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High Arches - Everything You Need To Know

What are High Arches?

Having high arches is a foot condition in which a person has an overtly high arch in between the ball and the heel of the foot. The medical terminology for this is “cavus foot”, which is a condition that can lead to a variety of aches and pains for those who live with the condition. High arches that do not have adequate arch support and cushioning can cause an excess of weight to be placed on the ball and the heel of the foot whenever a person is walking, standing, or running. This condition can cause pain and instability for people who leave it untreated.

People with high arches generally have a rigid foot structure which means that there is little to no flexion in the arch to absorb shock. Because of this lack of flexion in the arch, people with high arches tend to pound the floor when walking on a hard surface.

what high arches look like

What Type of Pain is Associated with High Arches?


There is a wide variety of pain that can be associated with a person who has high arches. The pain can vary a great deal from one person to the next, and typically depends on the severity of the condition. There are different factors that attribute to pain from high arches, including the extremeness of the arch height, the capacity for mobility of the joints in the feet, the weight of a person, and the amount of stress induced from a person’s daily activities. Some people who live with high arches feel little to no pain, while others can suffer from severe pain. There is a wide range of symptoms and pain that can be felt for people who have developed a cavus foot, which range in all levels of discomfort and severity.

What Are the Symptoms of High Arches?


Mild Symptoms

  • Difficulties finding adequate footwear due to abnormal foot formations
  • Discomfort around the joint of the ankle
  • Instability standing up
  • Shorter length of feet
  • Buildup of callouses in the heel and sole of foot

Severe Symptoms

  • Pain in the ball of the foot
  • Pain in the heel of the foot
  • Pain or discomfort in the arch of the foot
  • Stress fractures in the bones of the affected foot
  • Potential for ulcers from complications with diabetes or poor blood circulation
  • Early onset of degenerative joint diseases
  • Tightness in the Achilles tendon
  • Pain in the knees, hips or lower back.
the running phase

What Are the Causes of High Arches?


High arches can be caused by a variety of factors, and each case is unique to some extent. The severity of the condition depends on the cause, which makes it even more critical to accurately diagnose as the best possible treatment. This can also help determine if the condition is likely to become progressively worse, or if it will remain stable over time. Cases of high arches can be the result of neurological disorders, or they can simply be genetically inherited.. High arches that are caused by a neurological disorder are more likely to become progressively worse, while instances of high arches that are a result of an inherited condition are not as likely to change over time.

  • Normal Variant Humans come in all shapes and sizes, and this is no different for feet. Some people who have high arches have simply been born with a higher arch. The extent of these types of cases can vary, but these are not usually very severe cases.
  • Hereditary For some cases of high arches, the condition has pre-existed in the family line and has been passed down as a hereditary trait. The severity of cases caused by an inherited condition can vary in severity, but are usually stable or predictable based on the family history.
  • Congenital Conditions A congenital condition is also known as a deformity or birth defect and is representative of some sort of anomaly that exists at birth. There are many causes for congenital conditions, and the severity of these types of cases can also vary depending on the diagnosis.
  • Neuromuscular Disease A neuromuscular disease is a disorder that can affect the muscles and nerves in a body. High arches can be a symptom of some neuromuscular diseases like poliomyelitis or other degenerative diseases. The severity of these cases is usually much higher than other causes of high arches.

Nerve Trauma Nerve trauma or severe damage to the nerves can also be a cause of high arches. The severity of cases as a result of nerve trauma can also vary depending on the extent of the damage.

Is Having High Arches Bad?

High arched feet can lead to more severe consequences if left untreated. Depending on the cause of the high arches, the condition may become progressively worse. However even in less severe cases of high arches, more symptoms can gradually appear if they are not cared for. The most common long-term consequences of untreated high arches are the development of hammertoes or claw toes and the development of thick callouses on areas of the foot that endure more stress from daily activities. It is also likely that the level of pain felt from high arches will become increasingly worse if they are not treated with something even as simple as insoles.


High arches aren't all bad news for athletes though. They do have one advantage. Some studies have shown that due to the inflexibility, a high arched foot provides a rigid lever that may be better for sudden direction changes and acceleration. The stiffer form and force distribution allows the foot to adapt and move more quickly under these kinds of stresses.


As with any medical condition, there is a tendency for it to become worse if nothing is done to improve the situation. This is most noticeable in severe cases of high arches as they tend to progress over time, but long-term consequences can manifest in mild instances of high arches as well. Daily pain that persists or is aggravated from excessive physical activities typically becomes worse over time with a higher level of pain felt by the person with high arches. The best course of action for any person who feels symptoms from high arches is to seek appropriate treatment.

how a high arch looks image

As with any medical condition, there is a tendency for it to become worse if nothing is done to improve the situation. This is most noticeable in severe cases of high arches as they tend to progress over time, but long-term consequences can manifest in mild instances of high arches as well. Daily pain that persists or is aggravated from excessive physical activities typically becomes worse over time with a higher level of pain felt by the person with high arches. The best course of action for any person who feels symptoms from high arches is to seek appropriate treatment.

