You’ve been told your whole life you have a high-arched foot and that’s why you have trouble fitting shoes. What you have in medical terms is a cavus foot type. For many people, this is just the way God made them, and they inherited it from someone in their family (Yes, you can blame Grandma). For others, their cavus foot developed as a result of an accident, neurological problem, or medical condition like multiple sclerosis, polio, or Charcot-Marie-Tooth (that’s a mouthful). A cavus foot type puts an excessive amount of weight on your heel and the ball of your foot when standing. This leads to pain and instability.
Cavus feet can be static (not changing) or progressive (getting worse over time). Symptoms associated with a cavus foot are usually a very high arch (one you can drive a truck under), hammertoes or claw-like toes, chronic calluses on the ball of your foot and sometimes the heel, pain, instability, trouble fitting shoes due to a high instep and often, chronic ankle sprains.
Diagnosis of a cavus foot should include a review of your family history and development, x-rays, neurological testing, and gait analysis. Often, a neurology consultation is required to assess for an underlying undiagnosed neurological disorder.
Treatment of a cavus foot type depends greatly on the underlying cause. It can include shoe gear modification, an orthotic device to control the abnormal biomechanics, padding, callus care, bracing, and surgery.
When is surgery needed for a cavus foot? If you have pain every day, in every pair of shoes you own (including your athletic shoes), you feel extremely unstable when walking and occasionally fall and you have treated your condition with conservative therapy without any relief; it’s time to discuss reconstructive surgery. Surgery should never be contemplated without pain and activity limitations. This is not just to get into those shoes you like! There are many advances in foot surgery and varied procedures depending on your foot type, the stage of your deformity, your activity level, your medical history, and your age. Make an appointment to discuss surgery with your podiatrist if you have progressing symptoms. If conservative treatment fails, surgery can successfully control the deformity in most cases, allowing you to go back to your normal activities. Call or contact us on the website for an appointment today to get your questions answers. Don’t live with the pain and instability for one more day. There are answers to a cavus foot type.