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blisters!!!

2020 Camino Guides

jujuaway

Member
hi all, i just wondered if there is any way to walk the camino and NOT GET BLISTERS.

i have just completed a 50km walk on friday as a fundraiser in australia and i am covered in blisters. I had the stamina for the walk but the blisters, especially around the outside of the heals were really painful and hindered my enjoyment. i just wonder how i will cope with such a long walk as the Camino.

i have booked to start in sj in September and feel a bit daunted by this.

i would love to hear from anyone who did the walk and did not get blisters.

ps, i am already double socking AND AM ON MY 5TH PAIR OF BOOTS!!

juju
 

evanlow

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances06
Primitivo07
Plata08
Norte12
Levante(14-15)
Vasco16
Mozarabe(16-17)
Madrid17
Portuguese18
juju,

You will have lots of advice here, from woollen socks, shoes, foot creams, to Compeed. I hope one of the methods will work for you.

For me, none of them works. So I have to resort to blister management instead of blister prevention. I carry a sewing kit and employ what they say is a Spanish method of running the needle through the blisters with the thread visible on both ends of the blister. The logic is it will prevent additional blister forming around it as additional fluid will have an escape path through the threads. By the 3rd day in camino, I would have no more additional blisters. You do have to put up with the callous with threads, not to worry as they'll will come off eventually.

I know it sound gross and it's not for the faint of heart, but it works for me. Still, if other methods, all the better.
 

JohnnieWalker

Nunca se camina solo
Hola

All you can do is experiment to see what works for you. There are different permutations:

Single socks
Liner socks and out socks
Both with or without vaseline or talcum powder
1000 mile socks - with or without vaseline or talcum powder
Triple socks - thin inner layer, mid layer and outer layer - with or without vaseline
Wearing insoles/not wearing insoles
Having shoes/boots .5 size bigger, 1 size bigger etc
Taking your boots off every 2 hours or so
Not ever taking your boots off when walking
Soaking your feet in strongly brewed tea or vinegar or using rubbing alcohol
Using duct tape on the hot spots

Here is a good article: http://www.podiatrytoday.com/article/291

When I started long distance walking I was crippled with blisters but after some experimentation I am largely blister free. Good luck!
 
D

Deleted member 3000

Guest
Top 7 Blister Preventing Lubricants
By Wendy Bumgardner, About.com Guide
Updated July 31, 2009

Blisters are caused by abrasion against the skin. Lubricating the skin can keep that abrasion from causing blisters. The lubricant you use should be one that will last for the length of your walk. Apply any lubricant liberally to your feet in any area that is prone to blistering.

1. Vaseline Petroleum Jelly
It's cheap and it works. I put great gobs of petroleum jelly on my feet before I put on my Cool-Max socks. No blisters, not even on a marathon - and I used to get big heel blisters every time at 10 miles. No, my feet don't slide around in my shoes - the socks prevent that. No, it doesn't feel slimy once you put on your socks. It doesn't wash out well but who cares - these are walking socks! Use the plain petroleum jelly, not any of the fancy cream versions.

2. BodyGlide
A no-petroleum stick that goes on like a deodorant stick. It won't stain your clothing. It comes in regular and a version that includes sunscreen. Good for preventing blisters on your feet. I use this by itself for 6-10 miles walks and put it on first, before the petroleum jelly, for longer distances.

3. SportShield and BlisterShield
2Toms produces two kinds of silicone-based blister prevention lubricants. One is a SportShield, a silicone-based roll-on or towelette that provides long lasting lubrication to prevent blisters and chafing. It is odorless, non-greasy. The second variety is BlisterShield powdered silicone to put into your socks to help prevent blisters.

4. SportSlick
Think of it as high-tech petroleum jelly. It combines silicone, polymers, and petroleum jelly for long-lasting waterproof lubrication. Includes aloe, antioxidant vitamins E and C, natural plant extracts, Tolnaftate antifungal agent and Triclosan antibacterial agent.

5. Hydropel
Endorsed by ultra-distance athletes and triathletes, this high-tech lubricant can keep you from getting rubbed the wrong way.

6. Squeaky Cheeks Performance Powder
For chafing and for foot blister prevention, Squeaky Cheeks is a cornstarch and essential oils solution for those who don't want to mess with greasy preparations.

7. Band-Aid Blister Block Stick
This convenient stick uses vegetable oil as its lubricant. Just rub on your feet and go.

More advice:
http://www.thewalkingsite.com/blisters.html
 

PilgrimChris

Active Member
Hi!

A more 'permanent' though for some, drastic solution is to spend time toughening up your feet.

Walk barefoot when and where ever you can. Sit with your feet in a bowl of sand at home wriggling your feet about as you do so. Do this and other similar skin hardening excerised daily.

I did this early on in my long distance hiking and i never get blisters now. The downside is i have hard skin on my feet though not to the extent where i need to use a pumice stone or similar to remove it. Rather my feet are just 'hard' instead of soft and blisters dont form on hard, dry skin.

Again just another option and i dont claim it is the best or will work for you. The idea was passed on to me many years ago by an indian who had walked for over 20 years at that time either barefoot or in sandals and never had a blister. Like i said i too never get blisters.

The 'vaseline' method works well for a lot of people though i think it is something one would have to repeat for any distance walking as it keeps the skin soft on your feet. Ideal though if one enjoys walking occasionally and wants to keep their feet nice - and who wouldn't ? :)

Basically blisters form on moist skin. If your feet get sweaty and are subjected to excessive friction (socks/boots rubbing etc) then blisters are almost inevitable.

The vaseline and similar methods work by effectively making the skin too wet/slippery for friction to be a problem.

Toughening the feet method works in the opposite way by making the skin too hard (dead) and dry (hard skin sweats less) for blisters to form.

JohnnieWalker is right. Trial and error and you have some time yet to experiment :)

Good luck.
 

Priscillian

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances 1999, Aragones 2000, Desde Le Puy 2002, Portuguese 2009, hoping RDLP 2014
I've always wrapped my feet with wide elasticated bandage. You take a piece about as long as your fingertips to your elbow and centre it first under the ball of the foot, then cross it over across the top and finally wrap it around the ankle and stick it down on the top of the foot again. Self adhesive is best, but you can use small safety pins to anchor, or similar. They get a bit nasty after a couple of days and you´ll have to change them then. But blisters are nasty too!
¡Buen Camino!
http://www.pilgrimagetoheresy.blogspot.com
 

elzi

Active Member
NOK

it's a cream, anti-chaffing or something. you can get it readily in pharmacies in france (but not spain) or order it online.

I CANNOT recommend it enough!

Yes to everything else that has been said, people have lots of different advice so try everything and see what works for you. Last camino trip I did (the 4th!) I finally managed no blisters so it can be done.

Personally I go for a regime that is NOK in evenings after shower, then in mornings, strap sore bits of feet up with micropore tape, apply NOK, apply something like (vaseline, bodyglide or the compeed stuff that's similar) then one layer of thick bridgedale sock. Taking boots off to air feet everytime I stop. But it's best to experiment yourself as everyone's feet/skin are different.

Try some NOK though, seriously, that and some donated boots transformed my first trip down the Le Puy route. I wouldn't try to camino without it now.

Personally I think your feet are the most important things on camino, everything else you can give or take but if your feet are in a bad way the whole thing becomes awful, don't be afraid to spend a lot of time on getting them sorted.
 

viajero

Active Member
I think it is the fit of the boot more than anything. I wore smartwool brand socks (1 pair --no liners). I almost got away with no blisters. Only on the days that I walked more than 40 km. did I get a blister. IThe blister was on the side of my little toe so really didn't affect me very much. I walked miles and miles in preparation for the camino and had boots that fit very comfortably so I really had no problems. I don't think I had any blisters when I walked my second camino. I'd experiment at home first to see what works.
 

miguel_gp

Veteran Member
Do several training walks in the socks and boots that you intend to walk the Camino in. You will know soon enough if there are areas where you are susceptible. Applying lubricant (e.g. vaseline) will help but blisters will come if they want to. Just follow the advice given in this and other threads for treating them and use mind over matter for any morning pain. I promise it works.
 

KiwiNomad06

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Le Puy-Santiago(2008) Cluny-Conques+prt CF(2012)
Did you walk the 50km all in one day? It might be hard to avoid blisters with that kind of daily distance. If you halve the distance, and experiment with what works for you in terms of shoes, socks, various ointments/creams- then manage to keep your feet reasonably dry- you could easily get by with very few or no blisters.

But I imagine all of us get tender feeling feet -blisters or no blisters- for the first ten days or so. After that I know my tenderness eased. Partly it might have been the feet toughening up, but I also wonder if the brain learns it may as well switch off some of the pain messages as you are going to take no notice. (Totally unscientific theory of course...)

Margaret
 

jujuaway

Member
juju here, thanks for all your wonderful replies. I appreciate it.

