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Blister and injury prevention

2020 Camino Guides

Audrey McAllister

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances 2020
Hi everyone,
I am about to do my first Camino Frances in March, it will be my first long distance hike and I would be grateful for anyone’s advise on blister kits (what to take) and any tips to prevent or help with muscle pain/fatigue along the way.
I am reasonably fit but have never hiked for longer than 3 days so want to be prepared.
Thanks!!
 
Camino(s) past & future
2013.2014..SJ/SDC ....2015.PORTO/SDC..2017.18.19.20.BURGOS/P.FERRADA
Hi everyone,
I am about to do my first Camino Frances in March, it will be my first long distance hike and I would be grateful for anyone’s advise on blister kits (what to take) and any tips to prevent or help with muscle pain/fatigue along the way.
I am reasonably fit but have never hiked for longer than 3 days so want to be prepared.
Thanks!!
Welcome and all best wishes with your planning.Check out the medical section of this forum and you should find all the information you will need.Buen Camino.
 

wayfarer

Moderator
Staff member
Camino(s) past & future
SJPP-Santiago-Finistera-Muxia. April/May 2012
Sarria-Santiago Sept. 2013
SJPP - Almost Orrison April 2014
Welcome Audrey, as you are from Australia I would recommend that you buy some Silic 15 cream, my brother brought me some from there when we walked in 2012 and it works, nary a blister. Rub a little into your feet first thing in the morning before you sock up, in the areas where blisters are likely to occur, heels toes etc, give it a minute to dry in and the sock up. We also used the double sock method, light innner socks or pop socks and your regular sock outside, this also helps to reduce friction and prevent blisters.
Happy planning and Buen Camino.
 

Attachments

mark camilli

dandydon
Camino(s) past & future
Frances & Fini/Muxia 2016, Coastal Portuguese 2018, Fatima 2019, Mozarabe 2020
Was given a tip before I started my first camino from a fellow pilgrim & pharmacist here in france and having done 3 caminos now with only a hot spot ( not blister) once it certainly works. Double socks and smere your feet with Vicks Vaporub before you start each morning.

Apparently Vaseline is as good but you dont get the lovely smell!!

Buen camino
 

Audrey McAllister

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances 2020
Welcome Audrey, as you are from Australia I would recommend that you buy some Silic 15 cream, my brother brought me some from there when we walked in 2012 and it works, nary a blister. Rub a little into your feet first thing in the morning before you sock up, in the areas where blisters are likely to occur, heels toes etc, give it a minute to dry in and the sock up. We also used the double sock method, light innner socks or pop socks and your regular sock outside, this also helps to reduce friction and prevent blisters.
Happy planning and Buen Camino.
I’m actually already in France, do you know of a French/European equivalent?
 

wayfarer

Moderator
Staff member
Camino(s) past & future
SJPP-Santiago-Finistera-Muxia. April/May 2012
Sarria-Santiago Sept. 2013
SJPP - Almost Orrison April 2014
I’m actually already in France, do you know of a French/European equivalent?
If you can find a Booths pharmacy, they stock "Gloves in a bottle" its pretty much the same product. Failing that my next product is Vicks believe it or not, I find it much better than Vaseline and won't make a mess of your socks.
Hope this helps.
 

Audrey McAllister

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances 2020
If you can find a Booths pharmacy, they stock "Gloves in a bottle" its pretty much the same product. Failing that my next product is Vicks believe it or not, I find it much better than Vaseline and won't make a mess of your socks.
Hope this helps.
That helps a lot thank you.
 
Camino(s) past & future
cycled from Pamplona Sep 2015;Frances, walked from St Jean May/June 2017. Plans to walk Porto 2020
Hola @Audrey McAllister I also welcome you to the forum. I am another of the "two sock" brigade. I walk with a thin liner sock (Injinii toe socks) and a thicker outer pair. Given that you are starting in March there is a greater likelyhood of rain so I would go with medium thick socks. Try to start every day with clean dry socks. (Thus I take three pairs)
My other tip when you stop for lunch or a 10.30/11.00 am coffee take your boots off and maybe even the outer socks. This lets your feet "breath" and the socks release some of that sweet. The moment you feel a "hot spot"; stop; take-off your boot(s) and socks and check out the hot spot.
From here on it depends upon your personal preference as to what you do next. For me its Kinesiology Tape (it comes in three colours at least - blue; black and red - its the tape you often see on the back of footballers(soccer) legs). My "camino daughter" put me onto it back in 2017, I taped a few hot spots on my heels (you can keep in on for two or three days) and it stopped any blister. Buen Camino!
 

koilife

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
CF w/ son #1 (2013); Logrono-Leon/Salvador/Primitivo w/ son #2 (2016); Portugues w/ son #3 (2020)
Fit is everything.

