Cavus Foot Deformity

There are many different foot types that exist. Those that seem to have a higher arch are said to have a cavus foot type. Another term you may hear this condition called is Pes Cavus. It is important to remember that some people with a high arched foot have no problems at all.

Symptoms of a cavus foot type are higher arch than normal while standing. Sometimes the heel is seen to be angled inward as well as the toes appearing to be drawn inward. People with a cavus foot type also sometimes develop clawtoes as the toes will be curled up like claws. Frequent ankle sprains may also occur as the foot has a tendancy to roll over on the outside of the ankle with a higher arch. Conditions such as plantarflexed metatarsals, Haglund’s deformity, and equinus may co-exist. A person with a cavus foot type typically is unable to stand as long as a normal foot structure as it does not have a good shock absorption mechanism. Some problems may be unnoticed until the person takes up heavier levels of activity, like running. In other extreme cases the deformity may not be well suited to the shoes your wearing and cause an ulcer. This is a strong reason to consult a podiatrist.

Causes of a cavus foot type probably have some heredity origins making you more prone to have this type of foot. Ask your parents and siblings and see what kind of foot structure they have as well. There are multiple reasons this foot structure may cause symptoms to exist, most dealing with an imbalance of foot and leg muscles. Some neuromuscular diseases, such as Spina Bifida or muscular dystrophy can make one prone to a cavus foot type as the muscle become weaker. Having a weak calf muscle or a tight calf muscle can cause a cavus foot depending on the biomechanics involved.

Prevention The best prevention may be to get advice from your podiatrist. Treatment for a cavus foot type is always easier when signs and symptoms are first noticed as the foot is more flexible. Over time the foot structure will become more rigid as the foot and muscles adapt to its position. If you do have a noticibly high arched foot with standing then a stretching exercise routine maybe advisable to keep the muscle tone strong preventing further problems.

Podiatric Care is usually very conservative at first with a modification in shoes or making orthotics. X-rays are commonly taken to evaluate the internal bone structure of your foot. If other neuromuscular causes are suspected of causing the foot deformity your podiatrist may refer you to a specialist to test the nerves or muscles.

Surgery may be needed. If the patient is a child sometimes the condition can be treated by releasing the tight structures causing the muscle imbalance. In other cases the tendons may need transferred or surgical reconstruction of the joints and bones needed. If the foot has become rigid there may be procedures called calcaneal or metatarsal osteotomies performed to help re-align the foot. These types of procedures are aimed at providing functional control and pain relief, not for cosmetic appearance.

Post-operative Care and Risks are varied as much as the different procedures that may be performed on the cavus foot.