Medically referred as "Pes cavus", high arches often lead to serious biomechanical troubles in the body. An unusually high arch in the foot places excessive strain or pressure on the tendons and muscles in the feet and also on the metatarsals and heel, which not only affects the proper functioning of the complete lower body but also causes physical discomfort.
This condition can be problematic to treat and and is less common in comparison than flat feet. Often the symptoms get worse with age and there are lots of side effects and secondary conditions that can result from this kind of foot, like: misshapen toes, plantar calluses, Achilles tendonitis, heel spurs, Haglund's deformity, plantar fasciitis, Morton's neuroma, metatarsalgia , osteoarthritis in the joints of the lesser extremity, stress fractures in the bones in the feet and chronic pain. Diabetics as well as people with low circulation who have high arches in the foot have a risk of developing ulcers in the ball and heel of the foot due to abnormal and uneven pressure distribution.
Often individuals with this condition experience stiffness and pain in the arch of the foot, in general the mid-section of the foot, the Achilles tendon or ankle, along with general discomfort in the lower back, hips and knees. Though high arches are usually genetic they can also appear from congenital conditions like neuro-muscular diseases like Charcot disease, cerebral palsy, or even nerve trauma.
During the phase of heel strike in the walking cycle, a foot with high arches is less capable of absorbing the blow of impact, which causes the shifting of excessive stress on the joints in the feet and the soft tissues in the heel. This inappropriately absorbed shock next travels to the ankle, then the knee all the way up to the hips and lower back, generating an undesirable and painful chain reaction through the entire body.
In order to make sure whether you have high arches or not, you can do 'the wet test'.
In this simple test you need to wet your feet and then step on a paper bag or walk over concrete – if your foot imprint shows only the ball and heel of your foot along with a thin outer edge line then you probably have high arches and therefore your feet are exposed to anomalous bio-mechanics, especially supination. Supination is the inadequate "rolling in" of the foot once it hits the ground which causes improper impact absorption.
Once you are sure that you have high arches the two most vital things that can be done in order to ensure healthy feet and healthy body are to invest in best quality foot orthotics and maintain an ideal weight. Orthotic devices give arch support and reduce pressure on soft tissues and joints of the feet, and maintaining a healthy body weight helps reduce pressure on the feet. Apart from the instant relief from discomfort that may result from introduction of orthotics, correct use of this kind of device helps maintain the foot alignment thus reducing the shock of impact as well as the effects it can have on the entire body. Though high arches might require special care it's not necessary that they will negatively affect an active and healthy lifestyle.