High Arched Feet
A high arched foot (also called a cavus foot or supinated foot type) is the opposite of a flat foot. A distinct highly curved arch is seen along the inside of the foot. This foot type tends to be rigid in nature and does not absorb impact forces from the ground very well. This is due to the foot failing to roll in adequately just after the heel strikes the ground during gait.
Ideally with each step the foot should have a balance of motion between the foot rolling in and out, with a smooth transition between the two. With a higher arched foot that has more rigidity the forces from the foot contacting the ground can reverberate up the leg. When the foot does not absorb shock effectively and transition through to a more flexible phase, symptoms such as shin, knee, heel and back pain are commonly seen.
Causes of high arched feet
- The structural alignment of the bones in the foot is hereditary
- Some neuromuscular diseases such as Charcot Marie Tooth
- Excessive alcohol consumption causing nerve changes
- Peripheral Neuropathies
- Nerve changes as a result of Diabetes
Tell-tale signs of a high arched foot
- Clawed and gripping toes
- Hard skin or callus under the ball of the foot
- An arch that remains high with each step
A high arched foot with gripping toes
Common problems associated with high arches
- Heel pain and plantar fasciitis
- Midfoot pain
- Shin splints
- Forefoot pain (neuromas, bursitis)
- Knee pain
- Low back pain
How can we treat them?
- Custom flexible orthotics to control the mechanics of the foot while walking, placing the foot in a better functional position which allows it to more easily absorb shock and adapt to uneven terrain
- Footwear Advice with greater cushioning is advised
- Stretching of tight muscle groups to effectively relieve symptoms
- Foot mobilisation therapy to loosen restricted joint mobility
- Foot and leg strengthening
- Load management
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