I wrote my plea having just returned from the 50km in one day, ie., 14 hours, 49 minutes and 45 seconds and lots of blisters.

i am training for my walk on the camino in september. i love distant walking and found the only way i could complete the 50km was to dissociate from the pain.
up until now, i have avoided Vaseline but i can see the time has come for me to try it... i can't keep buying new boots!!
just to hear your responses and to know that others have worker their way through these problems make me feel part of the camino community already... thank you
 

PilgrimChris

Active Member
50 kilometers in one day for charity is one thing juju, but my advice is take it easier on your camino :)

It is better to walk a lesser distance if one has time restraints rather than try to walk a marathon everyday just to say one started in a particular place in my opinion.

I agree with Margaret - i may not get blisters, but my feet do ache over repeated prolonged distances. But yes your body and brain adapts readily. The human body can take far more than we realise if needs be, but why put oneself through agonies if one does not really need to?

I guess it is all relative to each individual. I am comfortable walking 25 kilometers a day over multiple days and will go to 35 kilometers on some days if needs be. Much more than that i i stop enjoying walking which for me defeats the object.

Congratulations on your 50 kilometer walk for charity! That sort of walk would be the exception to my personal 'rule' mentioned above.
 

Carole

Member
I walked with someone who was prone to blisters. To correct the situation we learned that we needed to stop every hour and half and remove the boots for 5 - 10 minutes.

Also If you feel the slightest rubbing friction - a very mild hot spot - stop immediately and place a piece of thin mole skin on it.

In the morning before starting your walk put pieces of thin mole skin on the areas you know are prone to get blisters and Nok or some other anti-friction cream on the areas that get tired.

If you do develop blisters put Duct Tape on them - you will be surprise - just don't force the tape off at the end of the day - let it will come off naturally.

For a some blisters you can drain it by using a needle and thread and leaving the thread in the blister. For a small blister you can shape a thicker piece of moleskin around the outside of the blister. This will protect it.

On the Camino we walk every day so blisters can be a huge challenge. Listen to your body - make regular checks and take precautions.
 

TerryB

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Norte/Primitivo (April/May) 2009: Norte/Primitivo (parts) (April/May) 2010: Inglés (May) 2011: Primitivo (April/May) 2012: Norte / Camino de La Reina (April/May) 2013: Camino del Mar / Inglés (May/June) 2015
Just one thing! Can I suggest that you try using compeed BEFORE you need it. It just will not stick to my skin. (Neither will waterproof dressings so I was not suprised.) If it does work then fine. If not, better that you know before depending on it.

Blessings on your walking
Tio Tel

P.S. Carole - would that be genuine mole skin, or 'moleskin' as in trousers????
 

Carole

Member
I buy a product by Dr Scholl's called 'Extra Soft Moleskin Padding Roll'. It comes in a roll of 51cm X 18cm. I live in Quebec, Canada so I do not know what you are referring to with trousers. We do not have compeed - but all the pharmacies in spain did sell that wonderful product.
 

Tia Valeria

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Pt Norte/Pmtvo 2010
C. Inglés 2011
C. Primitivo '12
Norte-C. de la Reina '13
C. do Mar-C. Inglés '15
'Moleskin' trousers have a soft brushed velvety finish. In past centuries they would have been made from moles skins with the fur still on and on the outside.
Tia Valeria (Tio Tel's 'other half')
 

Carole

Member
On my box of Dr. Scholl's moleskin it is described as follows:
Soft cotton flannel padding protects feet from painful shoe pressure.
- extra soft moleskin (there are diffent thicknesses to this product - I prefer the extra soft which is quite thin)
- protects against painful friction
-cushions corns
-self-stick adhesive, cut to size (do not REMOVE by force)
-flesh colour

This product is best for prevention - once a blister is form you may want to consider a blister bandaid and if that will not stay in place or the blister is too big I recommend Duct Tape.
 

jpflavin1

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
CF(10,11,17), Vasco(12), Salvador(13), CP(13), CN(14), Madrid (16), Mozarabe (18), VdlP(19)
I have been hiking 5 days a week (6 to 12miles) in the mountains around Phoenix for two months in preparation for my Camino which begins March 24th from SJPdP. I wear a Merril hiking shoe with Smartwool socks. I also put vaseline on my feet each day. I have not had any blisters. So my thought is good fitting shoes, wool socks and vaseline. I also wore the wool socks when I purchased my shoes to get a true fit. Last year I did get a blister and compeed is an execellent product.

Buen Camino
Joe
 

claire j

New Member
Hi
we also did coastrek last friday team '10k2coffee' I agree with a previous comment about the distance,you are most unlikely to walk 50k in one day.Also try to walk in a relaxed manner at your own pace.Last time I walked from Leon and tried to keep up with someone for a few hours as I was enjoying their company.I ended up with blisters but did the needle and cotton treatment then was ok.Rather than vaseline try paw paw cream it worked wonders for us on coastrek.We start from stj end of May then Oporto early july
 

annakappa

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Part frances jun 07/rest frances may- jun 2008/Frances sept-oct 2009/ Sanabres Oct 2010/Frances sept-oct 2011/Aragones Sept-Oct 2012. Hospitalero Sept 2010, Amiga in Pilgrim's Office Oct 2013. Part Primitivo Oct 2013. Portugues from Porto June 2015.
PilgrimChris said:
A more 'permanent' though for some, drastic solution is to spend time toughening up your feet.
This is one hint that I really do recommend. After my first mini 8 day Camino, when my heels were full of blisters, back home I researched on internet and found advice (actually for ballet dancers)! Soak your feet in a strong tea solution several times a day for at least 2 weeks before you set off. Apart from changing my boots, I'm convinced this worked for me: Twice the Camino Francés with only one tiny blister on a toe to show for it (completely my fault, becuase my insoles were not put in the boots correctly). Anne
 

jujuaway

Member
juju here again,

wow some other coast trekkers also on this forum, fantastic! My team was called the coast trek caminos in honour of my planned walk in September.

I really appreciate everyone's input and clearly lots of people grapple with this issue of caring for our feet. When i started this thread i was feeling so alone and disappointed with my old ladies feet!!

i have 6 full weeks on the Camino and i am planning to start off slowly and not be in a rush. I can see that even though i need to keep the weight of my pack down as low as possible, foot care products, tape, Vaseline etc are going to be the essentials.

i hope you enjoyed your coast trek, what a wonderful cause to support.
thank you, juju
 

nellpilgrim

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
SDC-Fisterra 08/Camino Frances SJPP to SDC 09/Nuremburg-SDC 11- ongoing
Hi Juju,
All of the above is great advice. I have to take the 'blister management approach' as I always get them. Though I tried the skin hardening route (this routine is also helped by getting older :( ) I found that I still got blisters, albeit a few hours/days later than usual. However those blisters were more difficult to treat as the blister 'bubble' was deeper and under a cover of skin as hard as yak leather! They also took much longer to heal than the shallower ones that formed on softer skin. I did develop a rather complex blister dressing regime for deep blisters that worked (if you want I can PM you the details which are a bit graphic). I generally follow the grease up, wear liner sock and outer sock, frequently air your feet and change socks, and use compeed on hot spots/live blisters regime.
Having said that my sister found the foot hardening method worked perfectly for her.... I guess it's a matter of just seeing what's best for you and from the sound of it you're getting in lots of practice so can experiment.
Good luck
Nell
 

LTfit

Veteran Member
Pretty much everything has been covered thus far but I strongly disagree with those that suggest using Compeed gel bandaids. They are fine for day hikes and the like but I had an AWFUL time with them on the Camino. I put one on as soon as I felt a hot spot or when I had already developed a small blister but the result was on all occasions disastrous - the blisters doubled in size within a day! Many fellow pelegrinos had the same experience. I eventually gave them away.

The tape method also sounded really good so I tried that on my first day over the Pyrenees (used sport tape around my heels and on the ball of my feet). This worked fine for the first 2 or 3 days but then I also developed blisters onder the tape :cry: ! My feet may be more sensitive than the average pelegrino but I am axing the above 2 methods for my next camino.

So what have I learned? 1) Take my shoes off at EACH stop and not 1x per day 2) use vaseline or some type of ointment.

Cheers,
LT
P.S. adding this note: I walked in July so heat and swelling of the feet was an issue that probably contributed to the development of blisters. I also walked longer distances than most.
 

KiwiNomad06

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Le Puy-Santiago(2008) Cluny-Conques+prt CF(2012)
We're all different. Compeed + a day off worked exquisitely well for me.
And sometimes, when you most need to take shoes off- eg on a day with rain that runs like rivers on the tracks so that your feet/shoes/socks are saturated- then you can't actually stop to air your feet cos you will get too cold.....
Margaret
 

Bocodillo Boy

New Member
Before starting your Camino try bathing your feet in witch hazel. Witch hazel is an excellent natural astringent, which reduces inflammation, sanitizing the skin and at the same time helps with hydration of the skin and stabilizes the barrier function of the skin. It calms irritated skin and reduces trans-dermal water loss while calming the skin and reducing skin redness. Apparently, in a clinical test, witch hazel proved to have a significant anti-inflammatory effect and helped to reduce erythema induced by sunburn (!!) and also showed a protective effect on the skin while at the same time having good anti-oxidant properties to fight aging free radicals.

