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Advice please on Achilles tendon

Time of past OR future Camino
2019, 2020
I have a mild yet uncomfortable tendon issue in my left Achilles area. With ibuprofen it quite a down and I can walk ok. I’m only coming into Burgos in the next couple of days and want to make it to de Santiago. Any advice from seasoned travellers on maintaining or healing (🤞🏽) the problem much appreciated. Am resting today and again in Burgos for a day. Thanks.
 
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Robo

Veteran Member
Time of past OR future Camino
Frances 2015,
2016, 2018
VdlP 2023
I have chronic Achilles tendonitis and have managed 3 Caminos so far. (though not painless)
I would go to see a Physio (Fisio) in Burgos. They are great in Spain.
They will advise on treatment.

For me it usually involves:

Stretching. Physio will show you how.
Strapping. The Physio can show you how to do yourself.
Icing 2 or 3 times a day.
Elevation at breaks.
Careful use of Painkillers and anti-inflammatories.

With care you'll be fine.

Lots of Fisios in Burgos. Just google "fisioterapia burgos"
Maybe call ahead to book an appointment.
They are good at dealing with Pilgrim's ailments.

'Healing' is unlikely. As you are still walking.
But you can 'manage' it, and try to minimise the discomfort. ;)
 
Last edited:
Time of past OR future Camino
2019, 2020
I have chronic Achilles tendonitis and have managed 3 Caminos so far. (though not painless)
I would go to see a Physio (Fisio) in Burgos. They are great in Spain.
They will advise on treatment.

For me it usually involves:

Stretching. Physio will show you how.
Strapping. The Physio can show you how to do yourself.
Icing 2 or 3 times a day.
Elevation at breaks.
Careful use of Painkillers and anti-inflammatories.

With care you'll be fine.

Lots of Fisios in Burgos. Just google "fisioterapia burgos"
Maybe call ahead to book an appointment.
They are good at dealing with Pilgrim's ailments.

'Healing' is unlikely. As you are still walking.
But you can 'manage' it, and try to minimise the discomfort. ;)
Thank you! So good to hear you’re 3 Camino’s in with tendinitis - gives me great hope and courage. I’ve read anti inflammatories can be counter beneficial. Is this your experience?
 

Robo

Veteran Member
Time of past OR future Camino
Frances 2015,
2016, 2018
VdlP 2023
Thank you! So good to hear you’re 3 Camino’s in with tendinitis - gives me great hope and courage. I’ve read anti inflammatories can be counter beneficial. Is this your experience?

No, they help. For me at least.
I take panadol + nurofen every 4 hours whilst walking. (my GP's advice)
Nurofen I try to take with food.
The effect starts to wear off at 3 hrs 30 mins! Yes, I notice the difference.......
But I suggest you get professional advice from a Pharmacia or Physio, for your own condition.
 
Last edited:
Time of past OR future Camino
2019, 2020
No, they help. For me at least.
I take panadol + nurofen every 4 hours whilst walking. (my GP's advice)
Nurofen I try to take with food.
The effect starts to wear off at 3 hrs 30 mins! I notice the difference.......
But I suggest you get professional advice from a Pharmacia or Physio, for your own condition.
🙏🏿!
 
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Pafayac

On the way...
Time of past OR future Camino
2021: Le Puy-Cahors. 2022: Cahors-Puente La Reina.
Against tandonitis, comfrey (consuelda in spanish) is efficient, either as a balm or oil.
But I do not know how to find such a remedy on the camino. I never walk without a little pot of comfrey balm.
 

Pafayac

On the way...
Time of past OR future Camino
2021: Le Puy-Cahors. 2022: Cahors-Puente La Reina.
I guess that you know that avoiding tandonitis needs to drink lot of water while walking ? Before being thirsty you should drink water.
 

MichelleElynHogan

Veteran Member
If wanting to get on the healing trail, I might suggest taking the Advice that Robo has provided and start searching the internet for what you need. That may help get you to Burgos in better form.

Buen Camino
 
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Time of past OR future Camino
2019, 2020
If wanting to get on the healing trail, I might suggest taking the Advice that Robo has provided and start searching the internet for what you need. That may help get you to Burgos in better form.

Buen Camino
Thanks Michelle I’ve been doing that exactly but there’s plenty of conflicting opinions. I thought I’d check in with ‘lived experience’!
 

mattythedog

Member
Time of past OR future Camino
2022
I have chronic Achilles tendonitis and have managed 3 Caminos so far. (though not painless)
I would go to see a Physio (Fisio) in Burgos. They are great in Spain.
They will advise on treatment.

