Pes Cavus Treatment in Dallas and Frisco

Cavus Foot, High Arches, High Instep, Talipes Foot, Cavoid Foot, Supinated Foot

Did you know that having a very high arch in your feet can actually be considered a deformity? Did you also know that this deformity can cause foot pain and ankle instability? Pes cavus (also called cavus foot) is less common than flat feet. Approximately 10% of the population has a cavus foot deformity, while flat feet occur in around 30% of the population. At first glance, having high arches might not seem like a problem. However, in severe cases, these painful foot deformities can greatly affect someone’s gait.

At SPORT Orthopedics + Physical Therapy, we have extensive experience handling various foot and ankle conditions, including the following.

Generally, a cavus foot deformity is identified and remedied within someone’s first ten years of life. However, adults can still struggle with its effects. If you or your child are suffering from foot and ankle pain due to pes cavus, we are here to help. To schedule an appointment with our foot and ankle specialists, please call 469-200-2832 today.

What Is Pes Cavus?

Pes” comes from the Latin word for “foot.” “Cavus” comes from the Latin word for “hollow.” Therefore, pes cavus translates to “hollow foot.” Other terms for the condition include cavus foot and high arches. Those with cavus feet have an abnormally high arch on the bottom of their foot.

This causes an unequal distribution of weight along the bottom of the foot. While standing or walking, a cavus foot structure places too much stress and weight on the heels and balls of the feet. The condition can also lead to the development of other deformities, especially if a high arched foot is not treated early in life.

Types of Pes Cavus

There are three main types of cavus foot. They are distinguished from each other by their causes, symptoms, and appearances on X-rays. Most cases of adult idiopathic cavus foot result from an underlying neurologic condition.

  • Pes cavovarus: A pes cavovarus foot deformity is the most common presentation of cavus foot. Generally, we see this presentation alongside certain neuromuscular disorders. If the cause is unknown, it is described as idiopathic.
  • Pes calcaneocavus: A pes calcaneocavus foot deformity generally results from polio.
  • Pure pes cavus: If the pes cavus deformity results neither from ankle dorsiflexion nor from hindfoot varus, it is pure pes cavus.

Other notable types of cavus foot include the following.

  • Anterior pes cavus
  • Neurogenic pes cavus
  • Subtle cavus foot
  • Posterior cavus
  • Metatarsus cavus (which affects the fifth metatarsal and metatarsal heads)
  • Combined cavus
pes cavus treatment

Is Pes Cavus a Foot Deformity?

According to the National Library of Medicine, cavus foot is a deformity. Cavovarus foot is the most common form of cavus foot. The defining characteristic of a pes cavus deformity is a high arch. Not only does cavus foot cause high arches, but the foot does not flatten with weight bearing as a normal foot would.

How Is Pes Cavus Diagnosed?

cavus foot

Prompt diagnosis (preferably in early childhood) is essential in order to treat cavus foot more effectively. While it is possible to identify and treat the problem later in life, it is preferable to identify a child’s cavus foot before it causes pain and discomfort. When we examine the foot and ankle, we look for telltale signs of the condition, including the following.

  • Careful examination of the high arched foot, taking note of any claw toes, calluses, and flexibility or rigidity.
  • Examination of the patient’s family medical history for related conditions
  • We will also examine the foot and ankle’s range of motion, as well as the range of motion in the forefoot and midfoot.
  • Additionally, we will examine the spine, gait, and foot sensation of the patient in order to determine underlying pes cavus causes.
  • Other evaluations involve X-rays or MRIs to examine how the feet look while bearing weight and identify any spinal abnormalities.

Symptoms of Pes Cavus

A pes cavus foot deformity generally develops as a result of certain neurological conditions. The most common symptoms include the following.

