Imagine trying to build a house out of cards. You have to get the angle between the leaning cards just right for them to stand up. If the angle is too low and flat, the cards fall down. If the angle is too sharp and high, they aren’t stable. You can have a similar problem in your arches. Your midfoot has to curve just right to efficiently distribute your body weight and absorb the shock of your footsteps. Conditions like cavus foot can make normal walking uncomfortable.
The Problem with a Sky-High Arch
Cavus foot is a problem with excessively high arches. This directs most of your body weight on to your heels and the ball of your foot, rather than distributing the pressure evenly over your entire foot. Over time, this can create painful problems in both your forefoot and your heel. You’ll be more prone to metatarsalgia, claw toes, calluses, and pain when you stand or walk. You may have trouble fitting into some shoes. Sometimes the foot tilts to one side, too, which destabilizes the limb and may increase the odds of spraining your ankle.
Cavus foot can be a natural foot shape that you’re born with, but frequently it’s the result of a neurological disorder. Cerebral palsy, Charcot Marie Tooth disease, polio, muscular dystrophy, and spina bifida are all conditions that may cause your arches to develop higher than normal. Arches that are naturally high are static—they stay the way they are and generally don’t get worse. Midfoot problems from nervous issues, however, tend to be progressive.
Managing Your Midfoot
Diagnosing your arch issues and their source accurately is important to be able to treat the problem. Dr. Darren Silvester and our staff will use a variety of tests to determine whether or not high arches are behind your foot pain, and if an underlying issue led to midfoot changes. Any neurological problems will have to be treated first to truly manage the discomfort and foot instability. Then we can help you relieve your limb pain.
You’ll need footwear that can help support and stabilize the lower limbs. This will mean wearing the right shoes, and possibly custom orthotics, to accommodate your arch shape. Avoid super flat shoes or styles with raised heels. Instead, wear footwear with a wide base for better stability, and make sure it has the right amount of cushioning under the arch. This helps absorb some of the shock of your steps. Orthotics can supplement your shoes, too. In some cases, you may need a brace to stabilize your lower limbs.
Next Steps If Pain Does Not Subside
If conservative measures are not enough to relieve your pain, you may need surgery. A procedure can correct bony deformities and tighten unstable ankles. Sometimes restructuring the arch so it is flatter makes a difference for your discomfort. Transferring tendons to stabilize the limb, or releasing over-tightened tissues, may help even out the joint as well. Any extra deformities that have developed, like claw toes, will also be corrected during the procedure if needed.
Cavus foot is much less common that flatfoot, but it can cause more pain and trouble walking—particularly if it’s connected to a neurological problem. If you have high arches that are getting worse, or have simply become more painful, don’t wait to have them examined. Contact Dr. Darren Silvester and our team at Next Step Foot & Ankle Clinic in Pleasanton, TX. You can reach our office by calling (830) 569-3338 or using our website contact form.