Having a pes cavus or high-arched feet can be quite an inconvenient and more often can also be painful when standing or walking and most especially when running. Understanding what a high-arched foot is, its causes, symptoms, and possible treatments will help deal with this foot condition.
This article will help in providing everything you need to know about having a high-arched foot and choosing the best shoes for high arches to help in lessening and even preventing the progress of pain and deformation caused by this condition.
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What is Pes Cavus (High Arched Feet)?
The pes cavus or high instep is a kind of deformity of the foot which has a very high arch and can be relatively stiff. This condition doesn’t fall flat upon weight bearing. It can be medically described as the kind of multi-planar foot deformity that is mostly recognized by the occurrence of a noticeably high arch.
There are two classifications of Pes Cavus, the idiopathic and the congenital form. Eighty percent of most pes cavus cases suffer from the idiopathic form. The people who have this condition will tend to place too much weight and stress on the heel and ball of the foot especially when standing or walking.
Causes of High Arch
Although the exact causes of developing or having a high-arched feet are still unknown, the medical community has three theories on the likely scenarios that can possibly lead to this condition.
The first case is the congenital cause. Some cases of pes cavus or high arch are believed to be derived from the familial history of having this condition. There can also be cases, still under this scenario, where this condition and deformity happen spontaneously.
Another scenario that is believed to be a cause in the development of high arch is the neuromuscular condition. In this condition, pes cavus or the hollowing of the foot is a result of a neuromuscular deformity that affects the muscles and nerves. Some of the neuromuscular conditions that may have caused this is the Charcot–Marie–Tooth disease, Friedreich’s ataxia, muscular dystrophy, cerebral palsy, stroke, or polio.
Trauma is also a case that the medical community believed to cause high-arched feet. A severe foot trauma can cause pes cavus to develop through fractures or burns.
High Arch Symptoms
Common symptoms that are associated with having pes cavus include having pain under the heel and the meads of the metatarsal, repeated footwear issues, and lateral ankle sprains that frequently occur. Other complaints of people that have high-arched feet also include instability, pain, and difficulty in walking and running.
Symptoms can vary depending on the degree of the deformity. However, having foot deformity symptoms such as foot drop, pain in the metatarsal heads, imbalance of the foot region, hammertoes, calluses on the plantar aspect of your foot, pain while walking or standing, stiffness in the foot joints and lower leg, claw toes, and sesamoid pain, it is better to already consult a doctor.
This neuropathic disorders can more often than not accompanied by neuropathic pain. As this progresses, the rigidity and the deformity of the foot can become more severe.
There are also possible signs that are evident in the development of high-arched feet. Your foot shape can be observed when standing to physically determine if you have avery high arch. Abnormal wear when you inspect your shoes can also be a sign of this condition.
However, having all the symptoms stated above doesn’t necessarily mean you definitely have pes cavus. Only a doctor can accurately find out if you are suffering from this condition.
Treatment for High Arch
There are various treatment options for those who are suffering from pes cavus. However, this will depend on the cause and rapidity of the progression of the condition as well as the severity of its symptoms. There can be a choice to pursue a surgical or nonsurgical treatment depending on what the doctor prescribes.
General measures and nonsurgical treatments can ask you to undergo physical therapy to loosen up tight muscles and improved the strength of the weak ones. Splints or appliances may be needed for some cases of pes cavus and a caliper can be given for those who have a severe deformity and a refractory ankle deformity.
The doctor can also prescribe an orthotic pes cavus solution as a nonsurgical treatment. The goal for this type of treatment is to help increase the surface contact area of the plantar region. This is possible by adding fitted orthotic inserts which also helps take the pressure away from the sesamoid bone area in the ball of the foot. Orthotic inserts can also prevent excessive supination to increase lateral ankle stability,which is a common problem for people with high arched feet.
The surgical treatment, on the other hand, is only prescribed when the deformity is very pronounced and symptoms have been unresponsive to the conservative treatments. The surgery aims to correct the deformity, relieve the pain, preserve joint motion as much as possible, and rebalance the muscle forces to prevent the progression of the deformity. The surgical treatment will also depend on the nature of the deformity, and in some cases, several operations are necessary.
Identify Your Arch
The arch type can affect how a foot functions as well as your knees and your back. You are going to need a proper support for your feet, and for this, you need to identify your own arch type. This will help you make sure the right footwear or orthotics to use to avoid possible foot injuries and prevent pain. Foot type can be determined through imprints or iStep scans.
