It is easy not to give them much thought, but the foot arches play an important role in how our feet function and are able to stay safe and healthy. To perform their respective functions at an optimal level, foot arches are ideally a moderate height. When they are high (a condition known as cavus foot), there can be associated problems and you may need to come see us at Richardson Podiatry Associates for treatment.
When Arches are Too High
Foot arches are responsible for stabilizing the body, promoting even force-load distribution, and helping you adapt to sloping or uneven surfaces. They are instrumental for a biomechanical process that is performed with every step—pronation. This is a slight rolling motion that the foot goes through to ensure that forces are equitably shared across the foot.
When arches are either too high or too low, they affect the normal pronation pattern. In the case of high arches, feet do not roll inwards nearly enough. This biomechanical abnormality (supination) places excessive pressure on the outer edge of the foot.
Recognizing High Arches
There are a couple of different ways to identify if this is the issue that is causing problems:
- Symptoms. In all likelihood, the reason you become aware of this condition is because you experience certain symptoms. These include pain while walking (or even just standing), instability and frequent ankle sprains, claw toes or hammertoes, and abnormal callusing on the heel, ball, or outer edge of the foot.
- Shoe wear. With the supination that comes with high foot arches, there is a particular wear pattern on the bottom of shoes that can illuminate this issue. Foot arches of moderate height will often result in a fairly even distribution of wear on the soles. When the outer edges are heavily worn down, it is often an indication of high arches.
- The “wet test.” You can distinguish your particular arch style by examining footprints. One way to do this is to simply wet the bottom of a foot and step on either dry pavement or a folded brown paper bag. If the resulting footprint shows heel and ball of foot areas connected by a thin line, or even no connection at all, you have high arches.
Of course, you can always come to see us here at Richardson Podiatry Associates and we can let you know if your arches are “normal” or too high or low. We can also perform a gait analysis to identify any biomechanical problems for you.
Treating High Foot Arches
Our goal for cavus foot treatment (as is always the case at Richardson Podiatry Associates) is to use conservative care measures to relieve painful symptoms and restore proper functionality. This may be achieved through such options as:
- Shoe modifications. Individuals with high arches can benefit from high-topped shoes, since they better support the ankles. Footwear that features wider heels also offer improved stability.
- Orthotic devices. We can prepare custom orthotics that will provide stability and cushioning and work with your unique foot structure and gait pattern.
- Bracing. This option is useful for managing foot drop (an associated condition) or simply keeping the foot and ankle stable.
When Surgery is Needed
Most cases of high, rigid foot arches can be successfully treated with nonsurgical methods, but there are rare instances where surgery is necessary to increase foot stability, relive pain, and compensate for any weakness in the feet. This may be either a single procedure or a combination of procedures, depending entirely upon the patient’s unique case. If this is the treatment option we recommend, we will discuss it beforehand, including everything you need to know from pre-surgery prep to recovery times.
Comprehensive Foot Care in Richardson, TX
Remember, our Richardson, TX podiatrist office is here for all of your foot and ankle needs, including issues that stem from cavus foot. Call us at (972) 690-5374 for more information or to have any questions answered by our friendly staff. You can take advantage of our online form to schedule an appointment today as well.