At the start of each day, I apply a very thin film of Vasaline on those parts of my feet that I expect might blister. One of those every small round tins lasted for nearly one month. I think that dry cracked feet can be as troublesome as blisters.

I am one of those walkers who does like to take off my boots until shower time at the very end of the days walk. The exception being if I feel a hot spot when I will apply a 'Compseed' just in case.

I wear a clean pair of 1000 mile socks every day under lightweight boots that have room to move the toes. I urge walkers not to wear ordinary trainers - they do seem to attract more blisters than boots do.

I always expect the worst of my congenitally flat feet but so far I have been blister free.
 

+@^^

Active Member
@Bocodillo Boy
im not convinced about boots giving the edge over trainers when it comes to blisters
i wore trainers for the 1000kay vdlp
and not a single blister
 

Portia1

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances 2009, Portuguese 2012
Frances 2016, (Frances 2019)
What you can discern from all this is that everyone's feet respond differently to similar stresses. The best thing you can do is attempt to replicate the situation at home--walk on a warm day on pavement and stones and find some elevations--up and down, and walk for many miles with a loaded pack. There are several factors at work: stress from overall distance, heat build-up from both the warmth of the day and the heat of the pavement, pounding that the pavement and rocks/cobblestones deliver to your feet and knees, and how your boots/shoes fit your feet--if they are too short and your feet swell (which they will), the ends/tips of your toes will blister on coming down elevations. I was one of the lucky ones--not a single blister. But I cannot and will not swear that what I did or did not do was right for you.

No one else can tell you how your own feet are going to endure this opportunity. You are the best judge based on how much training and what kind of training you do. One fellow pilgrim insisted that she had worn her boots regularly and walked regularly but she developed the queen of all blister colonies! When we bought her larger boots and wool socks, all her troubles went away. But there was no guarantee that this was going to be the solution. The Camino has a way of doing its own thing--you cannot fully anticipate what is going to happen. And your feet are included in that!
 

jujuaway

Member
juju here again, thank you, thank you, one and all.

i now have lots of options to experiment with and to keep me busy until my september 1st kick off.

regards juju
 

Carole

Member
I start my pilgrimage with my husband from SJPP on September 3rd.

until then my friend,
Carole - the gatineau gypsy
 

annakappa

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Part frances jun 07/rest frances may- jun 2008/Frances sept-oct 2009/ Sanabres Oct 2010/Frances sept-oct 2011/Aragones Sept-Oct 2012. Hospitalero Sept 2010, Amiga in Pilgrim's Office Oct 2013. Part Primitivo Oct 2013. Portugues from Porto June 2015.
KiwiNomad06 said:
We're all different. Compeed + a day off worked exquisitely well for me.
And sometimes, when you most need to take shoes off- eg on a day with rain that runs like rivers on the tracks so that your feet/shoes/socks are saturated- then you can't actually stop to air your feet cos you will get too cold.....
Margaret
Last year we did a mini Camino from Ourense to Santiago. 5 days of rain and we literally sloshed into Santiago. There was no way that we could have tried to take off our boots and change the socks. The boots were sodden (both our pairs supposed to be waterproof). Anyway result was - no blisters. I will continue with what I think is best for me: soak my feet in tea solution for the previous two weeks before walking, put vaseline on feet each morning, have gel heel pads in boots,(Merrells, which now I think are a really good pair) keep my pack down to 10% of my body weight - and hope for the best. I should add here that Adriaan takes no measures to look after his feet and has never had even the beginning of a blister, that's after twice Roncevalles/Santiago, plus our "mini" last year! Anne
 
S

Sojourner47

Guest
I agree with Bocadillo Boy - 1000 mile socks plus vaseline every time.I've tried the one thin,one thick socks regime with some success (1000 mile are 2 pairs anyway), and the walking barefoot beforehand etc. Most important not to have too tightfitting shoes - your feet will swell after a few hours tarmac pounding,then blisters are inevitable...
(try on new shoes after 2 or 3 hours walking...)
 

LJAA

New Member
I have been looking at the 1000 mile sock website. There are a variety of socks available but I didn't see any short ones.
I am interested in short socks that are wicking and dry quickly and anything that will assist in the prevention of blisters. Which model are the two layer socks please?
 
Camino(s) past & future
Francés (2004.SJPP-SdC-Finisterre)(1998-2012 completed in sections). Norte (2006.122km) Inglés (2009)
I prefer not to use cream on my feet.

The advice on breaking both your feet and boots in before you go is essential.

I walk as much as I can in walking sandals - if you walk in beach sandals you will get grief.

If you alternate boots and sandals on the same day it should help prevent blisters. For one thing the pressure points are in different places.

If you are not allergic to iodine then bentadine will help prevent any blister becoming a major issue.

Remember that feet were made for walking. One of the other things you can do is keep the weight of your rucksack down. The weight eventually presses forward on to the toes. Less weight, less pressure, less blsiters.

Also, drink plenty of water (not anything else) as you are walking. Your body will dehydrate and that does not help your feet. A platypus is a must. 1.5litres of water weighs about 1.5kg, but no water equals big trouble.
 
Camino(s) past & future
Francés (2004.SJPP-SdC-Finisterre)(1998-2012 completed in sections). Norte (2006.122km) Inglés (2009)
LJAA said:
I have been looking at the 1000 mile sock website. There are a variety of socks available but I didn't see any short ones.
I am interested in short socks that are wicking and dry quickly and anything that will assist in the prevention of blisters. Which model are the two layer socks please?
They are short and black. If in doubt visit an outdoor pursuit shop and have a feel and a browse. You don't have to buy but it will give you a better idea of what you want.

In my experience they dry reasonably quickly, especially if you turn them inside out.

You can attach wet to damp socks on the back of your rucksack with safety pins (not pegs) and the sun and wind should quickly sort any overnight dampness.
 
Camino(s) past & future
Francés (2004.SJPP-SdC-Finisterre)(1998-2012 completed in sections). Norte (2006.122km) Inglés (2009)
LJAA since you are online. I also like Bridgedale medium trekking socks which are also short.

They feel comfortable and are well padded.
 
S

Sojourner47

Guest
1000 mile socks are, IMHO, excellent. However, be careful with the sizing. I take 9 or 9and a half shoe, so I ordered mens large - 9 - 11 - and they were far too big, the heel came halfway up my ankle.Next time I got the medium size 6 - 8andahalf and they fit perfectly...
(ordered on line via Amazon)
 

lynnejohn

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances(2005), VDLP(2007), Madrid(2009), Ingles(2009), Sur (2011), VDLP(2011)-partial, VDLP(2014)
I was so excited to try the 1000 mile socks. My husband and I each ordered two pair. After training in them for several months, and getting within a few weeks of leaving for the VDLP, we've decided to leave them at home. Problems:

1. Too tight (it's an ordeal to get them on)
2. Too tight on - make grooves on the front of the ankle
3. They shrink (and I don't put them in the dryer- ever)
4. In struggling to get them on, they scrape off all of the vaseline I've put on my feet.

Yesterday on a 12 km walk, I got a blister on my heel. I have never gotten a blister on my heel, and was wearing my old broken-in boots.

So I'm very disappointed - I really wish I had the positive experience with these socks that others have posted, but again there's the lesson: There is no "one size fits all" for socks, boots, shoes, packs, or poles.

lynne
 
D

Deleted member 3000

Guest
I cut my backpacking teeth in the Sierra Nevada in the days when we used leather street shoes. Only Sierra Club members, the elite and effete snobs of the high country, had "hiking boots." Tennis shoes were to be avoided. I used a home-made pack frame (it had a tump line and no waist belt), and lashed my equipment to it inside a World War II shelter half using a diamond hitch, which worked well for packing a burro, too. I got blisters back then.

I have not had a blister, though, in over twenty years, because I changed with the technology. I think that some well-meaning folks who have gotten blisters are giving some bad advice.

Boots must fit; not too big, not too small. For that to happen, they must be properly fitted while you are wearing the socks you plan to use. That size may be different from the casual shoes you buy because they catch your eye in a store window. That is fine, but do not buy a size bigger, two sizes bigger, or a half size smaller. Buy the size that fits.

My legs swell, so I can understand feet swelling, even though mine don't. Adjust for that possibility by fitting the boots with a pair of polypro or silk liners and medium weight wool or wool blend socks. Cotton socks are guaranteed not to work out well. If your feet swell while you are walking, switch to a lightweight pair of wool socks, or removing the liner sock during the day. For minor swelling, just loosen the laces.

