Pes Cavus

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. This condition can begin at any age.

  • Causes

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

    • Polio
    • Spinal cord tumor
    • Charcot-Marie-Tooth disease
    • Muscular dystrophy
    • Cerebral palsy
    • Friedreich ataxia
    • Clubfoot
    • Compartment syndrome
    • Crush injury
    • Structural abnormality
    • Inherited condition

  • Definition

    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. This condition can begin at any age.

  • Diagnosis

    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 assess range of motion.


    You may be referred 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.


    Images may need to be taken of your foot. This can be done with x-rays.

  • Prevention

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

  • Risk Factors

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

  • Symptoms

    Symptoms associated with pes cavus include:

    • Foot pain
    • Stiff joints
    • Pain when standing and/or walking
    • Hammer Toe
    • Claw toes
    • Calluses and Corns
    • Foot drop — the foot does not flex up
    • Instability
    Claw Toes
    claw toe
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  • Treatment

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

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