Arch Disorders - Cavus Foot

What is Cavus Foot? 

Cavus foot is an arch disorder where the foot has a very high arch. The excessive arch causes the ball and heel of the foot to protrude further than the rest of the foot causing an excessive amount of pressure when walking or standing. Cavus foot is a condition which can cause a variety of signs and symptoms while occurring at any age in one or both feet. 


Cavus foot is generally caused by a neurologic condition, such as muscular dystrophy, cerebral palsy, spina bifida, polio, Charcot-Marie-Tooth disease or stroke. In other cases, the cavus foot may come from an inherited structural deformity. Proper diagnosis is crucial with cavus foot because it will determine the future course and help determine the best course for treatment. When occurring from a neurologic condition it will likely progress and worsen, but when caused by a structural deformity it will like not change in appearance. 




The arch of cavus foot will be present when sitting or standing and the following symptoms may also occur: 

• Hammertoes or claw toes

• Calluses on the ball, side, or heel of the foot

• An unstable foot from heel tilting inward, leading to ankle sprains

• Pain when walking or standing 


Foot drop can occur in someone with cavus foot due to weakness in the muscles of the foot which results in dragging the foot when stepping. This usually will be a sign of an underlying neurologic condition. 

To diagnose cavus foot a review of the patients family history must be done. The foot will be examined by a foot and ankle surgeon for high-arch, hammer and claw toes, and potential muscle weakness. The patients gait, or walking, pattern will be observed as well. If a neurologic condition appears to be present then the doctor may examine the entire limb and an analysis of shoe wear pattern may be done as well.


In certain cases, an x-ray may be done and the patient may need to be referred to a neurologist for evaluation.


Nonsurgical Treatment

Nonsurgical treatment can include any or all of the following:

Orthotic Devices - Custom orthotics can provide specific cushioning and support which can be very helpful.

• Shoe Modification - High-top shoes can support the ankle and shoes with wider heels can support extra stability 

• Bracing - Bracing may be used to help stabilize the foot and ankle or to manage foot drop.


Surgical Treatment

When nonsurgical treatment does not help with pain and stability surgery may be necessary for effective treatment. Surgery would be needed to decrease pain, increase stability, or compensate for weakness in the foot. The surgery will be chosen specifically for the patient based on the exact problems in their case. When a neurologic condition is involved continual surgeries may be needed for future progression of the condition.

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Highland Podiatry Associates, Highland Heights, OH & Sagamore Hills, OH

Cleveland Podiatry | Podiatrist in Cleveland | Cleveland Foot Doctor


previously the office of Daniel Cavolo, DPM


Phone (appointments): (440) 473-0550

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Address: 850 Brainard Rd, Highland Heights, OH 44143  |  Address: 885 W Aurora Rd, Bldg 2, Ste 4, Sagamore Hills, OH 44067


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