A cavus foot is one with a very high arch. This leads to pressure points in the heel and ball of the foot, which can lead to pain and instability with walking. A cavus foot can develop at any age and happen in one or both feet.  It is often caused by a neurologic disorder such as cerebral palsy, muscular dystrophy, or Charcot-Marie-Tooth disease.  Sometimes it is an inherited structural deformity.  An accurate diagnosis is important because treatments are different depending on neurologic or structural causes.


  • A high arch, even with standing
  • Pain when on your feet, especially in the ball of the foot and the heel
  • Pain on the top of your foot
  • Bent or scrunched-up toes (hammertoes)
  • Frequent ankle sprains
  • Some people experience foot drop, which is a weakness of the foot and ankle muscles that cause the foot to drag while walking.  This is usually a sign of a neurologic condition.


Your foot and ankle surgeon will review your family history and examine your foot and leg. He or she may order an x-ray to further evaluate your foot.  If a neurologic condition is suspected, you may be referred to a neurologist for a complete evaluation.


-Custom orthotics (shoe inserts) can help stabilize and cushion your foot.

-Shoe modifications: High-topped shoes can provide more ankle support. If you have pain on the top of your foot, lacing your shoes in a special way can take pressure off the area.

-Ankle braces can be used for more stability and can be used to manage foot drop.

Do I Need Surgery?

If non-surgical treatments are unable to relieve your pain and provide stability, surgery may be an option. Your foot and ankle surgeon will carefully review your case and choose the best procedure(s) for you.  If you have an underlying neurological problem, you may need more surgery in the future as the disease progresses.