Flat Foot Rehabilitation | Four Months Later

Barefoot Science Inserts - Guinea Pig

Back in December I was asked by my friend Damien Tougas of ToeSalad.com if I would be interested in testing an insole system designed to help rehabilitate feet with the types of conditions I have. Before that Damien had been instrumental in encouraging me to take a different approach to dealing with the shin splints that had plagued me most of my adult life… you know how that story goes.

Despite being able to run without shin splints, I still suffered from the side effects of having flat feet and Plantar Fasciitis pain or PF. I was initially quite reluctant and highly skeptical of any product that claimed to be able to help rehabilitate my feet in 6-8 weeks, but after some additional encouragement by Damien I agreed to test the insoles and to record my progress as best I could.

What Were My Results?
It took me approximately 13-14 weeks to progress through all of the stages, much longer than the advertised 6-8 weeks. To read a full chronological account of my four months of progress through the progressive stages of the Barefoot Science system, see the full article that I wrote for ToeSalad.com:

» A Review of the Barefoot Science Foot Strengthening System

After 14+ weeks of the Barefoot Science program I repeated the same foot imprint exercise that I had done at the very beginning to see if I could notice any visible improvements in the reduction of my footprint. Needless to say I was speechless to see the difference the inserts had made!

Barefoot Science | Before & After Prints

To any of you reading this and wondering if this would work for you, or if it’s worth trying, I would say go and read my full account of how I progressed through the different stages and the issues I had along the way. If you have any questions for me regarding my experience using the inserts, please leave a comment and I will be more than happy to follow up with you.

I would like to thank Damien and Patrick Malleret (inventor of the Barefoot Science System) for not only giving me the opportunity to try this amazing system, but for encouraging me to stick with it and for being there when I had my initial questions and concerns. Thanks! ^BG

Disclaimer: The author (Brian Green) was provided with a free sample of the Barefoot Science insoles via ToeSalad.com for testing purposes. 

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  • Dan T

    Im really happy to hear this story!  I also have flat feet and have issues with PF.  My question is, before doing this program did you have the issue of having overgrown callus on the outer edge of your big toe, and if so, did you see any reduction in this?  I understand that the callus is there to stop my foot from blistering, but when I go long distances that toe feels like it is forced up and the joint gets irritated. 

    • http://www.briangreen.net Brian Green

      Hi Dan, I don’t have any calluses on my feet yet alone ‘the captain!’ I’m no expert in foot medicine or rehabilitation and wouldn’t want to steer you in the wrong direction with bad or inaccurate advice.

      Have you tried going to a podiatrist to get the calluses looked at? I know that calluses are caused by repeated pressure or friction to the skin and are created to protect it.

      I believe that you need to focus on treating the cause of the pressure or friction by looking at your footwear and/or using corn pads to relieve the pressure. Failing that the old trick that I know of is to use frequent hot foot baths with a pumice stone to slowly smooth down the hard skin. You could also look at using over-the-counter (nonprescription) salicylic acid products?

      As I said, I’m no expert, that’s about the limit of my knowledge on the subject. ^BG

      • Dan T

         Thanks for all the suggestions but all the methods to remove the callus don’t fix the underlying problem.  Ive removed it often (sometimes with my pocket knife..) but it comes back.  The foot doc said it was due to my over-pronation I have in my stride likely due to my flat feet.  I understand you don’t want to steer me wrong but I think I may give these a try.

    • K H

      I actually have this issue with the overgrown callus on the outer edge of the big toe.  Is this related to PF?

  • Dan T

    Im really happy to hear this story!  I also have flat feet and have issues with PF.  My question is, before doing this program did you have the issue of having overgrown callus on the outer edge of your big toe, and if so, did you see any reduction in this?  I understand that the callus is there to stop my foot from blistering, but when I go long distances that toe feels like it is forced up and the joint gets irritated. 

  • http://www.briangreen.net/ Brian Green

    Hi Dan, I don’t have any calluses on my feet yet alone ‘the captain!’ I’m no expert of foot medicine or rehabilitation and wouldn’t want to steer you in the wrong direction with bad or inaccurate advice.

    Have you tried going to a podiatrist to get the calluses looked at? I know that calluses are caused by repeated pressure or friction to the skina and are created to protect it.

    I believe that you need to focus on treating the cause of the pressure or friction by looking at your footwear and/or using corn pads to relieve the pressure. Failing that the old trick that I know of is to use frequent hot foot baths with a pumice stone to slowly smooth down the hard skin. You could also look at using over-the-counter (nonprescription) salicylic acid products?