I wear properly fit, breathable, sturdy trail runners (NOT waterproofed). I replace the liners with heat molded liners that are specifically molded to my foot. And I wear a pair of merino 1/4 ankle hiking socks from Darn Tough.

No liners. No boots. No smears. No waterproofing. No blisters.

That has held true for me---through days and days of hot, cold, and constant rain---for me, my sons, and a half dozen other people whom I've helped to prepare.
 

Craig Towers

Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino de Santiago
Hi everyone,
I am about to do my first Camino Frances in March, it will be my first long distance hike and I would be grateful for anyone’s advise on blister kits (what to take) and any tips to prevent or help with muscle pain/fatigue along the way.
I am reasonably fit but have never hiked for longer than 3 days so want to be prepared.
Thanks!!
Try those tight fitting calf socks. I got shin splints the first one. Tried these worked a treat. Make sure they fit tight for support. Compeed is everywhere in Europe. Much better range.
 

trecile

Camino Addict
Camino(s) past & future
Francés (2016 & 2017), Norte (2018), Francés-Salvador-Norte (2019), Portuguese (2019)
I'm a "taper" i put a strip of Omnifix tape on the balls of my feet every morning, because that's the area where I get hotspots. Omnifix and the similar Hypafix are thin stretchy tapes that conform easily to the contours of your feet. It stays on well but removes easily without leaving a sticky residue. Most farmacias in Spain carry one or the other.
 

Beeks

Member
Camino(s) past & future
(2019) only 2 weeks available! St. Jean PDP - Pamplona, then Sarria - SDC with the family,
Hi everyone,
I am about to do my first Camino Frances in March, it will be my first long distance hike and I would be grateful for anyone’s advise on blister kits (what to take) and any tips to prevent or help with muscle pain/fatigue along the way.
I am reasonably fit but have never hiked for longer than 3 days so want to be prepared.
Thanks!!

My wife, my 3 kids and I did a mini -camino last April. St. Jean to Pamplona. Took the train to Sarria and finished in Santiago de Compestela.

We all
Hi everyone,
I am about to do my first Camino Frances in March, it will be my first long distance hike and I would be grateful for anyone’s advise on blister kits (what to take) and any tips to prevent or help with muscle pain/fatigue along the way.
I am reasonably fit but have never hiked for longer than 3 days so want to be prepared.
Thanks!!
Family did a mini-Camino last April. St. Jean to Pamplona, train to Sarria, then finished in Santiago de Compestela.

We all used Wrightsocks, a double layer sock.

I used breathable trail shoes (Oboz). They all used waterproof trail shoes (Merrell and Oboz).

I was the only one without blisters for the 130 or so miles.

Coincidence?

Buen Camino!
 

Audrey McAllister

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances 2020
Hola @Audrey McAllister I also welcome you to the forum. I am another of the "two sock" brigade. I walk with a thin liner sock (Injinii toe socks) and a thicker outer pair. Given that you are starting in March there is a greater likelyhood of rain so I would go with medium thick socks. Try to start every day with clean dry socks. (Thus I take three pairs)
My other tip when you stop for lunch or a 10.30/11.00 am coffee take your boots off and maybe even the outer socks. This lets your feet "breath" and the socks release some of that sweet. The moment you feel a "hot spot"; stop; take-off your boot(s) and socks and check out the hot spot.
From here on it depends upon your personal preference as to what you do next. For me its Kinesiology Tape (it comes in three colours at least - blue; black and red - its the tape you often see on the back of footballers(soccer) legs). My "camino daughter" put me onto it back in 2017, I taped a few hot spots on my heels (you can keep in on for two or three days) and it stopped any blister. Buen Camino!
That’s all great advice thanks so much!! With the tape for hotspots do you just put a patch on like a bandaid or do you generally need to tape around the foot or ankle to prevent movement?
 

trecile

Camino Addict
Camino(s) past & future
Francés (2016 & 2017), Norte (2018), Francés-Salvador-Norte (2019), Portuguese (2019)
That’s all great advice thanks so much!! With the tape for hotspots do you just put a patch on like a bandaid or do you generally need to tape around the foot or ankle to prevent movement?
The Omnifix tape comes in a wide width. I cut it generously.
 