Moisture and friction cause blisters. If your boots get wet and stretch, you may get friction. If your foot lubricant wears off, you may get friction. If your feet swell, you may get a pressure point where none existed. In all cases, do something about it. Stop and treat your feet at the first sign of friction. Following any other course of action will cause the blister to develop, and it will be with you for the rest of your walk. Your foot and leg mechanics will then change in reaction to the pain, and friction will start other places, causing more blisters. Your joints will be stressed differently as you react to the pain, and you may get tendonitis, shin splints, and/or knee pain.

Feet and boots come in so many different sizes and shapes, it is amazing that they ever fit. So you can expect friction somewhere. It may come in the first hour, it may come after hundreds of thousands of steps. The wide variety of treatments, many of them successful, some not, that you read above, show the range of things you can try. Any moisturizing cream should be avoided. The moisture will not solve the friction. Talc and petrolatum work. I use petrolatum with silicone or simethicone, both lubricants. Dry socks, moleskin, Compeed (or the BandAid equivalent, which has a poorer adhesive), wool between the toes, massage, rest, Second Skin, and even duct tape, work. The key with any of them is treatment before the blister forms.

If the recurring suggestion above is that the boots you buy to accommodate the socks you will be wearing, may be one to two sizes larger than you normally buy, I agree 100%. But that is not the same as "buy boots two sizes larger." If your regular size is comfortable with the socks you plan to wear, buy your regular size.

Visualize Yosemite Sam here, slappin' his knee and spittin' from 'neath his handlebar mustache...
 

markss

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances from SJPP (3/10 & 10/10); Primitivo (6/12)
As a veteran of running many, many marathons and long distance runs, as well as much hiking and backpacking, I can attest that Falcon's advice is spot on. Follow it and while you may not be guaranteed not to get blisters, your chances of such will be greatly reduced.
 

LJAA

New Member
Thank you for the advice methodist.pilgrim.
I eventually found what I hope will be the right 1000 mile socks online and have some on their way for me to try out. Interesting comment someone made about the sizing and fit.
I've always liked Bridgedale socks but the wool ones I use take a lot of drying and I have recently tried some other wicking socks called Thorlo.
I'm look at all avenues to help prevent blisters! There are obviously various combinations of things one needs to do.
 
Camino(s) past & future
Francés (2004.SJPP-SdC-Finisterre)(1998-2012 completed in sections). Norte (2006.122km) Inglés (2009)
LJAA you are welcome.

I ltake your point about the Bridgedale. They don't dry as fast as the 1000 mile socks but in the Spanish sun that has not been a big issue.

In the autumn I bite the bullet and carry three pairs of socks in case I can't get a pair dried overnight and it is raining the next day preventing me hanging them off the rucksack.

Hope the 1000 milers are what you are looking for.
 
Camino(s) past & future
Francés (2004.SJPP-SdC-Finisterre)(1998-2012 completed in sections). Norte (2006.122km) Inglés (2009)
One, final thought.

The outsides of my little toes are reall pressure points on my feet for developing blisters. Before each day starts I get a strip of Mefix surgical tape and put it around the little toe and fasten it to the one next to it. Make sure it is lightly taped and the foot sits normally in the boot. Put a second strip ontop.

Since I have done this in 2008 I have had no problems with blisters developing there.

Mefix is the tape they use on burns patients. It somehow stays on while you are walking, yet pulls off very easily when deliberately done.

If I start to get a hot spot I place pads made by the same company over the affected area and use Mefix tape to secure it.

No bllsters since.

I wish everyone a blister free Camino.
 
D

Deleted member 3000

Guest
I think a lot of pilgrims feel some sort of time pressure to "keep it going." A casualty of this mindset is the foot. No pilgrim seems to object to pausing a couple of times per hour to hydrate, though the A-types have graduated to bladders with bite valves so they do not have to break stride even to drink (I am in that category). We stop every few hours for nutrition. Most will stop for a panorama or too take in the spring flowers.

Why would anyone ignore his feet when there are signals of stress? Nothing makes a pilgrimage more miserable than pain, and blisters are the number one cause of pain. Regardless of weather or terrain, it just makes sense to make foot care the top priority. If you sense rubbing; if you get a hot spot; if a sock feels bunched; if a lace is too tight or too loose; if your feet are wet, DO SOMETHING ABOUT IT.

I don't think I have ever heard someone say that they felt a hot spot, walked right through it, and no blister developed. The universal tale is "I felt a hot spot, but did not stop. Now I have a blister."

Give your feet at least the same consideration you would that Snickers Bar you eat to keep up energy!
 
Camino(s) past & future
Francés (2004.SJPP-SdC-Finisterre)(1998-2012 completed in sections). Norte (2006.122km) Inglés (2009)
Spot on falcoln 269.

I felt a hotspot, wetness and pain in 1998. My companion wouldn't stop. I ended up with a blister so bad I had to go to casualty in León.

Since then I have always prefered to walk solo and always stop at the first sign of trouble.

As in my posts above I take premptive precautions. I always walk to my own pace. If you have a faster companion agree where you will spend the night and let them get on and meet them there. So what if you arrive a couple of hours later?

Treat your feet as your best friend and ignore the T shirt, No Pain, No Glory.
 

jujuaway

Member
well i have continued working on the blister prevention strategies suggested on this forum and have finally settled on some women specific thick padded thorlo crew socks that i have imported from nz.... couldn't find them in australia anywhere and this US company would not reply to my requests to buy them.
i am coupling these with some bridgedale very thin inner socks.
i am putting a very strong anti-perspirant, called Rexona Clinical Protection (Dove do one as well) it is designed for people who have a server sweating problem!!... i'm using it each evening before training and finally i use a powder in the morning before heading off, its called Prantal Powder, also to reduce sweat.

with all this focus and playing with different combinations i now feel settled within myself and ready to head off. i don't want to wish my life away and i leave australia september 1st and hope to begin walking 6th september.
thank you one and all for all your wonderful suggestions
 

aeveling

Active Member
Hi Methodist.pilgrim,

Where can you get Mefix? It sounds like an interesting product but I've never seen it. I'm always looking for something to use as well as Compeed which although brilliant is very expensive.

Andrew.
 
Camino(s) past & future
Francés (2004.SJPP-SdC-Finisterre)(1998-2012 completed in sections). Norte (2006.122km) Inglés (2009)
Andrew,

Mefix and Mepore bought from Sainsbury's Pharmacy. I have previously bought it from Boots.

They might need a day or two to get it in.

I am not sure it is a cheap option because I do not use anything else. I have taken Bentadine with me in the past but found that padding and tape has been sufficent. I have well worn in Boots and also use walking sandals whenever I can.

philip
 

renegadepilgrim

Veteran Pilgrim and Traveler
Camino(s) past & future
2010: Camino Frances, 2011: Santo Domingo de la Calzada (Hospitalera), 2012: Camino Portuguese from Porto, 2015: Camino Norte
Mefix and Medipore (in the US) are used in Chronic Wound Care clinics primarily due to cost and AMAZINGNESS!! We used them in a wound clinic I worked in and even though the stuff is uber spendy here in the States (you can't get it OTC, to my knowledge), it really does a great job. They also have some stuff that can be used to cover the open blister area, once the skin comes off. Next Camino, I am bringing some along....I saw it once in Estella at the Red Cross clinic. I begged for some of the tape and got a few pieces. Made a huge difference.
 

fsam33

New Member
Me fix, medi pore, or Fixomull ( in Australia), is the only stuff we have used for 18 years, when it was first introduced to us by the hospital burns team, when my youngest daughter was burnt, at 9months of age.
We use it on our tribe of mad cycling children for cuts grazes blistrs and any injury. I always have some in my bag.
I will be taking metres of it on the Camino and doubt I'll need anything else.
I buy it by the box full ( 10 metres at a time). It comes in 5 and 10 cm widths and I can't praise it enough.
Frances
 
S

Sojourner47

Guest
Sojourner47 said:
I agree with Bocadillo Boy - 1000 mile socks plus vaseline every time.I've tried the one thin,one thick socks regime with some success (1000 mile are 2 pairs anyway), and the walking barefoot beforehand etc. Most important not to have too tightfitting shoes - your feet will swell after a few hours tarmac pounding,then blisters are inevitable...
(try on new shoes after 2 or 3 hours walking...)
Eat your words for me time, here - I wore the 1000 mile socks and still got blisters....
Did the needle and thread stuff, plus elastoplast covering, and got blisters on top of blisters etc.
Tried 2 pairs, one thin one thick, still got blisters.
Next time, I will try the whole gamut of witch hazel, tea,sand,barefooot etc.
Anything.
 