    As I said, I’m no expert, that’s about the limit of my knowledge on the subject. ^BG

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Evan-Lomas/100000279430614 Evan Lomas

    If after the the process you stop wearing the insoles, will the process reverse?  

    • http://www.briangreen.net Brian Green

      Evan, I’m told that the process and my new found arches can regress over time. The good news is that a short period of wearing the inserts should be all it takes to remind my foot muscles of where they need to be.

      I’ll be paying close attention to this over the next 6-12 months to see what happens. I’ll post updates along the way.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Evan-Lomas/100000279430614 Evan Lomas

    If after the the process you stop wearing the insoles, will the process reverse?  

  • sygyzy

    Excuse the ignorance but what are the issues with having flat feet? I hear runners talk about things like high arches or flat feet or pronation, etc but I don’t understand what the problem is. Is it universally bad to have flat feet? Isn’t it a pretty common problem? I am surprised you can correct this by just wearing insoles. It’s amazing.

    • http://www.briangreen.net Brian Green

      I’m no expert here, but have had to deal with flat feet all my life. In my case the symptoms of having flat feet are that I experienced regular pain in my heel and arch areas.

      I also over pronate, meaning my ankle rolls inward causing my knees, hips, and lower back to be slightly out of proper alignment. Those issues in turn have caused flexibility problems and even flared up sciatica or trapped nerves in my lower back on and off over the years.

      I’m an active practitioner of karate and jiu-jitsu, often spending a lot of time standing in strenuous postures for forms and exercises. I’ve found that the soles of my feet can become unbearably painful some nights because of my flat feet.

      It is commonly believed that just having flat feet is a bad thing, but that is a misconception. Having weak flat feet is what’s bad! The Barefoot insoles stimulated the muscles in the sole of my feet (not my arches) to the point where they returned to a more optimal position.

      Hope that helps, like I said I’m no expert.

  • sygyzy

    Excuse the ignorance but what are the issues with having flat feet? I hear runners talk about things like high arches or flat feet or pronation, etc but I don’t understand what the problem is. Is it universally bad to have flat feet? Isn’t it a pretty common problem? I am surprised you can correct this by just wearing insoles. It’s amazing.

  • Dan T

     Thanks for all the suggestions but all the methods to remove the callus don’t fix the underlying problem.  Ive removed it often (sometimes with my pocket knife..) but it comes back.  The foot doc said it was due to my over-pronation I have in my stride likely due to my flat feet.  I understand you don’t want to steer me wrong but I think I may give these a try.

  • http://www.briangreen.net/ Brian Green

    Evan, I’m told that the process and my new found arches can regress over time. The good news is that a short period of wearing the inserts should be all it takes to remind my foot muscles of where they need to be.

    I’ll be paying close attention to this over the next 6-12 months to see what happens. I’ll post updates along the way.

  • http://www.briangreen.net/ Brian Green

    I’m no expert here, but have had to deal with flat feet all my life. In my case the symptoms of having flat feet are that I experienced regular pain in my heel and arch areas.

    I also over pronate, meaning my ankle rolls inward causing my knees, hips, and lower back to be slightly out of proper alignment. Those issues in turn have caused flexibility problems and even flared up sciatica or trapped nerves in my lower back on and off over the years.

    I’m an active practitioner of karate and jiu-jitsu, often spending a lot of time standing in strenuous postures for forms and exercises. I’ve found that the soles of my feet can become unbearably painful some nights because of my flat feet.

    It is commonly believed that just having flat feet is a bad thing, but that is a misconception. Having weak flat feet is what’s bad! The Barefoot insoles stimulated the muscles in the sole of my feet (not my arches) to the point where they returned to a more optimal position.

    Hope that helps, like I said I’m no expert.

  • K H

    I have struggled with Plantar Fasciitis for years, and thought this was the solution….but….is this a real company?  Their website images are not showing up at the bottom, and the store directs to a link which appears that either the domain name has expired or something else is seriously wrong.  I was going to purchase these, but if the manufacturer can’t keep the website from looking like something made in China….not so sure if I feel comfortable.

  • K H

    I have struggled with Plantar Fasciitis for years, and thought this was the solution….but….is this a real company?  Their website images are not showing up at the bottom, and the store directs to a link which appears that either the domain name has expired or something else is seriously wrong.  I was going to purchase these, but if the manufacturer can’t keep the website from looking like something made in China….not so sure if I feel comfortable.

