• Pod Co Podiatry

High Arches: Not so heaven-sent

We hear a lot about flat feet and how having low or collapsed arches can be a bad thing.  But something we DON’T hear a lot about are the problems that can come from a high-arched foot.   Those of you have higher arched feet can attest to the fact that they can cause just as many problems as low arched feet. 

What is it?

High arched feet or pes cavus describes a foot that is high on the inner arch. It is often related to a family trait, a nerve disorder such as cerebral palsy, or an abnormality from birth.

Why is it a problem?

When someone has a higher than normal arch, the weight-bearing surface area of the foot is reduced: that is, instead of the body weight being evenly distributed throughout the whole foot during walking, the heel and forefoot bear most of the pressure.  

To get an idea of what this might be like, place your hand flat on the table, palm down. That would be a flat foot. Now, keeping your hand in contact with the table, cup your hand. You’ll see how just your fingertips and heel of your hand are touching the table – that is a high arched foot shape.  

You can imagine then how people with high arches can have a lot of callus over the balls of the feet and heels and their feet are often stiff so can get sore quickly.   

It can also be very difficult to get shoes to fit – particularly lace-ups – as the top of the foot can rub and the laces cannot be done up too tightly as this compresses a nerve and makes the toes go numb. 

People with high arches can have problems with neuromas bursitis and plantar plate injuries as well as injuries to the fat pad around the heel.

How can you treat it?

This depends on what symptoms are present, how rigid the foot is and what type of walking issues the person might have.

If someone has a stiff high-arched foot, they will need orthoses that help cushion and increase shock-absorption. If someone comes in with a flexible high-arched foot, they will need very different orthoses to help stabilize and improve foot function. And those with thick hard callus over the balls of the feet will need regular care from their podiatrist to remove it.

As you can see, high-arched feet can be just as complicated as flat feet!

If you have a problem with high-arched feet or know someone who does, let him or her know that help is available at Pod Co Podiatry.