Back when body features were believed to be statements about the human person, people who had high insteps were considered to be well-born and of superior quality. In later centuries, the phrase “high in the instep” came to mean people who were arrogant and thought they were better than others. Now we realize that there are various reasons you could have high arches—and various ways to treat any problems they cause.
Where High Arches Come From
The condition (also called cavus foot) is sometimes a trait inherited from your parents. In fact, familial history is one of the things we ask about if you come to us with this problem. However, many times this condition develops after an injury such as a tear in the peroneal tendon. It can also be a result of a stroke, a neurological condition, or a disease such as cerebral palsy or muscular dystrophy.
It is important to know what caused your foot to be this shape, because that helps determine your treatment and prognosis. If it is inherited, it may stay stable throughout your life, but those caused by a medical condition may continue to worsen, especially without treatment.
Recognizing Cavus Foot Symptoms
The main sign is that even when you put weight on your foot, the arch remains highly-rounded ahead of the ankle joint. A raised arch may contribute to other deformities in the foot such as hammertoes or claw toes that are curled under.
If you have high arches you will tend to put more pressure on your heel, the outside edge, and the ball of your foot. This can cause calluses to develop in those areas, and lead to an aching in your foot when standing or walking. Because the bottom of the heel tilts toward the inside, your ankle may be more unstable and prone to frequent sprains.
If any of these symptoms describe your foot or gait, come in and let our foot doctors examine you. We can test nerve function, coordination, and walking gait, and observe the tread on your shoes to determine what might be causing your rounded instep.
Treating High Arches for Comfort and Stability
There are three main conservative remedies for this condition. One is to have us custom design a pair of orthotics that fit in your regular shoe styles to give support where needed. We do this in the old-fashioned way of making a mold of your foot, because we feel this gives the most accurate picture of what is needed to correct your biomechanics.
The second is shoe choice. High-top styles can help support the ankle better to give it more stability. Combine this with a little wider sole and decent cushioning and support under the arch and you may be able to prevent pain and sprains from bothering you.
Finally, a foot and ankle orthosis (brace) may hold the ankle in position and make your steps more stable. This remedy can also help treat foot drop, a complication of many nerve diseases that doesn’t allow you to lift up your toes properly when you walk.
When Surgery May Be Necessary
If none of the above treatments solve your pain or stability problems, surgery is a final option. We will discuss the various procedures with you (such as tendon repair or stabilizing a tilted ankle joint) and help you decide if that is the next step you should take. If you decide to go ahead, know that our surgeons are top notch and will provide the excellent foot care you expect during your recovery. Call Rocky Mountain Foot & Ankle Center in Wheat Ridge or Golden, CO at (303) 423-2520 for an appointment and some answers for your painful feet.
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