Cmeckley

Member
Camino(s) past & future
SJPP-SdC (2011),Porto-SdC, Variante Espiritual (2016), SJPP- Santiago (2017), Porto-SdC (2019)
I am starting my first Camino in June. I am wearing trail runners, because I find the weight of boots to be uncomfortable. AFter reading through all the threads, I have decided upon the vaseline/wool sock approach, with regard to prevention.
For treatment, however, I plan on using a simple method taught to me by my guide, on a "bootcamp" trip I took several years ago in Brazil. It was MIRACULOUS! Use a sterilized needle to pop the blister and drain as best you can. Immediately dab lavender oil (you can by small vials at any natural food store) and cover with a simple bandaid. Lavender oil is a natural anti-inflammatory and is very soothing. This happened to me a number of times, and after each, I was immediately able to continue on without any discomfort. Lavender oil also works great when applied to breakouts/skin blemishes. Thank you, all!! I have enjoyed soaking up every ounce of helpful info you have so generously provided :)
 

robertt

Active Member
Here's what I did this time.

Old bushwalker's way: very oversize boots, filled out somewhat with Superfeet insoles, then a layer of silk, and then hiking socks. I did it every day, for over 900k, the only variation being wool liners in damp, cold conditions. The silk liners were allowed to get a bit grubby and greasy, no hot washing.

No lineaments of any kind, I let my feet harden a bit. No blisters!

I'm feeling very smug about this, but it may not work for everyone, so caution is advised.
 

gregdedman

Active Member
Hey there everyone,

In October/November and December I managed to walk 1,000km without a single blister rearing its painful head :?

I had suffered badly on my first Camino in 2007 so was well prepared with all the remedies and tricks to avoid them.

You don't have to spend a fortune on prevention and remedies....

I know for a fact that I didn't wear my HI-TEC boots in well enough before hand, only walking about 100km in them before the big one.
I did purchase 4 pairs of cool max socks, that have fitted panels which prevent the sock moving around causing friction and thus blisters.
I purchased ladies sanitary towels, maxi absorbtion, with wings and stuck them to my innersoles, this absorbed any moisture away from my feet and socks (which can cause blisters).
Several times a day I stopped, took off my boots and socks, bathed in a stream, thoroughly dried them and continued walking.
Over the pyrenees the boots rubbed a lot as your walking at an angle all day, steep up and then steep down so I grabbed sheeps wool snagged on barbed wire fences and stuck it on the hot spots preventing a blister from developing.
I used surgical tape for this.
I carried a small 5ml syringe for draining any fluid if necessary and a lighter to steralise the needle each time.
I carried several blister plasters (but never needed to use them) not compeed as my experience with that was that it starves the blister wound of oxygen and heals slower.
I also wore two pairs of insoles, the top one more ventilated than the bottom and I was amazed how much moisture drained through away from my foot.

But most of all I took a very methodical approach to ANY tingle of a blister.
If you feel one developing, stop and attend to it. Bad blisters can end or delay your camino and your feet should be your number one priority.

I hope these tips are helpful :)
Buen 'blister free' Camino
 
D

Deleted member 3000

Guest
Since there probably is not a single solution for blisters that works for everyone all the time, I want to praise the preceding post. To me, it addresses the single-most important thing -- do something. Take care of your feet as though they are the only pair you are taking with you. Stop. Treat. Reapply. Change. Dry. Add socks. Subtract socks. Every one of the actions is appropriate at some time. The one thing that does not work is to slog on blindly ignoring all the warning signs. DO SOMETHING.
 

bystander

Veteran Member
Grant Spangler, elsewhere, over the years has extolled the virtues and advantages of wearing sandals (think Teva Terra or Merrell Chameleon) with short socks whenever possible as a way to avoid blisters.
 

Caminando

Veteran Member
Sojourner47 said:
Sojourner47 said:
Did the needle and thread stuff, plus elastoplast covering, and got blisters on top of blisters etc.
So true SJ...

... this idea of threading blisters is as valuable as the medieval practice of bleeding or leeching sick patients.

It invites infection, obviously, and anecdotal comment about its efficacity is unhelpful. If a blister drain hole is so small that it reseals, then enlarge it; don't hang cotton inside and out of it.


Apart from this, the advice generally given here is impressive. Tho' the issue of a very heavy pack or being oneself overweight is very seldom discussed. This is also a cause of blisters.
 
D

Deleted member 3000

Guest
This is a good, though graphic, site for blister treatment advice:

http://www.wildmedcenter.com/pdf/Blisters.pdf

There usually is a choice to be made: painfully walk on a blister, which is likely to break anyway, or pierce it, and risk infection. Your first aid kit should include some rubbing alcohol and Neosporin. You can use them to sanitize the area of the blister and a knife or needle to pierce it. Once pierced, you should treat the open wound to prevent infection. I suggest Compeed, but you can read about the downside of it elsewhere. Clean the blister with alcohol, let it dry, and apply the Compeed. it will prevent bacteria from entering, and absorb moisture as it leaves the blister (called "wet wound technology"). Other techniques are described in the above link. Good luck!
 

renegadepilgrim

Veteran Pilgrim and Traveler
Camino(s) past & future
2010: Camino Frances, 2011: Santo Domingo de la Calzada (Hospitalera), 2012: Camino Portuguese from Porto, 2015: Camino Norte
Caminando said:
... this idea of threading blisters is as valuable as the medieval practice of bleeding or leeching sick patients.

It invites infection, obviously, and anecdotal comment about its efficacity is unhelpful.
I'll be sure to inform my doctors I work with that placing a "wick" of packing gauze in wounds they have drained of fluid invites infection. I'll also be sure to let my trauma surgeons know to stop using leeches on reattached limbs and maggots in infected wounds, since it's so "medieval". I'm sure they will be enlightened by your medical knowledge.

Threading a blister is no more of an invitation for infection than waiting for the blister to pop itself and then walk on it. Everyone has their opinions on blister care and very rarely is it based on scientific evidence. Most first aid sites (as well as my medical training through work and school) advise to pop the blister using a sterile needle, draining the fluid, place antibiotic ointment over the wound and cover it. Some even suggest putting a ring of moleskin around it to protect the blister from getting bigger and protect the pressure point.

Just come prepared with a foot care kit so that if you do develop blisters, you will be prepared to take care of yourself. If you don't use it, leave it behind in a free box at an albergue.
 

Caminando

Veteran Member
renegadepilgrim said:
Caminando said:
... this idea of threading blisters is as valuable as the medieval practice of bleeding or leeching sick patients.

It invites infection, obviously, and anecdotal comment about its efficacity is unhelpful.
I'll be sure to inform my doctors I work with that placing a "wick" of packing gauze in wounds they have drained of fluid invites infection. I'll also be sure to let my trauma surgeons know to stop using leeches on reattached limbs and maggots in infected wounds, since it's so "medieval". I'm sure they will be enlightened by your medical knowledge.

Threading a blister is no more of an invitation for infection than waiting for the blister to pop itself and then walk on it. Everyone has their opinions on blister care and very rarely is it based on scientific evidence. Most first aid sites (as well as my medical training through work and school) advise to pop the blister using a sterile needle, draining the fluid, place antibiotic ointment over the wound and cover it. Some even suggest putting a ring of moleskin around it to protect the blister from getting bigger and protect the pressure point.

Just come prepared with a foot care kit so that if you do develop blisters, you will be prepared to take care of yourself. If you don't use it, leave it behind in a free box at an albergue.
Thanks for your chat, Rev. Again, you must read carefully - the reference was to "bleeding sick patients". I'm sure at work you read instruction very carefully. And yes, do share this with those surgeons - get back on this one? :D

As you yourself rightly say, your opinions on blisters are not "based on scientific evidence". I fully agree with "most first aid sites" you mention, about popping the blister etc etc. It's good to see that this advice was taught to you in training, and importantly, please note, that there is no mention of threading blisters.They recommend, you say, an antiseptic and a cover on the wound. Why? let me tell you...to stop infection; this is precisely why I say threading it is unwise. You are introducing a foreign body to the wound with a thread. :idea: This easily transports infection.

Your training, most first aid sites and my comments concur, as I think you'll agree.