Camino(s) past & future
2012 Lemovicensis + Francés;
2016 Podiensis + CdN + Fisterra;
2018 VdlP + Sanabrés + Muxia/Fisterra
I tried a whole bunch of all the well known methods to prevent blisters. But after three long caminos (1.000 km at least) I have to say that I got some blisters every time. Not after the first days as you could expect; on my 2nd camino the first blister appeared on the heel after six weeks of walking.
I also tried out different means of blister treatments and finally I came to Compeed (or equivalents). In some cases, however, the blisters appear on places, where these pads can´t be fixed securely. They slip away by the movement of the foot.
But let´s be honest: Isn´t it part of the game to suffer a bit on a pilgrimage? ;)

¡Ultreia!
 
Camino(s) past & future
cycled from Pamplona Sep 2015;Frances, walked from St Jean May/June 2017. Plans to walk Porto 2020
That’s all great advice thanks so much!! With the tape for hotspots do you just put a patch on like a bandaid or do you generally need to tape around the foot or ankle to prevent movement?
Hola Audrey - as long as they are still "hot spots" I just taped over. If a blister (small or large) was evident then I put some "non-stick" padding over the blister and then put the tape over the pad. In this case I would usually change the pad and tape each day (after shower) I would also try to let it dry before putting the dressing on at night. Cheers
 

trecile

Camino Addict
Camino(s) past & future
Francés (2016 & 2017), Norte (2018), Francés-Salvador-Norte (2019), Portuguese (2019)
Hola Audrey - as long as they are still "hot spots" I just taped over. If a blister (small or large) was evident then I put some "non-stick" padding over the blister and then put the tape over the pad. In this case I would usually change the pad and tape each day (after shower) I would also try to let it dry before putting the dressing on at night. Cheers
For a small blister you can use corn cushions to cushion the area around the blister, perhaps enlarging the hole a bit.
For larger blisters you can make a "donut" out of moleskin or molefoam.

Screenshot_20200218-195830_Firefox.jpg
 

C clearly

Moderator
Staff member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances (2012, 2014, 2015, 2016), VDLP (2017), Mozarabe (2018), Vasco/Bayona (2019)
With the tape for hotspots do you just put a patch on like a bandaid or do you generally need to tape around the foot or ankle to prevent movement?
It depends on how much area you think you need to protect, and how well the tape sticks to your feet in that position. Generally I find it sticks quite well, so I apply enough to cover the possible blister area and a little extra, perhaps to wrap around the curve of the foot or toe. I certainly don't need to bind the whole foot.
 

martin1ws

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Somport to Finisterre Jul-Aug 2018
...
I am about to do my first Camino Frances in March, it will be my first long distance hike and I would be grateful for anyone’s advise on blister kits (what to take) and any tips to prevent or help with muscle pain/fatigue along the way.
...
It is not only the blister kit, but...

* well fitting-shoes:

* pack light!

* blister prevention
(interesting website, not only this single page)

* walk at your pace!
walk "your" distance, not more!
start your camino slowly!

* (maybe) poles

---
* the answer to your question:
Advanced Blister Kit (with ENGO Blister Prevention Patches)
... but I do not think that you need to carry all of these things. There are pharmacies where you can buy most of it.
 
Last edited:

Mariy

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
Portuguese Camino 2019
Having the right shoes in my case Altra Lone Peak 4 waterproof, and double socks like Wrightsocks. Treating a blister as soon as it happens with moleskin and second skin liquid bandaid.
 

