot includes:

  • Orthotics:– Custom orthotic devices that fit into the shoe can be beneficial because they provide stability and cushioning to the foot.
  • Bracing: You may sometimes recommend bracing your foot and ankle to ease high arch symptoms.
  • Shoe modifications. High-topped shoes support the ankle, and shoes with heels a little wider on the bottom add stability.
  • Icing: If cavus foot causes occasional pain, icing your feet can help reduce discomfort and inflammation. Apply ice to the arches of your feet for about 20 minutes every two to three hours.
  • Night splints: Night splints can help stretch your arches and calf muscles during sleep. This is especially helpful if your cavus foot results in plantar fasciitis.
  • Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) can help ease pain and swelling.
  • Surgery:  If you have cavus foot pain that is not improved with non-surgical treatments, then the doctors at Fulshear foot and ankle may recommend the surgery. During this procedure, your surgeon may alter soft tissue (such as tendons) or remove bone from some regions of the foot. In severe cases, joint fusion may be necessary.

Surgery for cavus foot can include a range of procedures, including:

  • shifting the heel bone back under your foot
  • repositioning the bone leading to your big toe
  • moving the muscles which are turning your feet outwards
  • soft tissue release
  • tendon transfer

Surgery aims to keep your foot in a neutral position, reducing pain and improving mobility and balance.

How can you prevent cavus foot?

Since cavus foot is caused by an underlying condition or genetic, there is no way to prevent the problem from occurring. However, cavus feet can be successfully managed with proper monitoring and treatment.

When should you consult us?

You should visit us at Fulshear foot and ankle if you think you may have unusually high arches or you are having problems like:

  • Balance problems.
  • Difficulty walking, including pain when walking.
  • Bent toes.

Make an appointment with us today. Doctors at Fulshear foot and ankle can help determine the root cause of the problem and design a personalized treatment plan to meet your needs.