Thanks for your comments though.
 

renegadepilgrim

Veteran Pilgrim and Traveler
Camino(s) past & future
2010: Camino Frances, 2011: Santo Domingo de la Calzada (Hospitalera), 2012: Camino Portuguese from Porto, 2015: Camino Norte
Caminando said:
As you yourself rightly say, your opinions on blisters are not "based on scientific evidence". I fully agree with "most first aid sites" you mention, about popping the blister etc etc. It's good to see that this advice was taught to you in training, and importantly, please note, that there is no mention of threading blisters.They recommend, you say, an antiseptic and a cover on the wound. Why? let me tell you...to stop infection; this is precisely why I say threading it is unwise. You are introducing a foreign body to the wound with a thread. :idea: This easily transports infection.
I hope you never have a nasty purulent abscess cause you're gonna freak out when the doctor incises and drains it and sticks a "thread" in it.....aka a "wick" aka packing. Why do they do this? To drain the fluid in the wound. Point being, thread in a blister is not going to invite infection. The treatment for an abscess (which is similar to a blister, only it usually has purulent fluid indicating infection, whereas a blister is usually clear fluid, NOT indicating infection) is the same as how some people treat a blister on the Camino. Open it up, drain it, put a wick in it so the purulent fluid has a place to go, away from the inside of the wound. Abscesses, like blisters heal from the INSIDE outward. The logic behind threading a blister is similar. If you open a blister, drain it and put antibiotic ointment on it, you run the risk of the blister resealing itself and filling with fluid AGAIN. I have yet to hear any anecdotal evidence of infection as a result of threading a blister on the Camino....perhaps you should have read what I said, but then again....you're always right. :)
Personally, I don't care what people do with regards to blisters. I know what worked (and didn't work) for me. My experience is going to be completely different than the next ten people that ask about blister care. Everyone is different. Everyone has varying opinions. Same goes with backpacks, boots, socks, how heavy your pack is, what the role of technology is on the Camino....yada yada....ultimately, it all comes down to personal choice and knowing yourself and your abilities. On the camino, there were varying opinions on how to treat blisters. Everyone will tell you how to take care of them. Some of the advice is good, some of it is bad. Just like here on the forum, though I like to think most of the advice here is good and very little, if any, is bad advice. :)
 

+@^^

Active Member
the great thing about advice is that you either listen to it (or dont)
.
the great thing about training is that you can take that advice, and test it for yourself
.
you would probably want to eliminate as many surprises as possible - and blisters seems to be a rude surprise
 

Caminando

Veteran Member
renegadepilgrim said:
Caminando said:
As you yourself rightly say, your opinions on blisters are not "based on scientific evidence". I fully agree with "most first aid sites" you mention, about popping the blister etc etc. It's good to see that this advice was taught to you in training, and importantly, please note, that there is no mention of threading blisters.They recommend, you say, an antiseptic and a cover on the wound. Why? let me tell you...to stop infection; this is precisely why I say threading it is unwise. You are introducing a foreign body to the wound with a thread. :idea: This easily transports infection.
I hope you never have a nasty purulent abscess cause you're gonna freak out when the doctor incises and drains it and sticks a "thread" in it.....aka a "wick" aka packing. Why do they do this? To drain the fluid in the wound. Point being, thread in a blister is not going to invite infection. The treatment for an abscess (which is similar to a blister, only it usually has purulent fluid indicating infection, whereas a blister is usually clear fluid, NOT indicating infection) is the same as how some people treat a blister on the Camino. Open it up, drain it, put a wick in it so the purulent fluid has a place to go, away from the inside of the wound. Abscesses, like blisters heal from the INSIDE outward. The logic behind threading a blister is similar. If you open a blister, drain it and put antibiotic ointment on it, you run the risk of the blister resealing itself and filling with fluid AGAIN. I have yet to hear any anecdotal evidence of infection as a result of threading a blister on the Camino....perhaps you should have read what I said, but then again....you're always right. :)
Personally, I don't care what people do with regards to blisters. I know what worked (and didn't work) for me. My experience is going to be completely different than the next ten people that ask about blister care. Everyone is different. Everyone has varying opinions. Same goes with backpacks, boots, socks, how heavy your pack is, what the role of technology is on the Camino....yada yada....ultimately, it all comes down to personal choice and knowing yourself and your abilities. On the camino, there were varying opinions on how to treat blisters. Everyone will tell you how to take care of them. Some of the advice is good, some of it is bad. Just like here on the forum, though I like to think most of the advice here is good and very little, if any, is bad advice. :)
Thanks Rev - it was good to read your expanded opinion, some of which is useful.
 

renegadepilgrim

Veteran Pilgrim and Traveler
Camino(s) past & future
2010: Camino Frances, 2011: Santo Domingo de la Calzada (Hospitalera), 2012: Camino Portuguese from Porto, 2015: Camino Norte
Caminando said:
Thanks Rev - it was good to read your expanded opinion, some of which is useful.
Still trying to figure out why you keep calling me Rev....clarification please?
 

Kialoa3

Active Member
Hikers wool, a New Zealand product, saved the day for me. I used two socks and vaseline, and had boots 1.5 times my normal size, which were well broken in, but I still felt heat under the balls of my feet from time to time. I would just put a tuft of wool in between the two socks on that spot and it was like heaven. No blisters, but I was diligently managing hot spots using bits of wool when I felt something rubbing. Worked great.

John
 

pilgrim2011

New Member
Hi
I walked the Camino for 32 days completing the 800k (500 miles) from St.Jean Pied De Port to Santiago. I was plagued with blisters from day 1 and throughout my journey :( However, if you are prepared for them and know what to do you can take following precautions :
1. At first sign or feeling of a blister, stop and remove your boot and sock.
2. If not large blister apply a compiseed (adhesive rubber skin you can purchase from pharmacy as part of a box or packet). This will pad the blister and prevent you experiencing further discomfort!
3. If large blister has formed, take a needle and sterilise it with alcohol (also available from pharmacy). Attach some thread through needle not actually making a knot in the thread.
4. Pierce blister with needle stringing thread through blister at 2 carefully selected points.
5. Drain the blister until all fluid has been removed, then tie knot in thread. This will soak up any excess of remaining fluid in blister.
6. Apply disinfectant generously to all over blister (Iodine is best) as this will prevent nasty infection.
7. Place a small dressing (available from pharmacy) on the blister and finally stick down with surgical tape (available from pharmacy) onto the skin. Be generous with tape and stick down good and tight ensuring whole dressing is covered.
8. Carefully put on your sock so as not to upset taped down dressing and gently put on your hiking boot.

First Aid Pack should therefore include all following items : Scissors, Surgical Tape,Iodine or other disinfectant,Dressing Pads,Compseed Skin Kit, Needle & Thread,Medical Spirit/Alcohol

This will assist you in avoiding serious blister injury. Hope it helps and Buen Camino (Good Camino) my friend :)
 

LTfit

Veteran Member
Could someone please explain how the Mefix and Medipore are used (and which sizes suggested)? I Googled the both and it looks as if the Mefix is just a covering (no gauze) and the Medipore is a type of band-aid.

I assume that you first drain the blister, use an anti-infectant (iodine or the like) then cover. But with which one when?

Thanks for your help. I developed some nice blisters last summer and am in the process of re-thinking my strategy for my upcoming Camino in July.

Cheers,
LT
 

renegadepilgrim

Veteran Pilgrim and Traveler
Camino(s) past & future
2010: Camino Frances, 2011: Santo Domingo de la Calzada (Hospitalera), 2012: Camino Portuguese from Porto, 2015: Camino Norte
LTfit said:
Could someone please explain how the Mefix and Medipore are used (and which sizes suggested)? I Googled the both and it looks as if the Mefix is just a covering (no gauze) and the Medipore is a type of band-aid.
Mefix is a tape you use to secure bandages to the body. Medipore is also a tape, similar to Mefix. I think you might be thinking of Mepore, which is a bandage.
http://www.molnlycke.com/us/Wound-Care- ... ctiveTab=2

Essentially, you would drain the blister, you could treat it with betadine to clean it, then apply the Mepore over it to protect it and absorb any exudate from the blister. It works really well. We used it on our chronic wound patients all the time and they had some gnarly wounds. It should be easy to get in Europe as it is from a European company. If you have specific questions, please PM me.
 

dougfitz

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Spain: Mar 2010, Apr 2014, May/Jun 2016. Norway/Sweden: 2012, 2018. Other: 2011, 2019. CP (2020)
What now seems like an age ago, at -->> http://www.caminodesantiago.me/board/frequently-asked-questions/topic10321.html#p64518 falcon269 wrote a long post:

falcon269 said:
I cut my backpacking teeth in the Sierra Nevada in the days when we used leather street shoes.

snip

Visualize Yosemite Sam here, slappin' his knee and spittin' from 'neath his handlebar mustache...
If you haven't read this post, it is an excellent contribution and worth going back to it and reading in detail. I think it is one of the best discussions on the topic, and even though I have only been here a short time, it seems to me it should be seen as a classic.
 

mtcab

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances (2011) Via Podensis (2013) Camino Ingles (2013) Northern Route (Gijon to Ribadeo) 2015
Nice to hear from someone else starting in September. My son & I plan to be on the road from SJPP Sept. 9 and would love to keep in touch with fellow pilgrims. I have walked about 40 + km over two days and had only one hot spot that I ignored, and it developed into a blister. I get hot feet now that warmer weather is here and wonder, if the wonderful (in cold weather!!) GoreTex boots are the issue.
I love the boots but get so hot!
Carmel
 
D

Deleted member 3000

Guest
Chatting yesterday with a backpacking friend, he reminded me about Witch Hazel. It is an astringent that will help dry a blister. Apply it after treating the blister. It helps toughen the skin, too. In the morning before starting, use the treatments like Compeed, moleskin, tape, etc.

Witch Hazel also is good for insect bites and rashes.

It is the main ingredient in Tucks, Thayers, and Preparation-H, so has other uses like hemorrhoids, and comes in single-wrap packaging. Toss in a couple of packets, and you can treat a variety of skin ailments.

