Cavus Feet

Cavus feet – “tall arches”
15-20 miles from East Indianapolis in Greenfield, Indiana

Cavus feet are the opposite of flat (planus) feet. People with this foot type tend to excessively load and apply force to the heels, and balls of their feet. There is a much higher incidence of Achilles tendinits, and plantar fasciitis in individuals with a cavus foot structure. Please review below for more information on specific problems associated with painful tall arches.

Why Choose Hancock Orthopedics – Central Indiana & Greenfield Foot and Ankle Surgeon Doctor William J. E. Adams?
Fellowship Trained Foot & Ankle Surgeon

Doctor Adams is a Fellowship Trained Foot and Ankle Surgeon that is well versed in complex adult and pediatric foot and ankle deformities. Dr. Adams sees patients with neurologic problems that cause unstable tall arches.


If you have painful cavus feet, and have questions or concerns, please feel free to call Doctor Adams at (317) 477-6683 or schedule a consultation online.

Learn more about Dr. Adams

Dr. Adams is a born and raised Hoosier. He attended Indiana University-Bloomington where he met his wife Allison. He got degrees in Nutrition Science, Biology and Chemistry. Dr. Adams then got his doctorate from Kent State College of Podiatric Medicine where he was a Dean’s List student. He then came back to Indianapolis to do his residency surgical training and was Chief resident. He stayed in Indianapolis and completed a specialty Fellowship focusing on Adult and Pediatric Reconstruction. During his Fellowship Dr. Adams helped launch the first foot and ankle dedicated surgical practice at Hancock Orthopedics, and has been employed there since.


Dr. Adams enjoys teaching as he helps educate and train the surgical residents at Community Health Network, and the Fellows at American Health Network. He actively participates in research and editing for national peer reviewed journals.

He is also a consultant for orthopedic device companies where he is afforded the opportunity to help train and design with other surgeons across the country.

Dr. Adams has special interests in the following areas:

Arthroscopic joint surgery
Minimally invasive calcaneal fracture repair
Flat foot reconstruction, adult and pediatric
Vitamin D and its correlation with bone healing
Cartilage restoration for the ankle joint
Regenerative medicine
5th Metatarsal fractures
Non-union revision surgery

Dr. Adams is a father of two and resides with his family in Fishers. He enjoys the short commute to Hancock Health in Greenfield.

William J.E. Adams, DPM CV (pdf)

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Cavus (High Arch) Feet

The cavus, or often described by the layman as a “high arched” foot, can be a complicated one. There can be scenarios where the arch is exaggerated due to a neurologic condition that has been previously diagnosed such as Charcot Marie Tooth, or potentially never addressed/diagnosed by a physician. There are however plenty of healthy individuals that were simply born with cavus feet (tall arches). The reason this topic is often discussed by foot and ankle surgeons is because they are on the opposite end of the spectrum as flat feet, and can become very symptomatic at times.


It is important to keep in mind that simply because you have a cavus foot type does not mean you will necessarily ever develop foot, or ankle pain. In the individuals that do it is often associated with overuse syndromes. It is often observed in people that work on hard surfaces, or are potentially athletes training on hard surfaces. Individuals with cavus feet more often have complaints of ankle instability, and lateral column pain (pain along the outside of your foot near the 5th toe).

There are many conservative and surgical treatment options for individuals with painful cavus feet. One common misconception that exists is that individuals with cavus feet will do well with orthotics. This is only partially true. Orthotics can be very effective in helping alleviate foot pain in people with tall arches, however the orthotic needs to be unique to people with that foot type. An orthotic made for a person with a flat foot will cause more pain and symptoms in someone with the opposite. Cavus feet individuals often need accommodative orthotics that are softer. These orthotics or inserts attempt to redistribute pressure more medially, or back to the inside of the foot. Patients with cavus feet tend to put a lot of weight along the outside of their feet, and we often observe the outer sole of the shoe being significantly more worn than the arch or instep. Many times during childhood people with a cavus foot structure will be told they are “pigeon toed”, or possibly “bow legged” (genu varum).

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Where do people with cavus feet tend to have pain?
Underneath the great toe joint at the sesamoid apparatus
Along the peroneal tendons (behind the fibula, along the outside of the ankle, and down to the 5th metatarsal) – these function to flatten or pronate the foot during gait. They get overused in people with cavus feet.
Midfoot arthritis is an often seen pathology or problem in people with cavus feet
Heel pain – plantar fasciitis and infra-calcaneal bursitis is more common in individuals with cavus feet than any other foot type.
Hammertoes – people with cavus feet develop a particular type of hammertoe where the toe almost dislocates onto the top of the metatarsal head – this causes the ball of the foot to take on excessive pressure, and often causes very painful calluses
Lateral ankle instability is more common in people with cavus feet as they tend to already favor the outside of their foot making them more susceptible to inversion ankle sprains (foot buckling underneath the ankle/tibia).
When is surgery needed for people with cavus feet?
Surgery is only recommended when people have failed to get better with orthotics, shoe modifications, bracing, topical and oral anti-inflammatories, and physical therapy if appropriate.
How are cavus feet surgically corrected?
We often augment both soft tissues, and the bone to alter the architecture of the foot and to literally “take away” some of the arch of the foot. Long term the procedures can be very effective. There is a significant healing period though. Modifying an individual’s foot type takes a long time to get used to; 6-12 months is normal.
If one foot is operated on, does the other need to be?
Sometimes – it depends solely on symptoms. Oftentimes we see one foot that is significantly worse than the other. If the symptomatic side recovers this can often help the less severe side, and prevent both feet from needing surgery. Fixing both feet surgically is more common in severe cases – often seen in neurologic disease like Charcot Marie Tooth.
Foot & Ankle Surgeon near Indianapolis

Are you an Indianapolis resident seeking a foot & ankle surgeon?

Dr. Wil Adams is close and worth the short drive.

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