Jackieduda

Member
Camino(s) past & future
CF September (2018)
Hi everyone,
I am about to do my first Camino Frances in March, it will be my first long distance hike and I would be grateful for anyone’s advise on blister kits (what to take) and any tips to prevent or help with muscle pain/fatigue along the way.
I am reasonably fit but have never hiked for longer than 3 days so want to be prepared.
Thanks!!
Bring a tube of Vaseline. Put some between your toes and under your feet, heels, daily. Yes it gets your socks greasy but it will save your feet. Trust me!
 

Mycroft

Active Member
Hi everyone,
I am about to do my first Camino Frances in March, it will be my first long distance hike and I would be grateful for anyone’s advise on blister kits (what to take) and any tips to prevent or help with muscle pain/fatigue along the way.
I am reasonably fit but have never hiked for longer than 3 days so want to be prepared.
Thanks!!
Compeed blister cushions!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
 

Zordmot

First timer Spring 2019
Camino(s) past & future
April-May 2019
Hi everyone,
I am about to do my first Camino Frances in March, it will be my first long distance hike and I would be grateful for anyone’s advise on blister kits (what to take) and any tips to prevent or help with muscle pain/fatigue along the way.
I am reasonably fit but have never hiked for longer than 3 days so want to be prepared.
Thanks!!
Hi Audrey,

Everyone here has their own story and advice and I’m no exception! I walked it twice. The first time I followed standard advice: I had hiking shoes that fit me well that I wore for many hikes in the months before the Camino. I wore two pr of socks: an under liner and an outer. Well, I ended up with blisters all over both feet and eventually threw the shoes away at about the halfway point. When I got home I saw a podiatrist that was very helpful. He suggested that I get a pedicure each month prior to walking it again and that I wear one thin pr of sox and hiking sandals. He suggested that each morning I put tape ( I used Ace athletic tape) on all the places where I had blisters previously. The second time I walked the Camino I followed his advice regarding pedicures, daily tape, single socks, and Keen hiking sandals and I did not get a single blister or hot spot on the entire CF and the 200 km I walked afterwards on the CN.
 

trecile

Camino Addict
Camino(s) past & future
Francés (2016 & 2017), Norte (2018), Francés-Salvador-Norte (2019), Portuguese (2019)

Mycroft

Active Member
Hi Audrey,

Everyone here has their own story and advice and I’m no exception! I walked it twice. The first time I followed standard advice: I had hiking shoes that fit me well that I wore for many hikes in the months before the Camino. I wore two pr of socks: an under liner and an outer. Well, I ended up with blisters all over both feet and eventually threw the shoes away at about the halfway point. When I got home I saw a podiatrist that was very helpful. He suggested that I get a pedicure each month prior to walking it again and that I wear one thin pr of sox and hiking sandals. He suggested that each morning I put tape ( I used Ace athletic tape) on all the places where I had blisters previously. The second time I walked the Camino I followed his advice regarding pedicures, daily tape, single socks, and Keen hiking sandals and I did not get a single blister or hot spot on the entire CF and the 200 km I walked afterwards on the CN.
I've always been told never to get a pedicure within the 2 weeks prior to starting so I wonder if you mean your final pedicure before heading out was a month before.
 

trecile

Camino Addict
Camino(s) past & future
Francés (2016 & 2017), Norte (2018), Francés-Salvador-Norte (2019), Portuguese (2019)
I've always been told never to get a pedicure within the 2 weeks prior to starting so I wonder if you mean your final pedicure before heading out was a month before.
I always get a pedicure just before I start my Camino.
 

Mycroft

Active Member
I always get a pedicure just before I start my Camino.
I'm glad that works for you, Trecile. It takes too much off the callouses I built up training and makes me prone to splits in the skin. Maybe the pedicurists where I live are too aggressive! :eek:
I did use something called Green Goop (or a name similar) that really worked surprisingly well at keeping my feet in good condition.
 

Robo

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
CF SJPdP to SdC
(May 2015)
CF last 150 to SdC
(May 2016)
CF SJPDP-SdC
(Apr/May 2018)
VdlP (2022)
Hi everyone,
I am about to do my first Camino Frances in March, it will be my first long distance hike and I would be grateful for anyone’s advise on blister kits (what to take) and any tips to prevent or help with muscle pain/fatigue along the way.
I am reasonably fit but have never hiked for longer than 3 days so want to be prepared.
Thanks!!
There are many many tips and approaches.
You'll need to see which one makes sense and works for You!

