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Cavovarus foot can make enjoying everyday activities feel uncomfortable. Shriners Children's provides transformative care.

A condition that causes one or both feet to have arches that are higher than normal and heels that are turned inward, cavovarus foot can make walking, running or even standing still difficult.

Many children with cavovarus foot put extra pressure on the outer side of the foot – leading to pain, frequent ankle sprains and sometimes fractures.

Cavovarus foot looks different for every child, but our orthopedic specialists are always ready to create a treatment plan that works best for your family. We'll start by performing a careful physical exam – and taking X-rays if needed – to determine how severe your child's condition is. Sometimes, we'll take an MRI (a non-invasive imaging test) of the spine to find out whether or not your child has an underlying condition causing their foot deformity.

Specific treatments and services may vary by location. Please contact a specific location for more information.

Symptoms and Causes of Cavovarus Foot

The most common symptoms of cavovarus foot are arches that are higher than normal and heels that turn inward. Learn more about symptoms below – but keep in mind, they range in severity depending on how deformed your child's feet are:

  • Pain when walking or standing
  • Instability
  • Walking on the outside of the foot
  • Frequent ankle sprains and stress fractures
  • Calluses on the balls, heels or sides of feet
  • Toe deformities, like hammertoes or claw toes
  • Weak foot and ankle muscles that cause your child to drag their foot when walking

Causes of Cavovarus Foot

Many cavovarus foot cases are caused by an underlying neurological disorder like Charcot-Marie-Tooth disease, cerebral palsy or spina bifida – all of which Shriners Children's specialists treat. Sometimes, though, cavovarus foot is simply an abnormality that happens for no clear reason.

Learn About Cavovarus Foot Treatments

Once your child is diagnosed with cavovarus foot, a Shriners Children's physician will work with you to decide on the best path forward. Read about some of the options you might discuss below:

Physical Therapy

Cavovarus foot symptoms, like weak lower leg and foot muscles, can make standing and walking difficult. Working with a team of physical therapists can help stretch and strengthen your child's muscles.

Bracing and Orthotics

Tripping and falling is common for some children with cavovarus foot. If your child finds walking difficult, special shoe inserts or braces can help stabilize the feet and ankles.


If your child's case of cavovarus foot is severe and non-surgical treatment options don't relieve symptoms, surgery might be needed. Our orthopedic team will provide you with the best-possible options to improve the high arches and position of the heels.

Dr. Mendelow is an amazing doctor and surgeon. He did everything he could to fix my feet and he got them straight! Now I can run and do whatever I want. My feet support me and don’t hurt. That’s all I ever wanted.
Adolfo, Greenville
female patient with mother

In-House Physical Therapy

Physical therapists – who specialize in exercises and stretches for the legs, knees, ankles and feet – are members of our rehabilitation team. We understand that visiting multiple offices to achieve comprehensive care for your child can be stressful. That is why our rehabilitation department is just one of many resources of care within our four walls, making treatment accessible and convenient.

Treatment Possibilities

View All Related Treatments

Physical Therapy

Physical therapy at Shriners Children's helps children build confidence and strength, focusing on what is important to them and what they love to do in their daily lives.


Shriners Children's multidisciplinary team includes orthotists who create braces to meet the individual need of each child – whether to treat a complex condition or common injury.

Orthopedic Surgery

With their expertise in treating children from toddlers to teens, the pediatric orthopedic surgeons at Shriners Children’s understand the challenges of planning ahead for growing bones and bodies.

Next Steps

Request an Appointment

Families and caregivers seeking treatment should start by contacting us for an appointment.

Log in to the Patient Portal

Parents and guardians of existing patients can email, request records, schedule appointments and more.

Refer a Patient

Physicians and healthcare providers can request appointments, start transfers or contact us with questions.