  • K H

    I actually have this issue with the overgrown callus on the outer edge of the big toe.  Is this related to PF?

  • Pmalleret
  • Pmalleret
  • K H

    The website appears to be working now….but there are still issues with it, and server timeouts.  You would think with a store, they would get someone to fix their issues.

  • Morten Munkholm

    Maybe I’m missing something here but the only outcome from this ordeal that you point out is that you are no longer flatfooted. And as you correctly write there is nothing wrong with having flat feet as long as they are strong flat feet. So why is it important if you are no longer flatfooted? However, it is important whether your pain from plantar fasciitis has subsided or disappeared. You wrote earlier that this is what you hoped these insoles would cure. So did they cure your PF?

    • http://www.briangreen.net Brian Green

      Morten, the first and most visible step to improving my feet was to strengthen them and form a more natural arch. Flat feet aren’t bad, as I said, but mine were somewhat flat and weak. Now thy are much stronger.

      My PF pain and discomfort has not entirely gone, but the new strength in my feet has helped to significantly reduce the pain that I was experiencing. I didn’t mention that my PF had been ‘cured’ because it hasn’t, at least not entirely – and maybe it won’t?

      I’ve been told that to rehabilitate your feet entirely and eradicate plantar fasciitis may take a year or more. It’s a journey and I didn’t expect these inserts to really do anything at all for my feet. I was a total skeptic, but the improvement of my arches was far and beyond my wildest expectations and that made me stop and think twice.

      I’m keeping up with the system by wearing the #6 insert as often as I can. The PF pain is slowly getting better and some days are better than others, but that’s the part that I’m told is going to take time. I can’t guarantee that this inserts will work for everyone or anyone else, all I can do is share my personal experience and provide that as additional information to help you make a decision on what you want to do.

      Do you suffer with flat feet and/or PF? If so, what have you tried to remedy that?

  • Morten Munkholm

    Maybe I’m missing something here but the only outcome from this ordeal that you point out is that you are no longer flatfooted. And as you correctly write there is nothing wrong with having flat feet as long as they are strong flat feet. So why is it important if you are no longer flatfooted? However, it is important whether your pain from plantar fasciitis has subsided or disappeared. You wrote earlier that this is what you hoped these insoles would cure. So did they cure your PF?

  • http://www.briangreen.net/ Brian Green

    Morten, the first and most visible step to improving my feet was to strengthen them and form a more natural arch. Flat feet aren’t bad, as I said, but mine were somewhat flat and weak. Now thy are much stronger.

    My PF pain and discomfort has not entirely gone, but the new strength in my feet has helped to significantly reduce the pain that I was experiencing. I didn’t mention that my PF had been ‘cured’ because it hasn’t, at least not entirely – and maybe it won’t?

    I’ve been told that to rehabilitate your feet entirely and eradicate plantar fasciitis may take a year or more. It’s a journey and I didn’t expect these inserts to really do anything at all for my feet. I was a total skeptic, but the improvement of my arches was far and beyond my wildest expectations and that made me stop and think twice.

    I’m keeping up with the system by wearing the #6 insert as often as I can. The PF pain is slowly getting better and some days are better than others, but that’s the part that I’m told is going to take time. I can’t guarantee that this inserts will work for everyone or anyone else, all I can do is share my personal experience and provide that as additional information to help you make a decision on what you want to do.

    Do you suffer with flat feet and/or PF? If so, what have you tried to remedy that?

  • Morten Munkholm

    Thanks for your reply. You should include what you just wrote in your review of the product as it is very important for the overall evaluation of the product. In addition, it is a very good and balanced walkthrough of your trials with the injury.

    I’ve had PF for 2 years soon, and 3 months ago it climaxed in a partial rupture of the tendon itself. This has now healed almost and I’m running again, but unfortunately soreness is to be expected for up to a year. So it will be hard to tell if future soreness is from the rupture or PF. It’s still sore when walking barefoot but running is no problem, even barefoot.

    Before the rupture I tried every treatment out there like everyone else with PF, but couldn’t make it go away. I had best success with orthotics with arch support that actually made the symptoms disappear for a few months, but unfortunately I didn’t strengthen my foot at the same time so the problems returned.

    After studying PF extensively I have come to pretty much the same conclusion as what they describe on toesalad.com. I do a lot of strengthening for the foot, especially the doming exercise which seems to be the only way to strengthen the intrinsic muscles of the foot instead of the extrinsic muscles that are trained with toe curls and other conventional foot exercises. Check out this pdf which can be found online by googling “Evaluation and retraining of the intrinsic foot muscles for pain syndromes related to abnormal control of pronation”.