  • High arch of the foot
  • Painful cavus foot and potential fractures
  • Frequent tripping
  • Notable loss of sensation in the lower leg, foot and ankle
  • Dragging the affected foot
  • Foot instability
  • Pain while standing or walking
  • Claw toe deformity
  • Lateral ankle instability
  • Calluses on the side, heel, or ball of the foot
  • Recurrent ankle sprains
  • Tight and weak muscles
  • Muscle imbalance

What Does a Cavus Foot Look Like?

The arch of the foot between the heel of the foot and the ball of the foot will be much higher off the ground than normal feet. One way to determine if you have a high arch is to conduct a water test. Get a piece of paper and place it flat on the floor. Wet the bottom of your foot, then step onto the paper. If you have abnormally high arches, you will only see the imprints of the ball of your foot and your heel. If you have normal arches, you will see an imprint spanning between those two areas of the foot.

What Causes Cavus Feet?

congenital pes planus

Painful pes cavus deformities usually occur as a result of certain underlying conditions, such as the following.

  • Polio
  • Cerebral palsy
  • Muscular dystrophy
  • Charcot Marie Tooth disease (CMT disease)
  • Spina bifida
  • Strokes
  • Spinal cord injuries
  • Spinal tumors
  • Peroneal nerve injury

What Problems Does Pes Cavus Cause?

One notable problem that can accompany cavus foot is severe pain. It can also make finding shoes that fit well very difficult, especially with a severe deformity. Other problems that can result from cavus foot include the following.

  • Metatarsalgia
  • Plantar fasciitis
  • Hammertoe
  • Claw toe deformities
  • Metatarsal fractures
  • Ankle instability
  • Weakness of the ankle muscles and calf muscles
  • Foot drop

Does Cavus Foot Get Worse with Age?

It is likely that pes cavus will worsen with time without the use of orthotics or surgical correction. With prompt treatment, a child’s feet or an adult’s feet can find relief through either surgical treatment or cavus foot surgery.

Can Pes Cavus Be Corrected?

pes cavus deformity

Yes. A form of soft tissue surgery is recommended if other more conservative methods have failed. However, most patients with this diagnosis do not experience symptoms severe enough to warrant surgery. One of the most effective things you can do for your feet is to take good care of them and go to the doctor if you feel pain, weakness, or imbalance.

Pes Cavus Treatment

We usually begin with conservative, nonsurgical treatments. Our main goals are to relieve pain, provide stability, and redistribute plantar pressure loading. Conservative treatments for cavus foot include the following.

  • Special orthotics and insoles for your shoes
  • Wearing foot braces while active
  • Engaging in physical therapy programs to manage pain and improve muscle strength

Cavus Foot Surgery

cavus foot surgery

If conservative treatments fail, surgery might be the best option. There are a few surgical procedures that can correct the condition, which we list below.

  • Plantar fascia release: This involves either removing or releasing the fascia on the bottom of the foot. This method helps to relieve chronic pain and improve flexibility in the foot.
  • Tendon lengthening: This is similar to a plantar fascia release. It involves making small, specific incisions in the tendons around the feet in order to better align the foot.
  • Osteotomy: This involves cutting and removing small sections of bone from the feet. Generally, this is reserved for cases in which the foot has grown severely deformed. It aims to restore the foot to a neutral position. Sometimes, we will perform this procedure in conjunction with tendon lengthening.
  • Arthrodesis: This procedure fixes the ankle joint into a permanent position. While this tends to be reserved for only the most severe cases as a last resort, it essentially fuses the joint together.

Pes Cavus Treatment in Dallas and Frisco, Texas

If you suffer from severe foot pain due to pes cavus, the foot and ankle specialists at SPORT Orthopedics and Physical Therapy are here for you. Our skilled orthopedic surgeons and Dallas physical therapists have spent their careers aiming for one goal: patient satisfaction. We develop our treatment plans based on individual patient needs. Therefore, you can rest assured that we keep your specific situation in mind throughout the entire diagnostic and treatment process. To schedule an appointment with us, please call our office at 469-200-2832 today.