Pes Cavus

What is Pes Cavus?

Pes Cavus, known also as a high instep, talipes cavus or supinated foot, is a foot condition classified by an arch that does not fall flat upon bearing weight.  In Latin, pes cavus stands for “hollow foot”.  It is medically described as a multi-planar foot deformity most recognized by the presence of a noticeably high arch. Pes Cavus is known to occur in approximately 8-15% of the population, however, it is far less recognized than its counterpart, Pes Planus.

Pes Cavus

Pes Cavus

Pes Cavus is typically a result of a fixed plantar flexion of the foot.  Plantar Flexion is the movement of the ankle, pointing the toes away from the shin (think pressing a gas pedal in your car).  However, a fixed plantar flexion does not guarantee that a person has pes cavus.

Pes Cavus – Causes

The exact cause of pes cavus is unknown. However, the medical community has settled on three likely scenarios that lead to pes cavus:

  • Neuromuscular Condition – A neuromuscular condition may affect nerves and muscles that cause the hollowing of the foot.  There are a number of neuromuscular conditions that could be the culprit, the most likely of which is Charcot-Marie Tooth disease.
  • Congenital – Congenital causes may be derived from familial history of residual club foot as well as cases where the condition happens spontaneously.
  • Trauma – As common sense would dictate, severe foot trauma could cause pes cavus through fractures, burns etc

Pes Cavus – Types

There are two major classifications of Pes Cavus.  Medical professionals and researchers typically classify the condition in two ways; Idiopathic vs. Congenital.  Surveys have found that over 80% of pes cavus patients suffer from the ideopathic form, rather than the neuromuscular type.  There are studies however that find the opposite, which makes the likelihood of each type difficult to triangulate.

Pes Cavus – Medical Identification

Upon meeting with your podiatrist he or she will likely recommend either an orthotic insert, new shoes for pes cavus, or both.  X-Rays may be taken as well to determine the bone structure’s contribution to the ailment.

Pes Cavus – Prevention?

Yes, you can actually help to prevent Pes Cavus from turning into a debilitating deformity.  Pes Cavus, if noticed early on while the foot is still flexible can be treated.  If you notice that you have an arch that seems noticeably higher than normal, contact your podiatrist immediately to have them take a look.  Your podiatrist may recommend a stretching regimen that should theoretically help to keep the foot muscles loose, reducing the probability that the plantar flexion becomes fixed thereby reducing the effects of the cavus foot.

Next – The Symptoms of Pes Cavus