The arch of your foot is the curve under the foot, between the heel and forefoot. The instep of your foot is the bony structure on top of the foot. The arch runs from the back of the toes to the heel. The instep runs from the back of the toes to the front of the ankle.
If you have feet with a high arch while standing, you have a foot condition called pes cavus. Pes cavus is the opposite of flatfeet (pes planus). High arches are less common than flat feet and usually occur in both feet at an early age and could become progressively symptomatic with age. In general, high arches become problematic because less of the surface of the foot is weight bearing resulting in increased stress on the heel and the ball of the foot (metatarsal heads). The high arched foot is less able to absorb the shock of heel strike during the walking cycle. This creates abnormal stress on the soft tissues of the foot and lower leg. The shock is transmitted from heel and arch of the foot to the ankle, knees, hips, and lower back. It is common for pain to occur in one or more of these areas. The toes may develop minor deformities like painful corns or callouses on the top of the toes or at the tips. Painful plantar calluses are often present under the ball of the foot too. If you have have high arches it can be difficult for you to fit into shoes. Having a shoe that provides an arch support can relieve some of the problems associated with a high arch. You may also benefit from arch support provided by custom foot orthotics prescribed by a doctor.
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