Pes Planus

There are 3 main foot types’; normal, flat foot and high arch. In this blog we shall discuss flat foot (pes Planus) and high arch (pes cavus). The possible implications of both as well as treatments will also be highlighted.

Pes Planus

This is a condition commonly known as flat feet or fallen arches and it is commonly seen in infants and toddlers. It occurs due to a postural deformity as the tendons holding the joints in the foot are loose, hence causing the arch of the foot to reduce. Patient suffering from this condition will notice their entire sole of the foot coming into complete or near complete contact with the ground.

Flat feet can also develop in adults due to injury, illness, prolonged stresses to the foot caused by defective biomechanics and the normal aging process.

Patients, who are either diabetic, obese or suffer from hypertension, are more prone to this condition. If the condition develops during adulthood then the patient is likely to remain flat footed permanently. The condition can either be flexible or non- flexible, most flexible flat feet are asymptomatic and do not require treatment as the condition can be considered as a normal human variant. Treatment for a non-flexible flat foot deformity would involve regular stretching exercises and a suitable insole/orthoses to try and help correct the deformity.

Pes Cavus

This condition is commonly known as a high arch or high in-step and occurs when the arch does not fall flat when bearing weight upon it. Pes Cavus is typically a result of a fixed plantar flexion of the foot.  Plantar Flexion is the movement of the ankle, pointing the toes away from the shin. The exact causes of the condition are unknown; however there are three likely scenarios, which can trigger the condition:

  • Neuromuscular condition e.g. polio
  • Congenital
  • Trauma

Common symptoms caused by Pes Cavus foot type are:

  • Pain under the metatarsal heads (ball of the foot) and heel
  • Lateral ankle sprains
  • Foot drop
  • Instability
  • Hammertoes
  • Pain while walking or standing in the foot
  • Stiffness in the lower limbs and foot joints

Treatment for pes cavus foot condition involves

  • Various pads made from silicone or felt can be used to get pressure off the painful areas
  • Control body weight to decrease load on the feet
  • Physical therapy modalities such as low level laser therapy for associated tendonitis.
  • Foot and ankle joint manipulations to help increase joint range of motion
  • Orthoses can provide support for stressed joints and soft tissues.
  • Wear shoes with a good cushioning, depth and arch support which may help relieve pain and improve walking.



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