    I’ve been doing a lot of research on the barefoot science insoles and everything seems quite positive although I’m a bit scared of the whole “TV Shop” look of the product. I’ve just ordered them though because I am just too curious to see if they really strengthen the foot. They were out of stock in my size so I’ll have to wait a couple of weeks, but I’ll definitely give my opinion on your blog after I’ve used them if you don’t mind.

    It is interesting how the doming exercise previously mentioned seems to be quite similar to what happens to the foot while using the barefoot science insoles. And this is what really makes me curious as to the effectiveness of the product.

  • Morten Munkholm

    Thanks for your reply. You should include what you just wrote in your review of the product as it is very important for the overall evaluation of the product. In addition, it is a very good and balanced walkthrough of your trials with the injury.

    I’ve had PF for 2 years soon, and 3 months ago it climaxed in a partial rupture of the tendon itself. This has now healed almost and I’m running again, but unfortunately soreness is to be expected for up to a year. So it will be hard to tell if future soreness is from the rupture or PF. It’s still sore when walking barefoot but running is no problem, even barefoot.

    Before the rupture I tried every treatment out there like everyone else with PF, but couldn’t make it go away. I had best success with orthotics with arch support that actually made the symptoms disappear for a few months, but unfortunately I didn’t strengthen my foot at the same time so the problems returned.

    After studying PF extensively I have come to pretty much the same conclusion as what they describe on toesalad.com. I do a lot of strengthening for the foot, especially the doming exercise which seems to be the only way to strengthen the intrinsic muscles of the foot instead of the extrinsic muscles that are trained with toe curls and other conventional foot exercises. Check out this pdf which can be found online by googling “Evaluation and retraining of the intrinsic foot muscles for pain syndromes related to abnormal control of pronation”.

    I’ve been doing a lot of research on the barefoot science insoles and everything seems quite positive although I’m a bit scared of the whole “TV Shop” look of the product. I’ve just ordered them though because I am just too curious to see if they really strengthen the foot. They were out of stock in my size so I’ll have to wait a couple of weeks, but I’ll definitely give my opinion on your blog after I’ve used them if you don’t mind.

    It is interesting how the doming exercise previously mentioned seems to be quite similar to what happens to the foot while using the barefoot science insoles. And this is what really makes me curious as to the effectiveness of the product.

  • DD Longlegs

    I am up to the 4th level of insert now and feel it is making a difference in my “collapsed” left arch. On printing my feet (like you did for a before and after pic) I was surprised to find that this arch does not look that different from the right one but it really feels flatter and strained…less so now that I am using the insole. My question though was do you use these with your minimalist shoes too? And if so, does this not defeat the purpose of a minimalist shoe?

    • http://www.briangreen.net Brian Green

      I don’t wear the inserts with my minimalist shoes or sandals. The time when I was going through the various phases of wearing these inserts was when it was cold, so I wore regular shoes (non-zero drop). The ongoing challenge is to keep my feet healthy and maintain my arch while not wearing them – for that I am doing exrecises with my feet and using tennis balls to stimulate the underneath of my feet.

  • DD Longlegs

    I am up to the 4th level of insert now and feel it is making a difference in my “collapsed” left arch. On printing my feet (like you did for a before and after pic) I was surprised to find that this arch does not look that different from the right one but it really feels flatter and strained…less so now that I am using the insole. My question though was do you use these with your minimalist shoes too? And if so, does this not defeat the purpose of a minimalist shoe?

  • http://www.briangreen.net/ Brian Green

    I don’t wear the inserts with my minimalist shoes or sandals. The time when I was going through the various phases of wearing these inserts was when it was cold, so I wore regular shoes (non-zero drop). The ongoing challenge is to keep my feet healthy and maintain my arch while not wearing them – for that I am doing exrecises with my feet and using tennis balls to stimulate the underneath of my feet.

  • markeschell

    Brian,

    One year later, how do you feel about this product? I’m curious about its long term success. I have awful flat fee issues and a friend referred me to your blog. I appreciate the review.

    • Victor

      Same here. I have the same issues and would love to hear your final verdict, Brian

  • Jesica

    So it has been a year since you’ve used the Barefoot Science system. How are your feet? Have you been able to maintain the arches? Have you experienced foot pain? I would like to hear about the long term affects of the product. Thanks!

  • Louis WRIGHT

    Looking at you foot imprint, I think it really went well for you. I should try this.