Here's my approach.
Three Caminos, (2,000 kms or so) no blisters...........

As for aches and pains.
Stretch
Then stretch
Then maybe stretch a bit more.
Morning, noon, night.........in fact every time you stop.
I also carry a light foam roller.
Easy to carry.



Great to work on hips, back and shins! (i get shin splints)
 

Krissten

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances (July 2018)
Frances (May 2020)
I think a big component of blister prevention that is often overlooked is to listen to your body. When you push beyond the point of fatigue or pain, your gait changes- spots that don’t normally rub have more friction. You put strain on muscles and ligaments that don’t normally have that level of use. Your body isn’t able to repair itself as easily. Set shorter distances in the beginning. If your body tells you to stop, stop. Rather than having a distance goal that requires you to walk to your limit or beyond limits on a daily basis, allow yourself more time than you think you will need so you can have some short days and/or rest days.

And... foot glide+ iniji toe socks+ mid weight merino wool+ hoka trail shoes a half size bigger than I normally wear
 

PGG

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
SJPP - Santiago - (2014)
Porto - Muxia - (2017)
SJPP - Finisterre - Invierno - (2018)
Good luck on your Camino,
My experience comes from 5 Camino's and 3 Coast to Coast walks in the UK. (and 66 years of walking)..

This year I am walking the Primitivo with my son. After a blister prevention conversation a couple of months ago, I sent him this note, which I happily share with you.

- (Whatever you chose to do, I hope it works for you and wish you good fortune.)

FEET

What works for me in avoiding blisters.

1. Darn tough socks, a size smaller than your feet.
They don't crease or move/rub; they are merino and guaranteed for life. On a tough day, maybe change your socks in the middle of the day (I took 3 pairs).
Wash your socks every night.

2. Glide body anti chafe cream. In the morning, I cover every part of my feet, top and bottom and all around the toes, it is like a wax stick. One 42g stick will see you through about 12 days.

Vaseline. Every night, last thing, I cover my feet with vaseline (it dries very quickly). One small vaseline pot will see you through.

3. Boots, I use HOKA boots, they are light, incredibly comfortable, well padded underneath and you can tie them in such a way that your feet don't move in them, really important going down hill.

4. Never shower in the morning as it makes your feet softer and more susceptible to blister.

The very first moment that you have an inkling that you have even the smallest sense of an issue with your feet. STOP and deal with it.

It doesn't matter if you have been walking for 2 minutes or you are only 2 minutes from the end of your day. STOP and deal with it.



Paul
 

Shinobi42

Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino de la Costa from Irun to Nueva 2018
Camino de la Costa from Nueva to Muxia (2020)
In Germany a lot of hikers like and recommend cream with deer horn sebum. In German this is called Hirschhorntalg or Hirschtalg. An example of varios products can be found here:

https://www.amazon.de/s?k=hirschhor...vqmt=p&tag=hyddemsn-21&ref=pd_sl_1pkxmyqbnb_p

Scholl is a famous brand of foot care products, maybe you can try some. I used it on my last camino and it is already part of my must gear for the next. The only downside of this cream is, that it makes the foot quite slippery, although when it is dry. So you should not walk barefoot after you have applied it.
 

Zordmot

First timer Spring 2019
Camino(s) past & future
April-May 2019
I've always been told never to get a pedicure within the 2 weeks prior to starting so I wonder if you mean your final pedicure before heading out was a month before.
The final pedicure was the day before my flight which was about 3 days prior to Day One out of SKPP
I'm glad that works for you, Trecile. It takes too much off the callouses I built up training and makes me prone to splits in the skin. Maybe the pedicurists where I live are too aggressive! :eek:
I did use something called Green Goop (or a name similar) that really worked surprisingly well at keeping my feet in good condition.
My understanding is that the callouses block the natural lubrication that the skin produces and it’s the callouses that split, crack, cause pain, and bleed not the “naked” skin.

Another thing I learned is that as we age, our feet produce less and less natural lubrication of the skin thus creating a ton of problems and the necessity for all these great products that we oldtimers love and swear by.
 

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