For me it usually involves:

Stretching. Physio will show you how.
Strapping. The Physio can show you how to do yourself.
Icing 2 or 3 times a day.
Elevation at breaks.
Careful use of Painkillers and anti-inflammatories.

With care you'll be fine.

Lots of Fisios in Burgos. Just google "fisioterapia burgos"
Maybe call ahead to book an appointment.
They are good at dealing with Pilgrim's ailments.

'Healing' is unlikely. As you are still walking.
But you can 'manage' it, and try to minimise the discomfort. ;)
I also had tendonitis in both achilles for last 3 Caminos. What worked for me at 62 yrs old and 175 lbs: Took 600mg ibuprofen 3x per day, 0600, 1400, 2200, always with lots of water and some food so as not to irritate stomach lining. Applied Voltaren gel to ankles 2x per day, 0600 and 1800. Drank profuse amounts of water throughout the day. My calf muscles were too tight from lack of stretching over the years. Performed various stretching exercises each morning and throughout the day. Used a roller to deep massage the calves several times a day. When this first happened in 2019, I slowed down to half distance for 2 days, took a day off to get better innersoles in Leon and do some easy sightseeing. 2 more half days, and then got back up to 40km/day. Try to walk without pounding and do shorter smoother paces. Stop anytime discomfort acts up and stretch; change the gait a bit. I always use trekking poles to full advantage 100% of the trek!!! Reduce the junk you carry in your pack. Got mine down to 10 lbs base weight, 12.5 lbs including water and food. Per other advice in this blog, you should immediately see a clinician for advice tailored to your specific situation.
 
Time of past OR future Camino
2019, 2020
I also had tendonitis in both achilles for last 3 Caminos. What worked for me at 62 yrs old and 175 lbs: Took 600mg ibuprofen 3x per day, 0600, 1400, 2200, always with lots of water and some food so as not to irritate stomach lining. Applied Voltaren gel to ankles 2x per day, 0600 and 1800. Drank profuse amounts of water throughout the day. My calf muscles were too tight from lack of stretching over the years. Performed various stretching exercises each morning and throughout the day. Used a roller to deep massage the calves several times a day. When this first happened in 2019, I slowed down to half distance for 2 days, took a day off to get better innersoles in Leon and do some easy sightseeing. 2 more half days, and then got back up to 40km/day. Try to walk without pounding and do shorter smoother paces. Stop anytime discomfort acts up and stretch; change the gait a bit. I always use trekking poles to full advantage 100% of the trek!!! Reduce the junk you carry in your pack. Got mine down to 10 lbs base weight, 12.5 lbs including water and food. Per other advice in this blog, you should immediately see a clinician for advice tailored to your specific situation.
Thank you so much. This is really helpful. Just one more question(I’ll be definitely following your advice) - does the careful gentle walking aggravate your tendinitis and make it worse?
 

Scott Fraser

Member
Time of past OR future Camino
Frances 2017, 2018
Le Puy - SJPdP 2019
I have a mild yet uncomfortable tendon issue in my left Achilles area. With ibuprofen it quite a down and I can walk ok. I’m only coming into Burgos in the next couple of days and want to make it to de Santiago. Any advice from seasoned travellers on maintaining or healing (🤞🏽) the problem much appreciated. Am resting today and again in Burgos for a day. Thanks.
Are you stretching regularly? I had a very painful Achilles tendon for over a year. Turns out my problem was caused by a tight calf muscle.

A massage should relax the muscle. Regular stretching (3-4 times / day while walking) will keep the calf muscles long, which takes pressure off the tendon. It worked for me. YMMV. Good luck.
 
Time of past OR future Camino
2019, 2020
Are you stretching regularly? I had a very painful Achilles tendon for over a year. Turns out my problem was caused by a tight calf muscle.

A massage should relax the muscle. Regular stretching (3-4 times / day while walking) will keep the calf muscles long, which takes pressure off the tendon. It worked for me. YMMV. Good luck.
…I will be from here on in! Thanks Scott - can I ask which calf stretches work best for you?
 
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Scott Fraser

Member
Time of past OR future Camino
Frances 2017, 2018
Le Puy - SJPdP 2019
Are you stretching regularly? I had a very painful Achilles tendon for over a year. Turns out my problem was caused by a tight calf muscle.

A massage should relax the muscle. Regular stretching (3-4 times / day while walking) will keep the calf muscles long, which takes pressure off the tendon. It worked for me. YMMV. Good luck.
…I will be from here on in! Thanks Scott - can I ask which calf stretches work best for you?
I usually do a strong forward lean with the heel on the floor. One foot then the other. Rinse and repeat.
 
