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California Foot & Ankle Institute

High Arches: A Faulty Foundation

Arches have been a part of architectural designs for ages. The vast and sweeping images are often breathtaking. Unfortunately, problems with high arches in your feet can be breathtaking as well, but not for the same reasons! The arch of your foot acts as a shocker absorber with every step. If it is too high, it cannot do its job properly. As a result, a high-arched foot causes an excessive amount of weight to be placed on the ball of your foot as well as your heel. This can lead to pain that has you catching your breath, and that’s where we can help.

Design Flaw

arch painJust as in architecture, arches are a big part of the structural design of our feet. Normally, they distribute weight evenly when we stand or walk, absorbing the impact without much notice. However, in the case of high arches, your midfoot doesn’t make it all the way down to help out, forcing the heel and ball of foot to do all of the work. This can lead to pain and instability, as well as conditions like hammertoes, claw toes, calluses, and sometimes even foot drop—a weakness in the muscles that results in dragging your foot when taking a step. This may be an indicator of another underlying issue, which is why, before you can treat high arch problems, you must determine what is causing them.

Why is it Sky High?

Often times this foot shape, also called cavus foot, is simply caused by an inherited foot structure; however sometimes it can be the result of underlying neurological disorders or medical conditions that must be addressed. In these cases the high arch will get progressively worse, so an accurate diagnosis is extremely important. A look at family history, as well as a thorough examination of your foot, can uncover the origins of your arches. Tests may reveal such conditions as cerebral palsy, spina-bifida, muscular dystrophy, polio, stroke, and Charcot-Marie-Tooth disease.

Blueprint for Treatment

If your high arches are caused by an underlying condition, treatment will be geared toward addressing the root of the problem. However, to ward off further issues, or if structural abnormality just runs in the family, simply changing shoes could do the trick. It can be difficult to find footwear that is comfortable when you have this foot shape, but choosing styles that are high-topped can provide beneficial support, and a pair with wide heels can add stability. Custom orthotic inserts can provide cushion and support exactly where you need it, too. In extreme cases, a surgical procedure may be necessary to lower the arch and relieve pain.

If you have high arches, it is essential to get them checked out. Visit California Foot and Ankle Institute, today. We can determine the cause of your condition and treat it promptly and appropriately. You can make an appointment in Irvine by calling (949) 833-3406; for our Victorville location, dial (760) 951-2000; or you can reach us toll free at (888) 796-6631. Don’t let high arches hamper you. Let us design a treatment program that will rise to the occasion!