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Weekly Progress Update 1

I’ve spent a lot of time this week working on the technical details of this site so I haven’t had much opportunity to talk about the project itself. My goal is to make this site a good resource for people with flat feet with a focus on designing an exercise program for correcting flat feet.

As part of my regular exercise routine I’ve been including some foot specific exercises, but not in a defined program. Part of the reason for waiting before starting a specific program was because of the time commitment for building the site. But I also needed to find a way to measure my progress in a somewhat scientific way.

In addition to tracking my results by taking weekly pictures, I also thought about using the wet foot test as seen below:

Step 1:

Wet Foot Test 1

Step 2:

Wet Foot Test 2

Step 3:

Wet Foot Test 3

The wet foot test and photos are generally helpful for figuring out your foot type, but they don’t give any real measurements that can be used to track improvement. After reading through studies discussing different arch measurement tests I decided that the Staheli arch index would be the easiest and most reliable way to track my progress.


Measuring the arch index requires getting a footprint, measuring the width of the arch and the heel, and calculating the index from those numbers. Doing this requires a footprint that’s clear enough to measure, and the studies I read all used specially designed (and expensive) mats and pressure pads.

I solved this problem, as you can see in the picture above, with a bit of washable paint from the craft store (which the bottle assures me is non-toxic).

For the actual program, the plan is to spend between 10 and 15 minutes each day doing exercises specifically designed to strengthen the arch.

The exercises at this point that I think will be the most helpful are the short foot exercise and the downward dog stretch. As I am lucky enough to live within a short drive to the beach I also plan to do some barefoot running (something I’ve taken an interest in recently) in the sand as often as my schedule allows. So those are the basics–I’ll be making changes to the program as I continue to research and learn more about how my arches respond to different exercises. I’ve never seen this done before so I’m not sure what the time frame should be for improvement, but I estimate at least 6-8 weeks based on the length of time it normally takes the effects of exercise to become noticeable.

I hope everyone finds this site helpful and please continue to check back regularly to see how things are progressing!

Continue to Week 2

Important: This post is for informational and educational purposes only and should not be taken as medical or physical therapy advice.

Photo of author
James Speck
James is a physical therapist with over 20 years of experience. He created this site to share his own journey toward better arches.

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10 thoughts on “Weekly Progress Update 1”

  1. i had pain in knee doctor told me i have flat feet. I buy one advance insole to use.. N gonna start with these exercises. Just these two exercises r enough to do. I try yesterday a first time. cant able to perform yet. Any suggestion…

  2. Do you have any suggestions for successfully completing the short foot exercise? I’m just starting out and am unable to make an arch. My foot just won’t move that way…

  3. I really appreciate you posting this entire process. I think your research is invaluable and if more healthcare professionals approached their questions the way you do, we would see a lot of progress. Thank you for sharing this fascinating breakthrough!

  4. Hi, James. Wonderful resource! Thank you for sharing this with the world!

    I have a 5-year old who complains of pain a lot after a short exercise. He now enjoys learning Karate and as you can imagine, his flat foot is causing him more and more discomfort.

    Problem is that the movements in the exercises are so subtle that I’m not sure I’m going to be able to break it down well enough for him to do it correctly. Any tips or alternative exercises?

    He’s been prescribed ibuprofen and a topical cream for when the pain kicks in (typically after Karate). I don’t want to go that route, but I don’t want to make him suffer either. Also, this boy is a kinesthetic learner, so getting him moving is really important for us. Your feedback will really mean a lot.

    Thank you, thank you, thank you.


  5. I’m not sure where on your site, but I read that walking barefoot is good for developing arch muscles – which is why you say you run in the sand. Is wearing socks okay? I would imagine it is, but just wondering. I wear them all the time because my feet sweat (& stink). I have flat feet and when I run for more than like 1/2 mile or jump in place, my ankles kill me. I’m going to try out your program this summer.

  6. Hi, I am so glad to have found your website! I have flat feet that almost have no space when I stand on the ground barefoot. Recently, I have started to experience knee pains whenever I sit for too long. Since I am in my mid 20s, I knew that this was not right. As I searched the internet, the problem was caused by my flat feet. I am so glad to see someone who can actually show results by doing these exercises. You have made my day and motivated me to work hard and continuously on improving my feet! Thank you so much!!!

  7. You seriously made my day! I used to play soccer as a kid and every time after we warm up, i start to feel pain under my feet, and sometimes i felt excruciating pain in my back to the point where i couldnt even walk. My mom always told me that i had to do exercises to increase the strenght in my feet, but i never listened! (you know how ignorant kids can be). Now im 20 y.o and i’ve realised how important it to work on it, for my entire body.

    I dont know if you’re actually gonna read this, and i NEVER comment on stuff online, but this made me so happy, that i just had to. Anyways thanks alot!

    PS: After reading this in bed, i stood right up and did the exercises!

  8. Really appreciate man it’s my goal and dream to build an arch because I play soccer at a high level but my flat foot affects my game so much but hopefully I can do this

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