Below is a list of Frequently Asked Questions about Fix Flat Feet. If you have a question that isn’t answered below please email me.
How long did it take to build arches in your feet?
Visible changes in the height of my arches in standing were noticeable within the first few weeks. After 10 weeks my feet were no longer flat based on the arch measurements I was taking.
My arch shape and strength continued to improve after that point as I found new exercises to work on and ways to progress the exercises I had been doing.
Can everyone with flat feet build arches?
Based on the changes I saw with myself, my experience working with others with flat feet, and the available research, I think many cases of flexible flat feet can improve. It’s similar to improving posture.
Most people don’t need a brace or surgery to train themselves to sit or stand up straight. Posture is largely a habit.
In my case, I knew I could form arches in my feet, but the arches would collapse as soon as I stood up. So basically this program was about training myself to hold a different foot posture.
There are some types of flat feet, different from the kind that I had, in which I think the arch is unlikely to improve with exercise, including:
- a rigid flat foot (very rare) where the bones of the foot fuse together making the foot flat in all positions–standing, sitting, up on toes etc.
- conditions that cause spasticity or contracture of the heel cord (e.g. cerebral palsy) or other neurological conditions
- flat feet related to disease processes or injuries that alter the normal anatomy or functioning of the foot
Every case is unique and that’s why I try to make it clear that what worked for me may not work for everyone.
How do you know if you have flexible flat feet?
In general, this is usually determined a few ways, including:
- looking to see if there is an arch present when seated with the foot dangling in the air,
- if an arch forms when standing on the toes, or
- if an arch forms with flexing the big toe up by hand.
Are the changes permanent or do you still have to do exercises and think about holding an arch?
My feet have much more noticeable arches now even when I’m completely relaxed. For a while, I did have to think about holding an arch in the foot, whether I was sitting, standing or even at rest.
I’m not sure exactly how long it took until this became the natural posture of my foot in all situations without any effort. It was a gradual process and I worked on it for a while.
Now, when I purposely pronate my feet or try to collapse my arches they mostly maintain their shape. I can’t get them to go back to how they were before even if I try.
I don’t regularly do most of the exercises from the program anymore. I haven’t noticed any loss in arch height and it’s been several years now.
I still do calf stretching exercises at least once a week. And I still pay attention to how I walk occasionally to make sure I’m not falling into any bad habits.
Did the size of your foot change?
Yes! My shoe size went down almost a full size.
Did you wear orthotics while working on your arches?
No. Around the time I started this project, barefoot running and barefoot-style shoes were getting popular. I had used orthotics and shoes with a lot of built-in support features in the past without seeing much benefit. This made me curious to see if going with less support would help with this process.
I attribute part of my success to paying attention to what my feet were doing when standing and walking and this was easier for me to do in more flexible shoes rather than the rigid, stability-type footwear I had previously worn.
What types of shoes do you like?
I’m a big fan of minimalist or barefoot-style shoes now. The main features I look for when buying shoes are:
- No heel (zero heel-toe differential)
- No built-in support
- Flexible sole
- Wide toe box
- Thin (minimal cushioning)
What made you decide to work on strengthening your arches?
What concerned me the most was the effect flat feet were having on the rest of my body–mainly my knees and hips. I like to exercise and with certain exercises (e.g. squatting, deadlifting) I could tell that having arches that collapse was putting stress on the joints higher up the leg.
When I looked in the mirror it was obvious that my posture and the alignment of my joints were being thrown off by what was going on at the foot level. There’s evidence that a pronated foot is a risk factor for a number of injuries and conditions that develop over time, including knee arthritis, so I saw this project as an investment in my long-term health.
Also, I just didn’t like the way my feet looked which made me self-conscious about going barefoot.
Is there a complete list of all the exercises you worked on somewhere on the site?
How long did you spend each day working on exercises for your feet?
At the start of this project, my goal was to spend 10 to 15 minutes a day working specifically on arch building exercises. On some days, I spent longer than that, especially when I was experimenting with new exercises. And some days I didn’t exercise at all. Many of the exercises only take a few minutes to complete.
Of course, part of my success also came from paying close attention to the way I was standing and walking throughout the day.