Cavus Foot (High Arched Foot)

Cavus foot is a condition in which the foot has a very high arch. This can lead to a variety of other symptoms and can develop at any age. Cavus foot can create pain and instability, due to the excessive amount of weight that is placed on the ball and heel of the foot when walking or standing.


Cavus foot is often caused by a neurologic disorder or other medical conditions. The high arch may also occur due to an inherited structural abnormality. If the high arch is due to a neurologic disorder, it is likely to progressively worsen. On the other hand, if it does not result from neurologic disorders, it usually does not change in appearance.


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. Foot drop is usually a sign of an underlying neurologic condition.

Potential Treatments

An accurate diagnosis is important because the underlying cause of cavus foot largely determines its future course. The foot is tested for muscle strength, and your walking pattern and coordination are observed. If nonsurgical treatment fails to adequately relieve pain and improve stability, your doctor will choose the best surgical procedure or combination of procedures based on your individual case.

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