Using the lotion form of Witch Hazel in the weeks before a long walk will toughen skin.
 

Deeppockets

New Member
Hi Juju,

I used to get blisters but have had none since I started to use silicone cream on my feet a few years ago (as well as double socking). I use it liberally all over my feet at the start of each day and sometimes re-apply at lunch time.

Admittedly, I have not yet done an 800km walk (I start the Camino Frances from SJDP in just over 2 weeks), but I have done some fairly long walks (eg Wainright Coast-to-Coast 350km) and also some very challenging walks (eg Kokoda Track and Kapa Kapa Track in PNG). The PNG walks are in very hot humid, muddy and wet conditions which really puts a stain on the soft tissues of your feet.

Despite these conditions, silicone cream has prevented any blisters over the past 3 years since I started using it.

I will certainly be taking a couple of tubes of silicone with me on the Camino.

Does anyone know if it is possible to buy silicone cream along the Camino?

Peter S
Adelaide
Australia
 

flyswatty

Member
Camino(s) past & future
Walked in May 2012 - Burgos to Santiago; Planning to walk in May 2013 - SJPP to Burgos!
Hi there: I'm glad to see this topic.

I've been walking for 6 days now (after starting in Burgos) and developed 2 hot spots, both at the lower side of my heel on the inner parts of both feet. I applied compeed and I've had it on for 4 days now and very slowly the compeed is starting to lift off. At the end of a day of walking when I remove my socks, a bit of the compeed adhesive sticks to my sock and tears away. I'm not even sure what is hidden under the compeed. There feels like there could be blisters but i am not sure. My question is how to treat the area after the compeed lifts off, especially if there were blisters beneath. Ideas? Any advice would be appreciated. Thanks! Sonya
 
D

Deleted member 3000

Guest
If there is a blister, it is likely that the dead skin will come off with the Compeed. Clean the area and apply another Compeed to protect the new skin and protect against the friction that caused the blister in the first place. If there is no blister, another Compeed will continue to protect against the friction.
 

Abbeydore

Veteran Member
Yes it's anoying when compeed lets some glue out, I wonder if putting some vasaline around the compeed after you have sealed it next time around; something to nuetalize the glue?
 

CaminanteQuixote

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
Walking with kids 2012
Reflections on Blisters

Having been on the Camino for over a month and a half now, I have seen some very horrifying feet. Having come of age on a New Mexican fire crew as my squad's medic, one would think I would have really exciting stories to tell: burns, slashes, snakebites. I have a few of those, but mostly I spent my evenings dealing with mens' stinking feet. After spending months of my life bent over swollen and disfigured toes, I am pretty well versed and comfortable with the world of feet gone bad.

Which is a good thing, as I have witnessed the fact that many pilgrims really just do not understand their feet and blisters. In the extreme example, I met an Irish kid who had horrible blisters, the kind that cover the whole heel, swell up between the toes, and get weepy and gruesome. He was ripping the skin off with his teeth, and forcing himself to walk over twenty km a day. When I saw him, a day into the trip, he could barely walk. I sat him down and told him how to drain a blister, to stop ripping theskin off with with is teeth, etc.

I saw him again in Pamplona, and sheepilshly, he asked for my assistance. His heel had the biggest blister I have seen, and I have seen a few. I helped him drain it, which if having someone's clear slimy blister juice burst all over makes your stomach churn, then this is not your calling.

I write this post hoping to set out a few basic reflections on blisters that can help your future journey.

Walking shoes should be old friends.
There are many new boots on the trail and way too many blisters. Take time to break in your shoes...not a week before trying to walk 300 miles, but a month. More. As soon as you begin planning, get your shoes and get to know them. Have dinner, go for long walks on the beach. Take a romanic weekend to a mountaintop. Experience domestic tedium by shopping and doing yardwork. You probably are not planning to make this journey with an acquaintance you meet online last Wednesday, so do not put your feet through new mail ordered boots either. Even if you're the type who would take a trip with a beautiful and charming stranger, just break in your dang boots.

Know Thy Feet
As you walk, really let your feet speak to you. Do your feet sweat? Do they need air? Do you feel a pinch, pain or discomfort? Do you feel rubbing or warmth? This is called a hot spot, the initial very subtle development of a blister. Some people shove their boots on for the day, and only remove them in the evening filled with blisters and rubbed into various shades of raw. Don't be that person. Walk with a sense of mindfulness. When your feet speak, listen.

Have Patience
Our blisters are often simply a physical manifestation of our impatience. Not having patience to break in footwear. Not having patience to stop and address a hot spot. Pushing ourselves to do a whole stage when our feet are begging to do half. Your feet, with their needs and demands, might be trying to teach you something.

An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of moleskin
When you feel hot spot, stop. Like, right now. Not at the next town. Just crawl to the side of the Camino and take off your boots. Let your feet air and dry. The journey is long and 15 minutes is only 15 minutes. Look at the hot spot. You can do a few thing to assist your feet at this point. First, consider taping any friction areas. Good athletic tape over a hot spot works wonders, it stops the friction on the skin and thus prevents a blister from forming. For those pesky sweaty toe blisters you may need to change your socks. Change your shoes (making Chacos or Tevas your spare shoes is a great idea, as you can keep walking). Some people use high-tech creams (I just have never used them so can't vouch for them). Prevention of blisters is the goal.

Sock it to ya!
What socks do your feet need? Most people, for long walks, should avoid cotton as their main hiking sock, try a merino wool sock instead. If you do have sweaty feet, or feet prone to friction blisters, then try silk sock liners. Also, I see people with socks as thick as adobe walls. They get blisters because their socks make their shoes too small. Your boot should fit comfortably with your sock on...no cramming and not too much sliding. Try to wear them together to ensure proper

Rethink heavy boots.
I see a ton of heavy hiking boots on the Camino, worn by people who are not even carrying packs. The majority of your walking is pretty docile. You are not hiking the Grand Canyon. You will be walking twelve to twenty five miles a day, day after day after day, week after week. It seems to me that, for most people, heavy boots are overkill...they certainly are killing many people's feet. So take time to figure out what you really need, and go for the simplest, lightest, most comfortable solution.

You have Blisters
Despite breaking in your boots, having patience, listening to your feet and working with preventive measures, you discover you have a blister. It happens. Now comes a very critical step, to treat them with care and respect. I recently heard a twenty-something girl from Ireland talk about her feet.

"I got blisters. But I kept going. I was walking with some people, and I didn't want to fall behind them. I didn't want to be that person. And now I have to go home. My feet are wrecked, and I just can't walk any farther. I go home in four days."



[/b]Some blister healing tricks:
Keep your blister drained but the skin intact. Using a small sterilized pin, stick the fluid filled blister at the edge, and gently push the liquid out to drain. Air if possible. The goal is to get the blister to harden and heal. You may have to redrain a blister several times. Do not rip the skin, which exposes you to infection.

Cold water, salt, and vinegar soak. Feels good on you're feet. Helps dry up your blisters, if they are still in the docile stage.

Bag balm. At night, you can rub some bag balm on the blister. Encourages healing. I think you have to bring it with you, as I have not found it in Spain.

Air your feet, change shoes, change socks, rest. Having a pair of hiking sandals helps when your boots rub you the wrong way.

Your Blisters Get Ugly
There are a few good first aid things for bad blisters. Nothing replaces patience, rest, and removing the cause of the blister. There is no magic panacea except time. That said, here are a few ideas to treat your blister gone bad.

Second skin. This weird gelatinous blue film that you can apply directly on a ripped blister to provide comfort and padding. Bandage afterward with tape and a non-stick bandage. Decent for ripped blisters.

Compeed. High-tec, semi-permeate bandage that keeps the dirt out. It also provides some padding and gives the blister a chance to heal. Do not peel it back to peak, unless you notice an increase in pain, or redness developing at the site. This bandage can stay on a few days without changing. Read directions. You can wrap it with vet tape to keep it from peeling.

Don't be Afraid of the Doctor
Infected feet? Redlines running up your leg? Can't walk? Gruesome weeping? Smell of puetrification? Colored discharge from the blister? Fever?
You have already made that appointment...

*I aint't no doctor. Take what I say with a grain of salt. Use your best judgement. Know your feet. Talk to your own medical provider, legal blah, blah. But whatever. Break in your shoes. Stop when you feel hot spots. Have Patience with yourself.

Caminantequixote.wordpress.com
 

dougfitz

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Spain: Mar 2010, Apr 2014, May/Jun 2016. Norway/Sweden: 2012, 2018. Other: 2011, 2019. CP (2020)
Caminantequixote, thank you for a great post. I must admit to a preference not to drain blisters as a first response, but to try and keep the skin intact for as long as possible. I use moleskin, fixomul or strapping tape to reduce the friction and protect the skin. Large blisters that have gone untreated are more difficult, but not impossible even with just expedient materials.

