High arch feet may be genetic, or they may be caused by a number of underlying conditions. People with high arches may experience pain, and in some cases, permanent damage to their foot structure. There are several treatments available, including orthotics, splints, physical therapy and surgery.
The arch of your foot is the area between your heel and the ball of your foot. Some people have higher arches than usual. People with high arch feet may experience problems, which can range from occasional discomfort to permanent skeletal issues. This condition is medically known as cavus foot deformity.
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A simple way to tell if you have high arches is to wet your feet and stand on a safe surface, such as concrete or a piece of paper. After you move your feet, look at the imprint left behind. People with high arches will only see an imprint of their heel and the front of their foot with nothing in between.
Of course, the only surefire way to know if you have high arches is to schedule a consultation with your healthcare provider. They can run some tests to determine the severity of your condition.
A normal arch is raised slightly off of the ground when a person is standing. People with high arches have much more space between the floor and their arch.
High arch feet are less common than flat feet. It’s been estimated that about 20% of the population has high arch feet.
High arches result in more stress on the feet, which can lead to painful symptoms. People with high arches often have trouble finding shoes that fit properly. The condition can lead to disability in some cases.
There are several conditions that can develop as a result of high arch feet. Some of the most common include:
Many people are born with high arches, so genetics is certainly a factor. However, in other cases, high arch feet are a symptom of another condition, such as:
Cavus foot symptoms include:
There are several treatment options available for people with high arches. What’s best for you depends on a few different factors, including the flexibility of your feet. Treatment for cavus foot includes:
Like any surgical procedure, there are possible complications following cavus foot surgery. These risks include:
Cavus foot surgery recovery can take as long as eight to 12 weeks. You’ll need to avoid putting weight on your feet for at least six weeks after the procedure. Healing times can vary significantly for each person, so ask your healthcare provider what to expect.
Because high arch feet are either genetic or caused by an underlying condition, there really isn’t a way to prevent the problem from occurring. However, high arch pain can be successfully managed with proper monitoring and treatment.
People with high arch feet may have short-term or long-term pain. Generally speaking, if high arches are due to a neurological problem, pain is likely to worsen over time. If they’re due to genetics, your condition is likely to stay about the same.
If you think you may have unusually high arches, make an appointment with your healthcare provider. They can help determine the root cause of the problem and design a personalized treatment plan to meet your needs.
Pronation refers to the natural rolling movement of your foot when walking or running. High arches usually cause underpronation (when your foot rolls outward, placing pressure on the outer toes). People with overpronation (when your foot rolls inward) typically have flat feet.
Charcot-Marie-Tooth (CMT) disease is an inherited disorder that causes smaller, weaker muscles. High arch feet are common among people with this disorder.
In order to work properly, the leg muscles must be balanced. In people with CMT, the outer calf muscles no longer provide opposition for the tibial muscles in the front part of your shin. As a result, the tibial muscles work overtime and pull the arch of the foot upward.
A note from Cleveland Clinic
High arch feet can cause mild or severe pain that may be short-term or chronic. If you think you may have high arches that are interfering with your quality of life, talk to your healthcare provider. There are many conservative treatment options available that can alleviate your pain and help you return to normal function.
Last reviewed by a Cleveland Clinic medical professional on 08/23/2021.
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