More Than a High Arch
At the time of birth, counting the baby’s toes is a tradition. Parents desire reassurance that their child is perfectly formed and healthy. There are several congenital foot conditions that can be present at birth, however, cavus foot in children develops later in life—typically by age 10.
A high arch isn’t an uncommon development, and many people function with this arch type each day. Choosing the right shoe and custom orthotics are two ways to manage its challenges. However, this condition presents an arch that is so high that the heel and ball-of-the-foot bear almost the full load of the body’s weight. The resulting pain and difficulty with balance impact the quality of life for children who desire to be active.
Know the Symptoms
Instability and pain are two common symptoms. A child with this condition will often be more prone to ankle sprains. Due to the immense pressure on the ball-of-the-foot and the heel, calluses may develop. This thickening of the skin can become uncomfortable over time.
Other disorders of the foot often accompany this extremely high arch. Foot drop is signified by the inability to lift the front of the foot, which results in dragging. It also stems from neurological conditions. Toe deformities such as claw toes and hammertoes often coincide as well.
If you notice any changes in your child’s gait, limping, complaints of pain, or reduced activity, take action. Ignoring symptoms may lead to unnecessary pain for your child.
Diagnosis: The Key to the Course
An accurate diagnosis is key to any treatment plan, but this is especially true in the case of cavus foot. Knowing the root will indicate the likely progression of the condition. For example, if your child is diagnosed with a neurological disorder, the height of the arch may continue to increase. Otherwise, it will likely stay in its current position.
A visual examination of the foot and a medical history will be essential to diagnosis since this condition is often seen in more than one member of the family. Strength testing will also be done as well as an analysis of the child’s gate. Imaging may be necessary and evidence of a neurological condition determined.
Treatment: What are the options?
Conservative treatment measures are available. Depending upon the severity of the case, surgical intervention may be necessary. However, less invasive treatments are always tried first. The root problem must be addressed. Along with that, custom orthotics, bracing, and proper shoe gear can benefit a child.
The orthotic will aid in the appropriate distribution of weight across the foot. Bracing provides stability, and so do shoes that have ankle support and a wide heel base. Dr. Alexopoulos will determine the best action to keep your child pain-free and active.
Parents care for their children—from their heads to their feet. At the first sign of foot pain, visit My Chicago Foot Expert to make an appointment, or call (773) 561-8100 today. Your children deserve the best care and our expert staff looks forward to serving your family.