Roughly 90% of all feet are flat to some degree. Phrased another way, most people overpronate to some degree. These feet are more prone to problems of hypermobility; they will develop bunions and hammertoes more regularly and have more pain in the posterior tibial tendon, on the inside of the ankle. The other 10% of the population, with a higher arch foot, have their own set of problems to deal with.
High arch feet, or pes cavus, results from a neurological problem most of the time and is often progressive. A high arched foot is unable to dissipate forces as well, so each heel strike puts more stress and weight through the heel. Because of the positioning of the heel during gait, there is a drastic increase in ankle sprains and low energy ankle fractures. The peroneal tendons, on the outside of the foot and ankle, are also under an increased amount of stress, which can cause tendinitis and tearing.
Thankfully, treatment is usually conservative and aimed at symptom management. Custom orthotics are necessary because over-the-counter inserts are made for the 90% of people with flatter feet. Custom orthotics work to force your heel into a better spot for ambulation by controlling the subtalar joint underneath the ankle. Surgical options are always available but are highly conditional and dependent on the patient’s symptoms and foot structure. The only constant with surgery is that recovery is tough for this condition, so we try everything we can at Eagle-Summit Foot & Ankle to prevent that.