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    High arch

    Pes cavus; High foot arch

    High arch is an arch that is raised more than normal. The arch runs from the toes to the heel on the bottom of the foot. It is also called pes cavus.

    High arch is the opposite of flat feet.

    Causes

    High foot arches are much less common than flat feet. They are more likely to be caused by a bone (orthopedic) or nerve (neurological) condition.

    Unlike flat feet, highly arched feet tend to be painful because more stress is placed on the section of the foot between the ankle and toes (metatarsals). This condition can make it difficult to fit into shoes. People who have high arches usually need foot support. A high arch may cause disability.

    Symptoms

    • Shortened foot length
    • Difficulty fitting shoes
    • Foot pain with walking, standing, and running (not everyone has this symptom)

    Exams and Tests

    When the person stands on the foot, the instep looks hollow and most of the weight is on the back and balls of the foot (metatarsals head).

    Your health care provider will check to see if the high arch is flexible, meaning it can be moved around.

    Tests that may be done include:

    • Electromyography
    • MRI of the spine
    • Nerve conduction studies
    • X-ray of the feet
    • X-ray of the spine

    Treatment

    High arches -- especially ones that are flexible or well cared for -- may not need any treatment.

    Corrective shoes may help relieve pain and improve walking. This includes changes to the shoes, such as an arch insert and a support insole.

    Surgery to flatten the foot is sometimes needed in severe cases. Any nerve problems that exist must be treated by specialists.

    Outlook (Prognosis)

    The outlook depends on the condition causing high arches. In mild cases, wearing appropriate shoes and arch supports may provide relief.

    Possible Complications

    • Chronic pain
    • Difficulty walking

    When to Contact a Medical Professional

    Call your health care provider if you suspect you are having foot pain related to high arches.

    Prevention

    People with highly arched feet should be checked for nerve and bone conditions. Identifying these other conditions may help prevent or reduce arch problems.

    References

    Hosalkar HS, Spiegel DA, Davidson RS. Cavus Feet. In: Kliegman RM,Behrman RE, Jenson HB, Stanton BF, eds.Nelson Textbookof Pediatrics. 19th ed. Philadelphia, Pa: Saunders Elsevier; 2011:chap 666.7.

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                Review Date: 11/12/2012

                Reviewed By: Neil K. Kaneshiro, MD, MHA, Clinical Assistant Professor of Pediatrics, University of Washington School of Medicine. Also reviewed by A.D.A.M. Health Solutions, Ebix, Inc., Editorial Team: David Zieve, MD, MHA, David R. Eltz, Stephanie Slon, and Nissi Wang.

                The information provided herein should not be used during any medical emergency or for the diagnosis or treatment of any medical condition. A licensed medical professional should be consulted for diagnosis and treatment of any and all medical conditions. Links to other sites are provided for information only -- they do not constitute endorsements of those other sites. © 1997- A.D.A.M., Inc. Any duplication or distribution of the information contained herein is strictly prohibited.
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