High Arches


high archesWhat is it?

Also known as pes cavus. Condition in which the arch is exaggerated and the foot is often said to be rigid. Extensor tendons on the top of the foot often tend to appear prominent.

What causes it?

Most often it is a hereditary structural foot defect. Sometimes a result of neurological or muscle disorders.

Signs and Symptoms:

May cause callus buildup and/or corns under first and fifth toes. Sometimes leads to foot and heel pain from plantar fasciitis or other problems. Limited range of motion leads to poor shock absorption and possibly pain throughout body chain, feet, ankles, knees, hips, and back. Can cause shin splints and over-supination, an abnormality in the gait cycle (mechanics of foot movement) in which weight tends to be on the outside of the feet. People with high arches often complain that shoes with laces are uncomfortable due to the prominence of bones on the top of the foot.

Prevention and Treatments:

Icing for ten minutes three times per day and/or anti-inflammatory drugs to reduce inflammation during initial acute stage; heat therapy may be effective for chronic, longstanding cases.

Low dye strapping (taping) to help relieve stress on the plantar fascia.

Off-the-shelf arch supports for simple, non-severe problems.

Prescription custom orthotics to help correct structural foot problems causing the pain and other associated foot problems such as callus buildup and corns.

Possibly prescription custom footwear from your Chiropodist, depending on the severity of the structural foot problem.

Stretching exercises for your plantar fascia.

Examples of the kinds of exercises your Chiropodist may recommend:

Towel Curl

Place a towel on the floor. Curl the towel toward you, using only the toes of your injured foot. Resistance can be increased by placing a weight on the end of the towel. Perform this exercise 20 times.

Toe Taps

Lift all your toes off the floor and, while keeping your heel on the floor and the outside four toes in the air, tap just the big toe to the floor. Next you will change the order and tap the outside four toes to the floor a number of times while keeping the big toe in the air. Start with 10 taps and work up to 50 taps per session.

Calf Stretch

Lean against a wall with your back knee locked. Press forward until a stretch is felt in your calf muscle, but do not stretch to the point of pain. Hold the stretch for 15-30 seconds. Repeat three times for each calf.

Achilles Stretch

Lean against a wall. Gradually bend your back knee bent. until a stretch is felt in your Achilles tendon, but do not stretch to the point of pain. Hold the stretch for 15-30 seconds. Repeat three times for each foot.