Pes Cavus (Claw foot)

Flat feet & Claw foot

Claw foot is also known as Pes Cavus. It is a genetic defect resulting in a high foot arch. Claw feet are relatively inflexible which increases the chances of sustaining certain sports injuries.


This will often be associated with very tight calf muscles at the back of the lower leg. Pes Cavus of the foot can cause pain in the feet during running. The toes may be bent and cannot be straightened easily without causing pain. It is unusual for a long-distance runner to have a claw foot but not unknown.

Pes cavus treatment

Do plenty of static stretching, especially of the calf muscles and the sole of the foot. This will loosen the muscles and other structures in the foot making it more flexible and able to cope with the demands of running. Take steps to avoid injuries such as correct shoe selection, strengthening, and stretching exercises.

Orthotic insoles

See a specialist who can fit orthotic inserts for a Pes Cavus foot. These are insoles which are worn in the shoes and help correct any biomechanical problems of the foot. They can be custom made or often bought off the shelf ready-made.

With a high arch, it is probably best to see a professional for advice. Many off the shelf insoles are ideal for overpronation or rolling in but not so effective for supinating feet or rolling out which is more of an issue for high arch runners.

Choosing running shoes

Neutral shoes have a midsole of constant density throughout the shoe. A motion control shoe will be harder on the inside of the shoe midsole to help prevent the foot from rolling in or pronating.

If you have the wrong running shoes you will just make any problems worse. People with high arches are often supinators and will usually want a Neutral shoe with a lot of cushioning. See a specialist shoe retailer for specialist advice.

Read more about choosing running shoes.

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