Learn the symptoms, tests, and treatment options for Cavus foot, Charcot foot, and plantar fibroma at EvergreenHealth Foot and Ankle Care.
Cavus foot means you have high arches (pes cavus). The condition may result from a structural foot problem you were born with. Or it may be due to a neurological condition, such as cerebral palsy, Charcot-Marie-Tooth disease, spina bifida, muscular dystrophy, or stroke.
High arches put a lot of weight on the ball and heel of your foot and can lead to:
- Pain when standing or walking
- Calluses (thick, hard areas of skin)
- Foot drop, or a weak foot that drags when walking
- Hammertoes or claw toes
- Sprains because your foot is unstable
To diagnose Cavus foot, an EvergreenHealth doctor may:
- Review your family history
- Examine the foot and sometimes the leg
- Test your foot's strength
- Watch you walk
- Look at the wear pattern of your shoes
- Order an X-ray test
- Refer you to a specialist in neurology for an evaluation
Treatments for Cavus Foot
Depending on your symptoms, your doctor may recommend:
- Brace to keep the foot and ankle stable
- Callus care, including wearing pads to relieve pressure and having the doctor trim the callus in a safe way that prevents infection
- Customized shoe inserts that stabilize your foot and provide cushioning
- Shoes with high tops to support the ankle or wide heels to add stability
If you have neuropathy (nerve damage), you could develop Charcot foot, also called Charcot joint—softening of the bones. The weak bones fracture, but you keep walking because you can't feel the pain. Eventually, the foot collapses and takes on a rounded, rocker-bottom look. This serious condition can lead to disability or even amputation if not properly cared for. It is important to seek care as soon as possible if you start experiencing symptoms.
After a sudden foot injury or repetitive stress (like a long walk), your foot may:
- Feel warm and painful
- Turn red
To diagnose Charcot foot, an EvergreenHealth doctor will examine your foot and ask what you were doing before your symptoms began. You may get an X-ray test or other imaging exams, as well as lab tests.
Treatments for Charcot Foot
Follow your doctor's treatment plan to help save your toe, foot, and even your leg. You'll need to:
- Wear a cast, boot, or brace and use crutches or a wheelchair to keep weight completely off your foot, which lets the fragile bones begin to heal and return to a more normal shape
- Wear shoes with special inserts after the bones heal to help prevent Charcot foot from returning
- Reduce your activity level, in some cases, to protect both feet
- Follow instructions for preventing foot injury, such as managing blood sugar if you have diabetes, examining your feet daily, and getting checkups regularly from a foot and ankle surgeon
Plantar fibroma is a firm lump in your foot's arch. It may grow over time, but it's usually benign (not cancerous).
Your foot may hurt when you walk, stand, or wear shoes that push against the plantar fibroma. If you press on the lump, you might feel pain down to the toes.
An EvergreenHealth doctor will examine your foot and may order tests such as:
Treatments for Plantar Fibroma
Conservative, nonsurgical treatments can ease pain, but may not make a plantar fibroma go away. They include:
- Customized shoe inserts that relieve pressure on a lump that's stable (not getting bigger)
- Steroid injections to shrink the lump
- Physical therapy methods that deliver anti-inflammatory medication to the foot without injections
Surgery for Foot Conditions
If nonsurgical approaches can't provide enough relief for your foot disorder, your podiatrist may recommend surgery. You'll learn the best procedure for your specific situation. Usually, treatment will take place on an outpatient basis, meaning you can return home the same day. Learn more about what to expect from foot and ankle surgery at EvergreenHealth.