High arches (also known as “Cavus foot” or “Pes Cavus”) is a condition where – as the name implies – the arch in the middle of the foot is abnormally high. It is less common than flat foot, although it can still lead to foot pain and an array of other foot disorders and deformities. It is estimated that approximately 20% of the population has high arches, although not all cases will cause issues or symptoms.
When arches are abnormally high, it disrupts the foot’s biomechanics by impeding the arch’s ability to properly support our body weight and absorb the force of our movement. The load is then displaced onto the ball and heel of the foot. When the biomechanics in our feet are off, it also puts excessive strain on the ankles and lower leg.
Not only can high arches can lead to foot pain and discomfort, they also can cause or contribute to other foot conditions, such as:
A chiropodist (foot specialist) can help manage and correct the biomechanical abnormalities resulting from high arches. A foot specialist can also treat any resulting foot conditions or deformities.
Abnormally high arches can negatively affect your foot mechanics. This can cause symptoms such as:
Your feet have three arches:
These arches comprise a complex structure of bones, ligaments, muscles and tendons that allow your feet to support your entire body weight when upright. While walking or running, your arches not only keep you upright, but also have the job of absorbing the force, or “shock”, exerted on your feet when they make contact with the ground and propel you forward.
Since [Force] = [Mass] x [Acceleration], the force exerted on your body is higher during movement than when standing still. This means that every time you take a step or stride, the arches have to support up to seven times your body weight. Over the course of a day, that can total hundreds or thousands of tonnes being transported by your arches.
If you have abnormally high arches, almost all this force will instead be absorbed by the ball of the foot and heel, which puts immense stress on your ankles and lower leg. This stress can lead to various foot deformities. The body’s attempts to compensate for these issues triggers a domino effect of pain and symptoms in our feet that ultimately affect other parts of the body.
High arches can be caused by:
Muscle weakness from neurological or neuromuscular diseases can cause high arches to develop over time: The muscle weakness and nerve damage may lead to muscle atrophy. Excess pressure is then put on other parts of the foot in order to compensate. This can change the shape and structure of the bones and ligaments in the foot, leading to high arches. About half of neuromuscular-related cases of high arches are caused by a disease called Charcot-Mari-Tooth disease (CMT).
Treatment for pain and complications resulting from high arches may include:
The foot specialists at our foot clinic can perform a biomechanical assessment, help you find a treatment plan, and make footwear recommendations for your high arches.
To schedule a foot assessment with our licensed chiropodists, use the booking form below or call 416-769-FEET(3338).
Certain risk factors may increase your chances of getting a high arch foot:
Whether high arches can be prevented depends on the underlying cause:
Some factors, such as inherited structural abnormalities in the foot, cannot be controlled or prevented. Various neuromuscular or neurological diseases that lead to high arches may also not be preventable.
Fortunately, the progression and extent of high arches can be prevented or offset by proactive treatment. This includes footwear and ergonomic aids that support healthy biomechanics and weight distribution in the foot, combined with strengthening exercises for the feet (see Treatment above).
It used to be believed that the effects of nerve death from neurological disease was categorically untreatable or inevitable; we now know this to be a myth because the body can build building new neural pathways through repetition. This phenomenon is called neuroplasticity, and it can be used to manage and control musculoskeletal conditions resulting from neurological disease. Regular strengthening and stretching of the muscles in the foot area can offset muscle atrophy and build neuroplasticity. This can in turn alleviate neurological-related muscle weakening and atrophy that can lead (or aggravate) high arches.
To see how you can treat and prevent the effects of high arches, use our online booking form below or call us at 416-769-FEET (3338). We’re open 7 days a week. No referral needed!
Our simple to use, online booking process makes it easy to book an appointment with a chiropodist for any of our services. No referral needed!
Emily is the newest addition to the Feet First family. She assists with the clinic’s accounting and finances, as well as all the behind-the-scenes work that keeps the clinic running smoothly. In addition to her accounting smarts, she brings sunshine and positivity to everyone at Feet First Clinic.
Part of our administrative support staff, Erica also works behind the scenes writing and editing content for our website and blog. She loves researching and writing educational content to help patients and anyone dealing with pain. When she’s not busy in the clinic, you’ll find her at her local gym, exploring underground music, hiking with friends, or cheering on her favourite sports teams (Go Jays!). She also loves huskies!
Day in and out, Bianca works hard to ensure Feet First Clinic runs smoothly. Customer service is at the top of her list and she treats every customer like family. Bianca has a passion for fitness and is dedicated to helping people take care of their feet and body. There is no problem that she can’t solve and she believes that where there is a will, there’s a way.
If you’ve been to the clinic before, chances are you had the pleasure of meeting Carolina! Carolina’s daily goal is going above and beyond to make sure patients are always completely satisfied. Having worked in the podiatry industry for 22 years, Carolina brings a wealth of knowledge pertaining to client service, insurance policies, and procedures. She steers the ship to make sure everything runs smoothly on the daily. Carolina is known for spicing up every outfit with her signature costume jewellery.