It has been another busy week adding content to the site. I was successful doing the exercises everyday except one. More importantly, things seem to be moving in the right direction and I'm gaining insight about what factors are causing my flat feet.
I've uploaded new progress photos that can be found here. There looks to be an arch forming in the right foot if you compare today's picture from the one taken a few weeks ago. The change is slight but as I've mentioned before this process will likely take several months because of how long my feet have been this way, and the simple fact that the muscles of the foot will need time to build up strength.
The arch index measurements were relatively unchanged from last week. The left measured at 1.08 and the right at 1.40. There isn't a lot of data that would indicate what a good arch index measurement would be. For adults I've seen the normal range noted as between 0.30 and 1.00. Both of my feet would clearly fall in the flat foot range, but especially the right.
The way I have been performing the arch index test would be considered dynamic as opposed to static. I actually take a step onto the paper to make a footprint and then step forward lifting my foot up. For a static measurement I would just place my foot on the paper and stand on one leg. The photos are taken statically. I feel it's important to get a dynamic measurement to get an idea of what happens to the arch when I'm walking. I suspect it will take longer to see dynamic changes since the flattening of the foot while walking and running involves a lot more muscles, joint movements, and motor patterns.
What I plan to focus on for the next week
- Dynamic strengthening exercises--performing different movements while trying to hold an arch in my foot. I feel the stretching has been helpful in addressing the static arch height, but most likely more aggressive strengthening is going to be needed to build up the muscles to the point where they can support the arch in all phases of the gait cycle
- Toe abduction: I noticed I was having trouble spreading my toes apart and getting the toe abductor muscle activated. I've seen some improvement in my ability to separate the big toe from the other toes just in one week. I plan to continue working on this until I have good control of the movement.
- Focusing on the big toe making solid contact with the ground as I walk. This is an area where I feel supportive shoes have really been harmful. With a typical shoe there is no need to make the toe grip the ground--the shoe does most of the work for you. So now with each step I'm thinking about pressing the big toe down.
- Postural changes: I've made two observations in the way my right side differs from the left. One is that my right foot tends to toe out more. The second is that my shoulders are shifted or leaning to the right, which could be putting pressure on the right foot causing it to flatten. Good posture and alignment are things everyone could benefit from so addressing these issues would be good for me regardless of whether they are related to flat feet.
I will continue to post updates weekly and let's hope for some good improvement over the next week.