High Arch Foot ( pes cavus)

Cavus foot ( high arch foot) is a condition in which the foot has a very high arch. The high-arched foot places an excessive amount of weight on the ball and heel of the foot when walking or standing. Cavus foot can lead to a variety of signs and symptoms, such as pain and instability. It can develop at any age and is genetic in nature. Cavus foot is often caused by a neurologic disorder or other medical condition, 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 neurologic disorder or other medical condition, it is likely to progressively worsen. On the other hand, cases of cavus foot that do not result from neurologic 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.


X-rays are sometimes ordered to further assess the condition.

In addition, the surgeon may refer the patient to a neurologist for a complete neurologic evaluation. Custom orthotic devices that fit into the shoe can be beneficial because they provide stability and cushioning to the foot. Some patients will require a brace to help keep the foot and ankle stable.