Time of past OR future Camino
Yearly and Various 2014-2019
Via Monastica 2022
A visit to a physio in Burgos might also be worth your while. I saw one for another kind of tendonitis issue and the work they did was really helpful - as was the advice about specific treatment. It wasn't in Burgos, but Google and the pilgrim grapevine will lead you to the right place.
Buen camino, Tess!
 

SioCamino

Active Member
Time of past OR future Camino
CF 2015, CPo 2016, VDLP[Sev-Các] 2017, VDLP[Các-Sal] 2018
I had severe pain on my ankle related to my achilles tendon on one of my first caminos - I went too far too fast early on. But besides regular massage of voltarol i found that putting in gel heel inserts into my boots helped hugely and stopped the problem from reoccurring. Hope this helps, buen camino!
 

DeansFamily

Active Member
Time of past OR future Camino
Frances 18/916/10/17 Muxia/Finisterre 18/10-22/10/17 Norte 21/4-29/5/18 Primitive 20/9-5/10/18 VdlP
Possibly look at buying gel heel wedges as it reduces the overstretching of the Achilles tendons which is one of the mechanical reasons for Achilles tendonitis. Seeing a Physio now allows a professional diagnosis and accurate treatment to keep you going, identity if it's an upper, mid or heel attachment issue and not make the tendon worse by damaging it more . Good luck and Buen Camino.
 

Ultreia et Suseia!

Camino training yields the best packing list!
Time of past OR future Camino
From O Porto in September.
Just in case you're wearing zero-drop shoes.... they gave me tendonitis. Once I replaced them with nice and cushy 3-5mm shoes, tendonitis be gone! 🤓
 
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trecile

Moderator
Staff member
Time of past OR future Camino
PAST - Francés, Norte, Salvador, Portuguese
Just in case you're wearing zero-drop shoes.... they gave me tendonitis. Once I replaced them with nice and cushy 3-5mm shoes, tendonitis be gone! 🤓
One reason why the following works for some people
Possibly look at buying gel heel wedges as it reduces the overstretching of the Achilles tendons which is one of the mechanical reasons for Achilles tendonitis.
 
Time of past OR future Camino
2019, 2020
I had severe pain on my ankle related to my achilles tendon on one of my first caminos - I went too far too fast early on. But besides regular massage of voltarol i found that putting in gel heel inserts into my boots helped hugely and stopped the problem from reoccurring. Hope this helps, buen camino!
Did you keep going without further injury?
 
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Time of past OR future Camino
2019, 2020
Possibly look at buying gel heel wedges as it reduces the overstretching of the Achilles tendons which is one of the mechanical reasons for Achilles tendonitis. Seeing a Physio now allows a professional diagnosis and accurate treatment to keep you going, identity if it's an upper, mid or heel attachment issue and not make the tendon worse by damaging it more . Good luck and Buen Camino.
Good idea. Heading to Burgos today for a physio appointment. 🤞🏽
 

mattythedog

Member
Time of past OR future Camino
2022
Thank you so much. This is really helpful. Just one more question(I’ll be definitely following your advice) - does the careful gentle walking aggravate your tendinitis and make it worse?
No. Careful, gentle slower walking is easier on the tendons. I think it is the impact from coming down hard and impulse from strong push offs that exacerbate. Adding heel pads inside the shoes may also help as calf doesn’t have to extend as much
 
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Ultreia et Suseia!

Camino training yields the best packing list!
Time of past OR future Camino
From O Porto in September.
Seriously? That quickly wow. I have orthotics which were meant to help. Will see a physio today and then get on with it.
Yes, I bought the wrong shoes (Altra) for my camino before consulting with a podiatrist 🤦🏻‍♀️ they felt wonderful.... at the store.
 

hieudovan

DoVanHieu
Time of past OR future Camino
2021
I have a mild yet uncomfortable tendon issue in my left Achilles area. With ibuprofen it quite a down and I can walk ok. I’m only coming into Burgos in the next couple of days and want to make it to de Santiago. Any advice from seasoned travellers on maintaining or healing (🤞🏽) the problem much appreciated. Am resting today and again in Burgos for a day. Thanks.
I too walked my first Camino with a sore/tender Achilles tendon. I agree with most of the advice that I've read so far: warm up in the morning by stretching before walking, install "heel lifts" in shoes, use 2 hiking poles, take breaks and monitor the Achilles as one walks, massage the Achilles during after walking, etc... The usual common sense stuff. I do have one disagreement. I do not take "pain" medicine such as Ibuprofen during the day/walking. It only masks the pain without promoting healing. From my perspective, it is actually a bad thing to do. The "pain" medicine masks the pain/discomfort resulting in my walking more when I should be slowing down or taking care of it. I would only use pain medicine (pills or cream) after I'm done with walking for the day. Of course, you should consult a professional on your situation. Best wishes and buen camino.
 

