Cavus Foot

Cavus foot is a condition in which the foot develops an unusually high arch. Because of the high arch, an excessive amount of pressure is placed on different parts of the foot while standing or walking. Cavus foot usually develops slowly during the adolescent years, and may be present in one or both feet.

Causes and Risk Factors

Most commonly, children develop cavus foot due to a nerve or muscle condition such as cerebral palsy, spina bifida, muscular dystrophy, or clubfoot. These conditions cause some muscles to be weaker than others, and unbalanced muscles work unevenly. Cavus foot may also occur due to an injury to the nerves in the leg or spinal cord. Cavus foot may also be caused by an inherited structural abnormality.

Symptoms

The most obvious symptom of cavus foot is a very high arch in the foot, even when standing. Children may also experience the following symptoms:

  • Calluses or blisters on the side, heel, or balls of the feet
  • Bent toes (hammertoes) or flexed toes (claw toes)
  • Pain when walking or standing
  • Unstable feet due to the heel tilting inward, which can lead to frequent ankle sprains

Treatment

The first step of treating cavus foot is to determine the underlying cause. If cavus foot is linked to a neurological or muscular condition, it will likely worsen over time. In the very early stages or with mild cases of cavus foot, surgery may not be necessary. Non-surgical treatment options include:

  • Shoe inserts, such as arch supports
  • Shoe modifications
  • Bracing

If conservative treatment does not relieve pain and improve stability, your pediatric orthopedic surgeon may recommend surgery.