What Are the Treatments for High Arches?


Feet are tested for muscle strength, and walking patterns are also analyzed to help give indication of existing high arches. A good test to see if you have high arches is to get a piece of cardboard, place it on the floor and then wet the bottom of your foot. Step on the cardboard and check how much of your foot is touching the ground. If you only see the ball and heel of the foot touching the c cardboard and not the toes or the arch, chances are that you have, to some extent, high arches.


If it is necessary, x-rays may also be used to determine if a person is suffering from symptoms of high arches. However, in most cases, patients can treat their condition with orthotics for high arches or other types of shoe modifications. Shoes can make a big difference for the level of comfort and the alleviation of pain for any person with high arches.

Treatments for a cavus foot include:

  • Cushioned footwear
  • Rocker soles
  • Cushioned Insoles with high arch support
  • Wide width or extra depth footwear

How Do Insoles Help Alleviate Pain from High Arches?

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Insoles for high arches helps alleviate pain by bringing the foot back into normal alignment. An orthotic is designed to provide high arch support on the areas of the foot that requires it the most. A high arch is not bearing any weight and an insole with a robust arch can distribute the weight more evenly across the bottom of the foot. This helps to reduce the pain and stress on parts of the foot that typically bear more weight due to the abnormality in the structure of the foot. Using high arch support inserts such as orthotics, aid a person in holding a more normal stance and taking a truer step. This has overall beneficial effects on the body by improving a bodily relationship known as the kinetic chain.


The kinetic chain is a medical term that refers to the concept that every moving joint and muscle can have direct effects on the adjoining parts of the body. When any one part of a kinetic chain is misaligned, it can have negative effects on each corresponding part of the body. If you consider the foot as the base of the kinetic chain, this can mean that a misaligned step due to a high arch can cause even more issues throughout the body. Orthotics and other types of high arch support insoles can reduce this pain by helping keep the foot in a more natural position, as well as by providing additional support to deficient areas of the foot. This relieves areas of the foot that would otherwise be forced to bear more weight than it should, which in turn has a beneficial effect on the rest of the body. Orthotics for high arches are designed to do exactly this, but this is also part of the reason that it is important to have custom fitted orthotics. Custom orthotics are even better at helping alleviate pain from high arches because they are made specifically to support the most important areas for any individual foot.

What are the Best Insoles for High Arches?


There are many over-the-counter insole brands on the market which can help with moderate high arch pain. These products typically use a plastic molded heel cup which extends to the arch. The added arch support from a foam/plastic insole can help to alleviate the stresses on the foot by allowing for more even weight distribution.


With advances in material technology, carbon fiber insoles are being used more and more when addressing high arched feet. At the forefront of carbon fiber insole technology is VKTRY Performance Insoles (VKs). VKs stabilize the midfoot and support the longitudinal arch by providing a stable base and limiting pronation, two of the main causes of pain in the cavus foot.


During the gait cycle VKs absorb shock at heel strike (phase1 of gait), by resisting the ground and deflecting, slowing the rate of deceleration and attenuating shock in the sagittal plane, much like landing on a springboard and slowing the user down efficiently. This springboard effect provides exceptional cushioning, cushioning that is lacking in a high arched foot.


In the second phase of gait, midstance, VKs absorb shock and provide a pre-load at the midfoot and supporting the arch. VKTRY’s reverse ellipse contour gently supports the arch without the user feeling like they have a baseball in their shoe.


During the third stage of gait, heel off, VKs store the energy generated during heel strike and midstance at the metatarsals in preparation for the propulsive stage.


During stage four, VKs release the potential energy stored in the first three stages directly into the ground, greatly increasing the amount and rate of plantarflexion.


For foot structures that lack efficient energy storage, in the case of flat feet or high arches or have excessive pronation, VKs add the spring for feet with this deficiency.





VKTRY Insoles have been successful in helping athletes with more propulsion & less injuries, as evidenced by field research, clinical studies and in thousands of customer testimonials. However, when it comes to health care, all people and all injuries are not alike. VKTRY always recommends that you consult your physician when considering treatments of an injury. And VKTRY offers a 90-day money back guarantee, so if the product is not helping a person in recovery, VKTRY provides a no questions asked refund. For more information, please click the button below.




VKTRY Insoles and arched feet

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