In addition to the advice on socks and boots/shoes, there are preventive strapping tecniques. These either reduce the friction on the skin with a thin tape like fixomul,or immobilse adjacent toes to stop them rubbing.
 

CaminanteQuixote

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
Walking with kids 2012
Thanks. I have seen people who blister on the balls of their feet...
And ideas for that?
See the photo at: http://caminantequixote.wordpress.com/2 ... -blisters/
I tried to upload it here, but it was too big.
Not for the weak of heart. I am not the doctor repairing this blister, I was just the bystander with camera.

I have to admit, with proper technique and sterilization, I am a drainer.
I find the skin seals if a small needle is used. This comes from seeing many blisters rip, when they were not drained and walking continued. However, I am a bit stumped on best treatment for blisters on the ball of the foot.
 

ksam

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Portuguese '08, Frances '11, del Norte '14, Invierno '16, Ingles '17, Primitivo October 2018
CaminanteQuixote, great post and a damn good pic of damn nasty blister! Exactly where mine were...both feet! Fortunately I had a fab hospitelero who treated 'em and I was able to walk on, although since it was the Meseta...in my Crocs for three days. The swelling made my shoes hard to put on. So for me now...drain and maintain and move on forward!

Buen Camino, Karin
 
W

whariwharangi

Guest
I've got a few miles hiking and am quite done with the blister thing.

The best way to avoid blisters is to get shoes that fit and are broken in.

When you go to buy boots wear the thinnest pair of socks. Wear the shoes around the shop for a half hour. Walk up and down the stairs if there are any.

If there are ANY pressure points then walk away from the nice look, price, whatever. That minor pressure point will give you major grief on any real distance.

If they give you blisters when you go for a walk for an hour or two to break them in ... give them away and buy another pair. Expensive ... sure, but your feet will thank you.
 

Gilespenn

Member
HI Everyone,

I watched people nursing their feet night after night in albergues. I came to the conclusion that heavy duty leather hiking boots on the Camino are the problem. Today's walking/hiking shoes are lightweight, have air cushioned soles and are water resistent but airy. I used Merrills because they were recommended by the walking expert where I bought my shoes, but lots of other brands will do nicely.

No doubt leather hiking boots have a place in the Rocky Mountains or the Alps, but they are not designed (I don't think) for all the asphalt we encounter on the Camino.

On the Norte in August/Sept I was walking mostly with Europeans and they all seemed to have hiking boots and they all seemed to have blisters.

I hope this message helps someone have a better Camino,
Giles
 

dougfitz

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Spain: Mar 2010, Apr 2014, May/Jun 2016. Norway/Sweden: 2012, 2018. Other: 2011, 2019. CP (2020)
whariwharangi said:
When you go to buy boots wear the thinnest pair of socks.
This advice is completely contrary to the conventional wisdom on buying hiking boots, ie to ensure that you are wearing the same or similar thickness socks to those you plan to use. One should also shop for boots as late in the day as possible, having walked as much as possible. This will give your feet a chance to spread out, which they will do more after a few days walking. Doing both goes some way to ensuring that you don't get boots might be great for a few days, but will be too tight for longer multi-day walks.
 

Tia Valeria

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Pt Norte/Pmtvo 2010
C. Inglés 2011
C. Primitivo '12
Norte-C. de la Reina '13
C. do Mar-C. Inglés '15
Gilespenn said:
....... I came to the conclusion that heavy duty leather hiking boots on the Camino are the problem. .....
On heavy leather, yes I agree. However certainly here in the UK we can buy lightweight leather hiking boots which are good for the Camino. We wear them quite happily with no blisters.

Buying new we make sure, as Doug says, that we are wearing the layers of socks which we plan to walk in and go when it is warm and/or we have been walking. Buying the latest pair (Grisport) we went in wearing our old boots (HiTec) as well which gave an excellent guide to fit. Obviously not a choice for new walkers but wearing a pair of old comfy shoes would help.

And a word of warning to repeat buyers:- We have changed brand because the fit of the HiTec boots is different now (same style and supposed size). This may be true of other brands too. So glad we went to our local shop and didn't rely on the internet for this.
 

GoBird

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
CF Sept 2012
I hike in Goretex Montrail Mountain Masochists in the winter and use the regular version in warmer months. I use cheap, thin, cotton Gap socks and never get blisters.

But after purusing the forum, I purchased thick, cushy, quick dry Cool Max socks and doctored my feet/toes with Vaseline/Body Glide the morning of the second day from Roncevalles to Zubiri.

Big mistake.

Don't fix what ain't broken.
 
W

whariwharangi

Guest
dougfitz said:
whariwharangi said:
When you go to buy boots wear the thinnest pair of socks.
This advice is completely contrary to the conventional wisdom on buying hiking boots, ie to ensure that you are wearing the same or similar thickness socks to those you plan to use. One should also shop for boots as late in the day as possible, having walked as much as possible. This will give your feet a chance to spread out, which they will do more after a few days walking. Doing both goes some way to ensuring that you don't get boots might be great for a few days, but will be too tight for longer multi-day walks.
The problem with wearing thick socks when you go to try boots is that your feet will not feel the pressure points.

Its a good point though to wear socks the same thickness to make sure everything fits ... do that after the thin sock test.
 

dougfitz

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Spain: Mar 2010, Apr 2014, May/Jun 2016. Norway/Sweden: 2012, 2018. Other: 2011, 2019. CP (2020)
whariwharangi said:
The problem with wearing thick socks when you go to try boots is that your feet will not feel the pressure points.
I have never had a problem detecting the pressure points wearing the thicker socks I use trekking. I also use a thin liner sock, although I have never considered just wearing the liner to see if there are pressure points I haven't already been able to detect.
 

babylon2505

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
(2014)
Comfeel is available in Canada from a medical supply store. It comes in a sterile pack about 4X4 inches or 10X10 cm. I would guess one would have to buy the pack of five. One will need scissors to cut to size. You will also need tape to hold it down as it does not seem to stay in place. It is used for wound management or bedsores. It is a gel bandages that comes in different thicknesses. I tried it this week on my foot. It rolled off in the sock. So taping it down is a must.
 
Camino(s) past & future
SJPdP - Pamplona March/April 2013
When people talk about 'duct tape' (prompted tonight by TrishAlexSage's blog) are they talking about a special medicinal type of 'duct tape' - I presume they are not talking about construction-type duct tape?
 

dougfitz

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Spain: Mar 2010, Apr 2014, May/Jun 2016. Norway/Sweden: 2012, 2018. Other: 2011, 2019. CP (2020)
sergeantmajormammy said:
When people talk about 'duct tape' (prompted tonight by TrishAlexSage's blog) are they talking about a special medicinal type of 'duct tape' - I presume they are not talking about construction-type duct tape?
They are. See the discussion around http://www.caminodesantiago.me/board/medical-issues-on-the-pilgrimage/topic16852.html#p122682. I provided a couple of links there that show how gaffer tape might be used. Of course, one could also use sports strapping tape, but gaffer tape is often more readily available, and much cheaper.

Regards,
 

flyswatty

Member
Camino(s) past & future
Walked in May 2012 - Burgos to Santiago; Planning to walk in May 2013 - SJPP to Burgos!
I am curious about advice pertaining to calluses. If too large/thick, would this make one more vulnerable to blisters? Would it be advisable to have a pedicure a month before so as to avoid starting with big calluses. Any advice or recommendations?
 
D

Deleted member 3000

Guest
A callous can move as a unit and cause a blister under itself, typically on the big toe. If that happens, it is very difficult to treat.
 

Terryleehall

New Member
I was reading a post on the Appalacation Trail web site..
One of the thru hikers was saying callouses we'er natures way of protecting your foot.
If you've ever seen a person who does a lot of "barefoot' hiking they look pretty knarlie.
However getting a pedicure I know is a bad idea..I had one with the same thought in mind..that weekend I went on a 10 mile training hike with full pack..my newly manicured feet protested all the way..I'll never do that again.
 

CaminoGen

CF May-June 2011; Oloron to Fisterra Sept-Oct 2013
Camino(s) past & future
Camino frances-SJPP. Santiago (2011); Oloron to Fisterra (Sept 5-Oct 23 2013)
As someone who got bad blisters on my previous Camino, I can tell you that one of my mistakes was having feet that were too dry. Don't get a pedicure but do hydrate your feet before you leave and while on the Way si that the skin stays supple. The back of my feet split open because the skin was too dry. Live and learn.
 

cpstar

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
APril 2013
Highly recommend 1000 mile socks. Have done A LOT of walking the last couple of months in the shoes I'm taking on my camino and no blisters! They are bit dearer than your average sock but well worth it as no blisters!
 

Trishkerry

Member
Camino(s) past & future
Done....Frances, Norte ,Primitivo, Finisterre
Future ...via de la plata
I suffer from blisters due to toes rubbing together. Tried SOOO many different types of sock even ones with individual toes . Best so far are Xsocks Marathon . Not cheap but no blisters so far. :)
 

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