You may not realize it, but foot arches have a key role in how your feet are able to function and stay safe and healthy. In order to function at an optimal level, foot arches are ideally a moderate height and not too high or low. When arches are high (a condition known as cavus foot), you may experience some common associated problems, and you may benefit from treatment at Houston Foot Specialists.
Foot arches are necessary for stabilizing the body, promoting equitable force load distribution through the feet, and helping you adapt to uneven surfaces. They are also involved in a biomechanical process that is completed with every steppronation. This is a slight, but important, rolling motion that the foot performs to ensure that forces are evenly shared.
When arches are either too low or too high, they have an effect on normal pronation pattern. In the case of high arches, feet do not roll inwards enough. This is called supination and is a biomechanical abnormality that places excessive pressure on the outer edges of the feet.
Recognizing Cavus Foot
There are a couple of ways to tell if this is causing you problems:
- Symptoms. Patients usually become aware of this condition because they experience certain symptoms. These include instability and frequent ankle sprains, pain while walking (or even standing), hammertoes or claw toes, and abnormal callusing on the ball, heel, or outer edge of the foot.
- Shoe wear. The supination that happens as a result of high arches will usually lead to a particular wear pattern that can be observed on the bottom of shoes. Foot arches that are of moderate height typically lead to a reasonably even distribution of wear on the soles of ones shoes. When outer edges are observed to be heavily worn down, it often means that an individual has high foot arches.
- The wet test. People can distinguish any of the particular arch styles by examining footprints. An easy way to do this is to wet the bottom of a foot and then take a normal step onto either a folded brown paper bag or dry pavement. If the footprint that is left shows heel and ball of foot areas connected only by a thin line, or sometimes even no connection at all, it is an indication of high arches.
Of course, you can always make an appointment at Houston Foot Specialists and we will let you know your arch style. We can also perform a gait analysis to identify any biomechanical problems.
Treating High Foot Arches
The goal for cavus foot treatment is to use conservative (nonsurgical) care methods to restore proper functionality and relieve painful symptoms. This can be achieved through options like:
- Shoe modifications. You may benefit from high-topped shoes, since they are better at supporting your ankles. Footwear that has wide heels also offer improved stability.
- Orthotic devices. We can prepare custom orthotics that will improve force distribution, provide extra cushioning and stability, and work with your unique foot structure and gait pattern.
- Bracing. This option is useful for both managing foot drop (an associated condition) and improving foot and ankle stability.
When Surgery is Needed
Although most cases of high, rigid foot arches are treated successfully with conservative care methods, there are rare instances when surgery is a necessary option. We may recommend a surgical procedure to relieve severe pain, improve foot stability, and compensate for any existing foot weakness. If this is the treatment option we recommend, we will discuss it together so you understand what is entailed with the entire procedure.
Arch Pain Treatment in Houston, TX
Cavus foot can cause painful symptoms and have an adverse effect on pronation patterns, but our Houston, TX podiatrist office can help. We will provide the treatment you need to correct supination and alleviate symptoms that come from having high foot arches. Schedule your appointment with Houston Foot Specialists online today, or simply give us call at (713) 467-8886 if you have any questions or would like additional information.