• Pes Cavus

    (Cavus Foot; High Arched Foot; Claw Foot)


    Pes cavus is an abnormally high arched foot. People with this condition place too much weight and stress on the ball and heel of the foot when standing or walking. Development of this condition can happen at any age.
    Pes cavus may be a treatable condition. Contact your doctor if you think you may have pes cavus.


    Pes cavus can be caused by an underlying disease, injury, or an inherited foot problem. Causes include:

    Risk Factors

    Pes cavus has a tendency to run in families. If you have a family member with very high arches you may be at increased risk for developing pes cavus.


    If you have any of these symptoms do not assume it is due to pes cavus. These may be caused by other conditions. Tell your doctor if you have any of these:
    • Foot pain
    • Stiff joints
    • Pain when standing and/or walking
    • Hammertoes
    • Claw toes
    • Calluses
    • Foot drop—the foot does not flex up
    • Instability
    Claw Toes
    claw toe
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    Your doctor will ask about your symptoms and medical history. A physical exam will be done. You will also be asked about your family medical history. Your foot will be examined closely. Your doctor may move it around to see what kind of range of motion it has.
    Your doctor may refer you to a specialist. An orthopedist specializes in bones. Podiatrists specialize in feet. The condition may be caused by a nervous system condition. In this case your doctor may refer you to a neurologist.
    Your doctor may order the following test:
    • X-rays —test that uses radiation to form an image; used to look for foot deformities


    Talk with your doctor about the best plan for you. Options include the following:

    Orthotic Devices

    Orthotic devices are custom-made inserts placed into shoes. They can provide support, stability, and cushioning to the feet.

    Changes to Shoes

    In some cases changing shoes is used to treat pes cavus. Soft soled shoes, wider shoes, and high-topped shoes may all be helpful in managing the symptoms.


    Braces may also be used to position the foot or treat foot drop. In foot drop, the foot does not lift properly. This can interfere with normal walking.

    Foot Care

    If you have corns or calluses on your feet, your doctor will carefully remove them. You may be given pads to cushion your feet so further corns and calluses don’t develop.


    In some cases medical treatment is not effective so surgery is considered. The type of surgery depends upon what is causing the pes cavus. One type of surgery, called an osteotomy removes part of the bone to correct the deformity.
    In some cases medical treatment is not effective so surgery is considered. The type of surgery depends upon what is causing the pes cavus. One type of surgery, called an osteotomy removes part of the bone to correct the deformity.


    There are no known guidelines to prevent pes cavus from developing.


    American Academy of Family Physicians http://www.familydoctor.org

    American College of Foot and Ankle Surgeons http://www.footphysicians.com

    American Podiatric Medical Association http://www.apma.org


    Canadian Federation of Podiatric Medicine http://www.podiatryinfocanada.ca/

    Canadian Podiatric Medical Association http://www.podiatrycanada.org/


    Cavus foot. American College of Foot and Ankle Surgeons website. Available at: http://www.footphysicians.com/footankleinfo/cavus-foot.htm . Accessed November 6, 2008.

    Foot problems. American Academy of Family Physicians website. Available at: http://familydoctor.org/online/famdocen/home/tools/symptom/544.html . Accessed November 6, 2008.

    High arch or pes cavus. UW Medical website. Available at: http://uwmedicine.washington.edu/PatientCare/LOC/FootAndAnkleInstitute/conditions/HighArch/ . Accessed November 6, 2008.

    Orthotics. American Podiatric Medical Association website. Available at: http://www.apma.org/s%5Fapma/doc.asp?CID=371&DID=9423 . Accessed November 6, 2008.

    Pes cavus. DynaMed website. Available at: http://dynaweb.ebscohost.com/Detail.aspx?id=114709&sid=69332655-ce61-4689-86d9-516d5666b529@sessionmgr2 . Accessed November 9, 2008.

    Skinner HB. Current Orthopedics . 4th ed. United States: McGraw-Hill Companies;2006: Chapter 9, Foot & Ankle Surgery.

    Revision Information

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