Can high-arched feet have any complications?

Brian Yee
Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation Specialist

People with high-arches typically have less give in their foot as compared to those with flat arches. It can affect different body parts. With a more rigid support at the arch there tends to be greater forces dispersed at the heel and ball of the foot. Whether it be callouses, neuromas, or spurs many times they are formed due to excessive forces on that area. People with high-arches also tend to walk on their outside of their foot This makes them prone for more forces to occur along the outside of their legs. Commonly you see associated problems with ankle sprains, lateral knee pain such as iliotibial band syndrome (ITB), or lateral hip pain. There is also tendency for people with high-arches to be generally stiff in their joints and muscles. This is due to a greater amount of ground reaction forces not being absorbed in the foot and sent higher into the legs, back and trunk as weight bearing occurs.

In Physical Therapy, if patients come in with complaints of hip or back pain, many times we find their high-arches are a contributing factor to their overall movement patterns. This can cause improper forces into their painful area of their body. Treatments to reduce the pain at the area of pain needs to occur, but for long term prognosis, addressing the patient’s foot mechanics can help prevent recurring injuries.

High-arched feet can lead to foot deformities like claw foot and hammer toe. Another possible complication is foot drop, where your toes point downward when walking. In children, high-arched feet might cause frequent ankle sprains. They may feel that parts of their feet become sore and develop calluses.

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