Cavus Feet

At A Glance:

Cavus feet is a condition in which the normal arch of the foot is increased. Due to the high arch, weight is placed on the ball and heel of the foot when walking or standing. This can cause pain, stiffness and instability. When non-surgical methods fail, surgery may be needed as treatment.


  • The appearance of a high arch
  • Hammertoes or claw toes.
  • Pain when standing or walking.
  • Instability when walking on uneven ground.


There are many causes for cavus feet, and the exact cause is not always known. It may be a neurological disorder which leads to an in balance in the muscles of the foot such as cerebral palsy, spinal disorders muscular dystrophy or a stroke. Alternatively, it could be developmental such as clubfeet.

Treatment Options

Nonsurgical methods to give symptomatic relief for cavus feet include:

  • Make sure your shoes have plenty of room for your toes to move.
  • Wear shock-absorbent shoes.
  • Insoles, inserts or arch supports can help relieve the pain and stiffness.

If you have tried these methods, fail to see results, surgical techniques may be needed.

Surgical methods of treating cavus feet include:

Soft-tissue surgery

This involved surgery only to the muscles and tendons in and around the foot. The aim would be to restore the balance of muscle actions. This may be achieved by tendon transfers and/or ligament releases.

Bony surgery

Sometimes correcting the deformity is not possible with soft-tissue procedures alone and requires changing the shape of some of the bones or fusing one or more of the joints in the foot.
For example:

  • Dorsiflexion osteotomy of the first metatarsal

To reduce the arch of the foot.

  • Calcaneal osteotomy

To improve the alignment of the heel with the rest of the leg.

  • Fusions

With severe deformities or if there is damage to the joints in the foot or ankle the best option may be to fuse the affected joint is a better position.

Toe surgery

Cavus feet often include deformities to the toes that can be corrected by tendon surgery or fusions of the toe joints.

Speak to your orthpaedic surgeon about your case and what surgery option may be best suited for you.

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