Pes cavus, also called hollow foot, is a foot deformity characterized by an abnormally high arch. Here are five things you need to know about this condition.
What are the signs of pes cavus?
If you have pes cavus, you may experience pain in the middle of your foot and in your heel. You may have trouble finding shoes that fit properly. Other symptoms are also possible. Some people experience foot drop; this means that your toes drag on the ground when you walk. Instability of the foot is another possible sign; this can manifest as frequent ankle sprains. Stiffness in the lower legs can also be a sign of pes cavus.
What causes pes cavus?
There are many possible causes of pes cavus, and about 80% of the time, a cause can be identified. It can occur if you suffer a midfoot fracture and the bones don't heal properly. Other types of trauma, like burns, can also result in pes cavus. Compartment syndrome, a condition where pressure builds up inside your muscles, can also result in this condition.
Neuromuscular diseases such as muscular dystrophy or cerebral palsy can also lead to pes cavus. These diseases can lead to muscular imbalances, and when some of your muscles pull harder than others, they can elevate your arches.
About 20% of the time, pes cavus is idiopathic, meaning that doctors don't know why it happens. More research needs to be done to identify possible causes of these cases.
Is it serious?
Pes cavus is a concern because it can lead to difficulty walking, pain while standing, and chronic pain. These issues can have a major effect on your quality of life, which is why pes cavus needs to be treated promptly.
Can it be treated?
Non-surgical treatments such as orthotics are available for pes cavus. Orthotics are custom inserts that you put in your shoes. They help to support your high arches and spread your weight evenly throughout your foot. Over-the-counter orthotics are available, but they don't provide as much support as custom-made orthotics do. Over-the-counter models have been shown to reduce pain by 43%, while custom-made models reduce pain by 74%.
How common is pes cavus?
Pes cavus is a very common problem. It affects about 10% of the general population, so it's likely that your podiatrist has seen many cases of this condition before.
If you think you have pes cavus, see your podiatrist right away, as this condition is treatable. For more information, contact a podiatrist like Dr. Russell Newsom.