The short foot exercise is commonly used to treat flat or pronated feet, but there is very little evidence to support it use
Barefoot running was a fad a few years ago. It was somewhat controversial due to all the claims that were made for. It turned out once the science was done, the benefits were just not there and runners have lost interest in it.
Most Useful Resources:
Podiatry and Barefoot Running (PodiaPaedia)
Barefoot Running Threads (Podiatry Arena)
Barefoot Running (Podiatry TV)
Barefoot Running (Foot Health Forum)
What evidence is there that ‘barefoot’ running is better to reduce injury risk? (Running Research Junkie)
Barefoot Running is Bad (Barefoot Running is Bad)
My Advice for Barefoot Running Injury (Running Injury Advice)
Pain in the ball of the foot can be many different things, ranging from a plantar plate dysfunction, to a stress fracture to a mortons neuroma. Sometime the differential is easy and sometimes it is difficult. Getting it right is so important as each cause of ball-of-foot-pain has a different treatment.