Tuesday, January 8, 2008

Pes cavus

I'm not sure if I've mentioned this in passing but I tend to have a pretty high arch. I've never really thought much of it, I've just noticed it in certain styles of shoes, mainly those with straps across the top middle part of my foot. It can also be problematic in shoes where you have to slip your foot through an attached strap, like the pink satin JCrew ankle strap heels I wore today.

This also was an issue when I bought the Nicole Brundage sandals. They both are beautiful shoes but I find them a hard fit. Not in the length, because that is rarely an issue, but just getting them on.

At first I actually thought it was me, and in a way, I guess it is. But obviously there isn't much I can do about it. But it is kind of frustrating after a while because I really really love mary janes and these strappy styles.

When I was writing about what I wore today I started wondering if this was an actual "condition". Granted, I don't think I have a major affliction or anything as I am not seriously impeded and I wear heels all the time and I don't have to wear any kind of orthotic. The major problem I have is metatarsal compression - the straps press into the top of my foot.

As the complete opposite of flat feet, folks with diagnosed pes cavus can end up having other problems as well.

Some things to know:

High foot arches are much less common than flat feet. However, they are more likely to be associated with an orthopedic or neurological conditions. Neuromuscular diseases that cause changes in muscle tone may lead to the development of high arches.

Unlike flat feet, highly arched feet tend to be painful because more stress is placed on the section of the foot between the ankle and the toes (metatarsals). This condition generally makes it difficult to fit shoes. In addition, those with high arches usually need foot support. A high arch may cause significant disability. (aack!)


- Shortened length of foot (would size 5 be an symptom?)
- Difficulty fitting shoes
- Foot pain associated with walking, standing, and running

Now I actually used to run a lot. I hurt myself and stopped and haven't gone back to it yet. However one of my 2008 goals was to get back to running so I can run in a 10K by October and possibly a half marathon my next January. This is ambitious I know but I actually had peaked at that point when I was running in the past. I'm starting by ramping up slowly and plan in incorporating a lot of yoga as that helped me in past.

I don't have a significant issue now but I also don't want to develop one in the future - if only because I would be very very sad if I couldn't wear heels anymore. I mean, that's a heck of an investment to not be able to utilize anymore.

Has anyone else experienced this challenge? Do you just avoid those styles or did you come up with other strategies as a work around. I've bought bigger sizes (as I did with the JCrew pair), or I had to have new straps sent for the Nicole Brundage pair, and I've even cut the elastic holding straps and then re-sewn them on.

I did find that New Balance sneakers were the best for running (as recommended at a dedicated running store), so that's something to keep in mind.

Also, if you're having any problems or pain, make sure to speak to your doctor. Problems can be diagnosed through exams and test:

X-rays of the feet
X-ray of the spine
MRI of the spine
Nerve conduction studies

Treatments may include:

Corrective shoes may help to relieve pain and can improve walking. This includes orthopedic modifications to the shoes, such as an arch insert and a support insole. Surgery to flatten the foot is sometimes necessary in severe cases. Any underlying neurological problems, if present, must be treated by appropriate specialists.

Safe and happy walking!


Daniela said...

I am in the business of medical transcription, and one of my accounts just happens to be a podiatrist (though I specialize in cardiology, for the most part.)

Anyhoo, you may want to take a visit to www.podiatrychannel.com. They are a wealth of information.

I have Haglund deformity and am slowly developing a case of plantar fasciitis. Your anatomy pic made me think, 'oh look, there's my foot.'

Combined with your propensity to run and the fact that you also want a Kindle (I want one too, btw) there is a very affordable alternative: A subscription to audible.com. Downloadable audiobooks all the time :) I get one credit a month for $14.99, and usually buy anything else I want that is priced under that. It all goes on my iPod and I take it with me when I drive, when I walk, and when I shop. I pretty much have the thing on all the time.

Have you read any of the Thursday Next series? It's like the best library met the SciFi channel. The first book is called the Jane Eyre Affair and it is fantastic. I'm in the midst of part one at the moment.

Princess Poochie said...


I've read all of the Thursday Next books. They are awesome! I think there were four, right?

I'll have to check out the site. I carry my iPod around too but have found the audio books on iTunes to be priced really high. Plus I have a library and like to have books around. But the Kindle combines my love of reading with tech. Fun!


piba said...


I randomly found your blog. Not so random actually, considering that I have been reading whole a lot about the "pes cavus".

All started 2 days ago while after a long day in my totally flat shoes, walking at home, this killer pain hits to my foot.

And now I ended up walking in a cane!

Tomorrow I will see a 2nd doctor, who is a podiatrics, but must I say I am so freaked out?

Also b/c I am a tango dancer, and I wear and own and kill for those stiletto hill shoes I have.. (like a ton?) and now I can not sleep, afraid that tomorrow the doctor might tell me to stop wearing hills or even worse to stop dancing.

I don't know where I did wrong. I didn't wear high hills that crazy (except dancing times) I am only 25 years old too... I guess just like you, I also overlooked at this "problem" well.. never even thought having a hallow feet might cause such a problem.

But it does.

And I am totally freaked out.

Wish me luck, it is so early for a farewell with my high hill shoes.. man... I love them!

:((( (so scared smiley)


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