What are the risks of pes cavus?

Answered by Michael Wilson

The risks associated with pes cavus, or a high arch, can vary depending on the individual and the severity of the condition. However, there are several common risks and complications that individuals with pes cavus may face.

1. Stress Fractures: One of the main risks of pes cavus is an increased risk of stress fractures. The transverse arch, which runs across the midfoot, is often compressed laterally and elevated in individuals with pes cavus. This can lead to increased pressure on the metatarsal heads, the bones at the front of the foot. The excessive load on these bones can cause stress fractures, especially in young athletes who engage in high-impact activities.

2. Plantar Fasciitis: Pes cavus can also increase the risk of developing plantar fasciitis in adulthood. The elevated arch puts additional strain on the plantar fascia, the thick band of tissue that runs along the bottom of the foot. Over time, this increased tension can lead to inflammation and pain in the heel and arch of the foot. While plantar fasciitis can occur in anyone, individuals with pes cavus may be more prone to developing this condition.

3. Foot Deformities: In some cases, pes cavus can lead to the development of foot deformities. The excessive arch height can cause the foot to be more rigid and less flexible, which can contribute to the development of conditions such as claw toes or hammertoes. These conditions involve the abnormal bending or contracture of the toes, which can cause discomfort and difficulty with walking or wearing certain types of footwear.

4. Balance and Stability Issues: The high arch in pes cavus can also impact balance and stability. The elevated arch can make it more difficult for the foot to absorb shock and distribute weight evenly. This can lead to a higher risk of ankle sprains and falls, especially on uneven surfaces or during activities that require quick changes in direction. Individuals with pes cavus may need to be cautious and take extra measures to improve their balance and stability.

5. Foot and Ankle Pain: Pes cavus can also cause general foot and ankle pain. The abnormal foot mechanics and increased pressure on certain areas of the foot can lead to discomfort and pain, particularly after prolonged walking or standing. This can have a significant impact on an individual’s daily activities and quality of life.

It is important to note that the severity of pes cavus can vary greatly among individuals. Some individuals may not experience any significant complications or symptoms, while others may face several of the risks mentioned above. It is advisable for individuals with pes cavus to seek medical advice and work closely with healthcare professionals to manage and address any potential risks or complications.