The low arch type of feet or also referred to as a flat foot comprises about 20 percent of the population. This type of arch is more flexible and tends to overpronate and roll inwards. Imprints and iStep scans for the low arched foot can show almost the entire part of the foot. They are often biomechanically imbalanced and also make the feet more vulnerable to various foot problems like arch pain, heel pain, and plantar fasciitis.
About 60 percent of the population have the medium arch type of foot. They are more often biomechanically efficient but can somehow be still at risk for common foot problems such as discomfort on the ball of the foot and heel pain. Imprints and iStep scans for this type of foot will show a well-defined forefoot and rear foot and about half of the arch area. This type of foot can surely benefit from shock absorption, support, and extra cushioning.
The other 20 percent of the population most likely have the high arch type of foot. This type of arch is usually categorized as supinated and can be more rigid compared to other feet. Imprints and iStep scans of a high-arched foot will only show heel and the ball of the foot and with the very little arch area. With a high arch, there is lesser surface area that can absorb the impact, and the pressure is excessively placed on the rearfoot and forefoot areas only,which makes it more susceptible to various foot conditions.
What to Look for When Choosing the Best Shoes for High Arches
Choosing the right shoes for high arches can help in filling in the arch cavity to act as support and evenly disperse the shock. This can provide the necessary cushioning and provide proper alignment of the foot to prevent possible injuries and maintain an active lifestyle.
One of the factors to consider when choosing the best shoes for high arches and supination is the ability to provide a good arch support. The arch supports for high arches help by providing enough support on the arch cavity and evenly distribute stress and pressure especially when walking or running. This can help in managing the pain and inconvenience of having a high-arched foot.
Shoes for higher arches should not be too stiff to effectively support the heavy inward pronation. So, they are designed with more and thicker cushioning that is also another thing to look for in shoes with high arches.
Having a cushion along the outside of the shoes is also a factor that makes good shoes for high-arched feet. They can help counter any outward roll of the foot that can be a result of underpronation.
Another characteristic to look for to effectively choose good shoes for high arches is the shoe shape. The type of shoe that is designed with a curved last can be much better for a high arch. This type of design just allows the foot to pronate slightly to give you a more neutral running experience.
Another shoe shape to consider is the one that is made with a slip last. This type, on the other hand, makes a shoe more flexible and also has additional cushioning. This is created when the upper part of the shoe is sewed into a sock and is fastened in the sole without putting any barriers.
The breathability is also another thing to look for when choosing the best high arch shoes. This can be in the form of the lightweight materials used in making the shoes or the design that can provide a good airflow where you can almost see right through the material. Shoes that offer excellent breathability can be made up of layers that contain mesh and other breathable materials.
This characteristic helps provide an enough airflow and ventilation that can maintain a comfortable walk or run.
If you are going to wear shoes for running especially with a high-arched foot, you need it to be comfortable enough. This will depend on the midsoles and cushion on the shoes. It should be soft to provide comfort in your feet but not so soft that it can no longer support enough.
Another important characteristic on what makes the best shoes for people with high arches is the stability it can provide your feet. This is essential for individuals who have mild to moderate foot condition like overpronators. The stability in shoes can be given by a combination of a good support and a midsole cushioning.
For individuals with high arch and need support shoes with higher arches need them to be lightweight and flexible. The flexibility of the shoes helps to balance the rigidity of the feet and allows for an even distribution of impact for every step.
You can determine the flexibility of shoes when looking if the upper of the shoes is soft enough. The sole of the shoes should also be flexible enough to distribute and soften the stress when walking or running. Testing the flexibility of the shoes can be done by bending it into different directions and see how much flexibility the shoe can offer.
Benefits of High Arch Support Shoes
Having high arch support shoes can be very beneficial to people who suffer from foot problems. This can be a general management in dealing with the most common foot conditions. They can help in temporarily building up the arches and help in lessening the pain to make walking much more comfortable.
Discomfort and pain in having a high-arched foot can be lessened or even prevented with the use of shoes with arch support. This will also help in preventing any more damage and misalignment. The type of shoes with good arch support can create a good foundation for your foot allowing you to adjust the fitness and comfort to help in alleviating foot pain.
This type of shoes can provide balance and support that can also help in improving the posture for individuals who use them. Using shoes with high arch support can be enough to help improve the pain for foot ailments without having to suffer too much.
The pain and inconvenience of having a high-arched foot can be lessened or even prevented from progressing. Choosing the best shoes for high arches with its characteristics such as stability, flexibility, and cushioning can provide the necessary support a high-arched feet needs. This will help in increasing comfort to alleviate the pain and inconvenience this foot condition causes.