The normal foot is arched just enough so that most of the weight is borne on the heel and the balls of the foot, and the foot remains straight when weight-bearing rather than turning inward. Some people, however, have a foot with a higher than normal, or hollowed, arch.
In a person with high arches, the weight of the body is concentrated on the ball and heel of the foot. A flexible high-arched foot often leads to plantar fasciitis, an inflammation of fibrous tissue under the skin of the sole.
A person with high arches will have: pain in the heel or ball of the footpossible pain in the arch on both the top and bottom of the foot
One of the most common causes of high arches is a loss of nerve function to the muscles of the foot. Other causes include: diabetespoliomyelitis, a disorder caused by a virus that affects the whole body including muscles and nerves. It may cause permanent muscle paralysis, disability, and deformity.a spinal tumor, a mass within or surrounding the spinal cordmuscular dystrophy, a disorder characterized by progressive muscle weakness and loss of muscle tissueCharcot-Marie-Tooth disease, a progressive wasting of muscles in the arms and feetcongenital abnormality, or birth defectmuscle contractures following severe burns. A muscle contracture is a condition in which the muscle is tight and prevents normal mobility.
If the high arches are not treated, the joints of the foot can be damaged. Sometimes the foot can become misshapen or deformed.
There is no way to prevent the problem.
The condition can be diagnosed just by looking at the shape of the foot. An x-ray may be performed to help in the diagnosis. Sometimes high arches are caused by an underlying condition, such as diabetes, which needs to be identified and treated.
The most common long-term effect is pain from too much stress on small areas of the foot. If the cause is a nerve disorder, surgery may be needed to repair the foot.
If an underlying disease is the cause, it must be treated. Symptoms can often be relieved with the right shoes.
Shoes should: fit properlyhave good shock absorptionhave laces, which provide room for the foothave low or no heels
Specialty shoe stores may help because they can provide careful attention to shoe fit. Inlays and pads inside the shoes can support the arch and take pressure off the painful areas. Most over-the-counter inlays do not work very well because they fail to provide enough support under the arch.
Custom support devices called foot orthotics can be prescribed by a healthcare professional. These are often very helpful because they are precisely molded to the individual's arch and provide extra support to relieve stress on the foot.
If high arches are untreated, the person's ability to perform activities of daily living can be affected. Because it can be difficult for an individual to get enough exercise for cardiovascular health, chronic health problems may develop.
Inlays and shoes should be checked often to make sure they are still in good working order. There should be no change in shape. Inlays must continue to support the foot.
A person with high arches should make periodic visits to a healthcare professional to make sure the orthotics continue to work well.
Weinster, Stuart, Tureks Orthopaedics, 5th edition, 1994