Lurch

Active Member
Time of past OR future Camino
looking at 2018-2019
I would advise checking in with a specialist before walking. I speak from experience. About 10 years ago I was walking down the stairs in front of my house when I fell flat on my face. Went to the ER on disaster training day, got stuck behind the fake heart attacks and had the doctor on duty misdiagnose it. As a result I went off to San Jose (CAL) for two weeks. By the time I returned home and the MRI showed the damage, the repair work was more complicated and I ended up in a cast for a month. When later my other tendon was diagnosed as stretching and thinning, I had it surgerized ASAP. Not one to advocate surgery when not needed, but if I had been walking the Camino at the time, I wouldn’t have gotten far.

Just an advisory message.
 
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Time of past OR future Camino
2019, 2020
I too walked my first Camino with a sore/tender Achilles tendon. I agree with most of the advice that I've read so far: warm up in the morning by stretching before walking, install "heel lifts" in shoes, use 2 hiking poles, take breaks and monitor the Achilles as one walks, massage the Achilles during after walking, etc... The usual common sense stuff. I do have one disagreement. I do not take "pain" medicine such as Ibuprofen during the day/walking. It only masks the pain without promoting healing. From my perspective, it is actually a bad thing to do. The "pain" medicine masks the pain/discomfort resulting in my walking more when I should be slowing down or taking care of it. I would only use pain medicine (pills or cream) after I'm done with walking for the day. Of course, you should consult a professional on your situation. Best wishes and buen camino.
…that’s interesting. I’ve been to the physio and had treatment and for the moment, I’m not taking anything to gauge how it’s healing. I think there’s some progress - I read that resting as much as you can for the first 3-4 days is very important. I’m doing just that so 🤞🏽for recovery!
 

anandachick

New Member
Time of past OR future Camino
Camino Frances 2003
I just did that to get ready for the Camino and I have been battling Achilles tendinitis even with physical therapy with no results! This helps me so much!!
What shoes did you switch to? I am going to find new ones as I do not walk the Camino for another month.
 

mattythedog

Member
Time of past OR future Camino
2022
I too walked my first Camino with a sore/tender Achilles tendon. I agree with most of the advice that I've read so far: warm up in the morning by stretching before walking, install "heel lifts" in shoes, use 2 hiking poles, take breaks and monitor the Achilles as one walks, massage the Achilles during after walking, etc... The usual common sense stuff. I do have one disagreement. I do not take "pain" medicine such as Ibuprofen during the day/walking. It only masks the pain without promoting healing. From my perspective, it is actually a bad thing to do. The "pain" medicine masks the pain/discomfort resulting in my walking more when I should be slowing down or taking care of it. I would only use pain medicine (pills or cream) after I'm done with walking for the day. Of course, you should consult a professional on your situation. Best wishes and buen camino.
Actually ibuprofen is an anti inflammatory in the higher doses (for me 600mg) in addition to being a pain reliever
 

Ultreia et Suseia!

Camino training yields the best packing list!
Time of past OR future Camino
From O Porto in September.
What shoes did you switch to? I am going to find new ones as I do not walk the Camino for another month.
In case it helps, I switched from Altras to wide, New Balance 880 v12 Fresh Foam.... the greater heel drop was like night and day!.... if you live by a NB store, they have amazing foot scanners.

I agree with @Lurch, seeing a specialist is the best advice because they can analyse your feet mechanics.
 

anandachick

New Member
Time of past OR future Camino
Camino Frances 2003
In case it helps, I switched from Altras to wide, New Balance 880 v12 Fresh Foam.... the greater heel drop was like night and day!.... if you live by a NB store, they have amazing foot scanners.

I agree with @Lurch, seeing a specialist is the best advice because they can analyse your feet mechanics.
I have been seeing a physical therapist for the past two months. And they have not even mentioned my footwear. I was the one that brought it up to them. Sigh.. time for a new therapist. Thanks so much!
 
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Camino training yields the best packing list!
Time of past OR future Camino
From O Porto in September.
I have been seeing a physical therapist for the past two months. And they have not even mentioned my footwear. I was the one that brought it up to them. Sigh.. time for a new therapist. Thanks so much!
I saw a podiatrist I trust, the best spent $75 🤓
 

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