High Arches May Cause Hammer Toes

We often talk about foot problems caused by “fallen arches” or “flat feet”, but seldom do we discuss the consequences of having feet with high arches. This type of foot condition (known as pes cavus) is less common than pes planus (flat feet) and is one of the causes of hammer toes.

Cavus feet are mostly caused by disorders of the nervous system, but sometimes the cause is unknown. Feet with high arches are not usually very flexible and the tendons that connect muscles to bones may be tight. High arched feet are not very stable because they have limited contact with the ground. A normal foot print shows contact from the heel through to the toes; whereas, a high-arched foot print only shows separate contact points at the heel and forefoot and sometimes the toes don’t even touch the ground.

When a foot is unstable, the toes claw for stability. When this clawing just affects the second or third toe, it is called a hammer toe where the joint furthest from the nail is pushed back and up. This can lead to blisters or corns on the top of the joint or the end of the toe, especially in footwear that is too tight or too loose.

Other causes of hammer toes include injury, long second toe, conditions like diabetes or arthritis, and genetics (sometimes they are hereditary.) When the toe is displaced, the muscles weaken and the tendons and ligaments are displaced. Without correction, the toe deformity will get progressively worse and may become fixed.

At this point, treatment may not be as effective and surgery may be required to correct the deformity. If you consult a podiatrist like Sheldon H. Nadal who is based in Toronto, he will assess the severity of the condition. Flexible hammer toes can be treated with exercises, toe splints, orthotics, and appropriate footwear.

If surgery is required, Mr. Nadal is experienced in minimally invasive surgery which is carried out with a local anesthetic so there is less trauma, less pain, and minimal down time.

 

Resources:

https://medlineplus.gov/ency/article/001235.htm

http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/315600.php

http://www.nytimes.com/health/guides/disease/hammer-toe/abnormally-high-arches.html

http://www.uwmedicine.org/health-library/Pages/high-arch-pes-cavus.aspx