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Weekly Progress Update 10

I’ve posted new progress photos and measurements this morning. It’s really phenomenal to see the changing shape of the arch in the right foot. This week I didn’t expect much of a difference because I was focusing more on postural correction exercises so the picture surprised me. The arch measurements were still both less than 1.0 (which is a good thing–the goal now is 0.8). This arch index was 0.98 for both sides compared to last week when it was 0.96, so no real changes there.

The left arch seems resistant to changing and I still haven’t figured out what I need to do to push that along. The best explanation I can think of is that there is a bit of an inverse relationship between the sides, so as this right side goes up the left goes down??? This partially makes sense because I know a component of correcting the pronation on the right involves a postural shift toward the right side (because the right foot was worse off it was causing me to stand with my weight shifted to the left).

Downward Dog

The postural exercises are going well although I only did them twice this week so far. I’m still doing between 5 and 10 minutes of actual arch exercises daily and I’ve decided to reintroduce the downward dog stretch. I stopped doing that stretch to experiment with some different exercises but I feel like it was really helpful and don’t think my flexibility is where it needs to be yet for that movement.

I’ve never done much yoga so I may be completely altering the way you’re supposed to do the downward dog but here’s my method: I stand with my feet shoulder-width apart and then reach down and put my hands on the floor in front of me while keeping the arch from collapsing (this involves having to bend my knees a little). Once my hands are on the floor I then try and straighten my knees while keeping the heels down–which I still struggle with.

Last week I mentioned I was getting some pain on the outside of my right knee during runs, usually around the 2 mile mark, which I initially thought was iliotibial band syndrome but now think it is related to the peroneal muscles on the outside of the lower leg getting a workout from running in the new minimalist shoes. It doesn’t bother me at all walking and doesn’t seem to be getting worse but it’s still frustrating. I’d rather not have to take a break from running. I may switch to just doing sprint workouts for a while until that subsides. I’m hoping that as I continue the exercises and get more adjusted to running in the new shoes it will go away.

Happy Friday everyone!

Update: A lot of exciting things have happened since this last progress report. Firstly, it seems the soreness in my right calf was just the muscles getting used to running in the minimalist shoes and resolved fairly quickly. I think my right calf started out less developed than the left, so now it’s finally catching up.

I’ve gotten a lot of requests for creating a list of all the exercises I’ve worked on. To save people the trouble of sifting through old blog posts I’ve created a page for what I consider some of the best exercises for flat feet.

I’m very excited about the new membership option. Because I worked on so many different exercises and modified or progressed a lot of the basic ones as my arch strength improved, I created a special section of the site that contains more comprehensive routines and tutorials. I’m really excited about this new feature and I am continually working to expand and improve on some of the good content that’s already available. Hope to see you there!

About James Speck

James is a physical therapist with a special interest in the foot and ankle. He created this site to share his own journey toward better arches. Read more

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5 thoughts on “Weekly Progress Update 10”

  1. I too have flat feet; the right foot is worse than the left. I notice in the video demonstrations of your lifting your arches prior to doing stretch exercises, that your arches seem to be supple/flexible. My left arch can be lifted easily, however the muscles in the right foot seem to be rigid. I struggle to get the right arch up without lifting my toe joint off the floor. I can barely get it to arch. Will flexibility/suppleness improve with exercises or is there anything that can be done to decrease the rigidity of the muscles? Thanks for your help. I enjoyed reading your web pages. Clare

  2. I am very interested in your project. Apparently I have flat feet due to running. I have been suffering from Plantar fasciitis for over 6 months and I have a serious overpronation problem. Your blog gives me hope that I will be able to run again. It never occurred to me until I went to PT for the first time today, that my feet might be flat. I forgot the term the therapist used, but I swear she said my feet are functionally flat rather than just flat like people born with flat feet. In other words…this is damage I did to myself. I am on a big foot exercise regimen for the next 4 weeks….then we reevaluate.

  3. I am nearly 16 and my biggest worry at the moment is the flat feet I have. I’m undergoing examination 11th grade examination and will soon go into 12th grade. I have the biggest dream of joining the air force for which I will be eligible for after 12th grade and I have 1 year’s time untill the induction. I have been walking on my toes frequently and I did see a visible arch in my feet, but I need something that not only heals the flat foot fully but also qualifies me into the military standard. I’m scared and really need help.

  4. Was referred here by a friend currently studying PT for his master’s. Fascinating project you’ve got going on. Your “before” very much resembles what I’ve been experiencing with my flat feet, anterior pelvic tilting, and weak core (gluteus and abdominals).

    I actually purchased SuperFeet inserts, and walked with them for a few hours the other day. During walking, I experienced no pain. But oddly, after coming home and removing them, I experienced pain in my heel, arch, and slight metatarsal pain. I know I have flat feet, but never experienced this drastic foot pain in just one day – like you, as I fatigue my arch starts to pain… Then I started thinking, I need to maybe focus on conditioning to improve my arch instead of supporting a weak foot. Thoughts on that?

    I read all your weeks’ progress, and will make a routine for myself and keep you posted! I know you experimented with various exercises during different weeks, but now having completed the “experiment’, is there a recommended routine you’d suggest if you saw someone starting their own 10 week program, based on your trial/error?

  5. I have been trying to create arches as well. I just found your web site today and your week by week break downs are really helpful and encouraging. I am curious though about your arch. After doing arch exercises for a while, I can flex my foot into a beautiful arch but if I am not paying attention or consciously flexing my foot into an arch, my default stance is with a flat foot. Did you experience this as well or did standing with an arch become your default stance (unconsciously) over time?

    Thank you

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