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Caution of Ignoring "Listen to your body" rule

Past OR future Camino
Camino Frances: 2015, 2017, 2019, 2021
Preparing for our first camino frances in 2015, I read many books and consulted with the Camino Forum several times each day. In addition to the obvious guidance, regarding backpack selection, good hiking boots, etc the two most important Camino Rules I recalled were "Listen to your body" and "Walk at your own pace. We met a peregrina at the Logrono municipal (by the foot soaking pool) and she was hobbling badly. She had developed an injury to one of her feet, went to see a doctor and he strongly advised she stay off her feet for the next 5 to 7 days. She was quite upset since she would not be able to continue hiking with her pilgrim family.

Later during this camino, my wife's blisters caused her to walk differently, which progressed into foot pain. Fortunately we learned about Jacotrans and we began transporting her backpack ahead from Carrion de los Condes every day until we reached Santiago. Cindi's foot pain continued and when we returned home, she went to a doctor and learned she developed stress fractures in her knee and foot. Not too serious and she fully recovered.

No problems on second or third caminos. For our camino this fall, the pattern returned. First Cindi developed a few painful blisters on several toes. Then pain started developing in her right leg. The pain increased over time. We convinced ourselves that this was tendonitis or "shin splints" that high doses of ibuprofen would reduce the pain and swelling. We never considered going to a doctor. Then something changed for the worse in Palas de Rei. With only three more days of hiking until we reached Santiago, we continued hiking approx 20 kms per day for the next three days. We made it to Santiago and collected our compostelas, but Cindi could barely hobble even with her trekking poles. Other than leaving our hotel to get a COVID test, she barely left our room in Santiago. Same for Madrid except to enjoying grilled pulpo at our favorite, nearby restaurant. By the time we were in transit at the Miami airport, she needed a wheelchair. Same for our arrival in Indianapolis.

She immediately went to an orthopedic doctor. Cindi had developed a severe stress fracture in her tibia and one or two others in her right leg. The doctor told her to remain in bed for the next four weeks, use a wheelchair to get around, and use a bedpan to go to the toilet. Cindi said these were not feasible, but agreed to use crutches, a walking boot, apply ice frequently and spend all her time on the couch during the day. The doctor warned her that if she did not comply, surgery may be needed.

She went to a followup appointment. The bone is healing slowly and the doctor ordered Cindi to remain off her feet for another 4 1/2 weeks. Of course, she is not allowed to drive. So best case scenario is after her next appointment "if she can walk" Cindi will have spent 8 1/2 weeks confined to bed and couch which is several weeks longer than the time walking the camino.

Lesson learned about "Listen to your body". We did not and are paying the price. And the doctor said that with Cindi's history of stress fractures and treatment for osteoporosis, Cindi should not consider ever walking the camino again! So after hiking the camino four times with Cindi from St Jean to Santiago every two years, my next camino in 2023 will be solo. I will need to heed the important lesson myself.

Bob
 
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dougfitz

Veteran Member
Past OR future Camino
Spain: Mar 2010, Apr 2014, May/Jun 2016. Norway/Sweden: 2012, 2018. Other: 2011, 2019. CP (tbc)
@BROWNCOUNTYBOB, thank you for sharing this cautionary tale. I hope your wife continues to recover and regain her mobility.
I know how tempting it can be to hide pain and mask the signs and symptoms that there are deeper seated issues happening with our bodies. Your story should give all of us caution when doing this that we need to do this with great care.
 

Faye Walker

Veteran Member
Past OR future Camino
CF 2014, CF 2018, CP 2019 from Coimbra
How much of this would we avoid if there were less a competitive (even interior with ourselves) aspect to the contemporary camino?
The Compostela requires 100k on foot... not more than that.
Not everyone requires a Compostela.
But there is so much "general discourse" out there that has a rather "macho" (sorry... can't think of a better word for it now)... that puts the pilgrimage into a contemporary march of suffering, or extreme endurance *sport*.
For those seeking the blessing of St. James... truly, one has only to visit the cathedral. We see them as ordinary worshipers whose home parish happens to be the cathedral; we see them arriving in church-organized bus tours...
But there are people out there who pressure and push... who aver that *walking* is the point (rather than arriving).
I have even seen (on a popular Vlogger's channel) an assertion that one has not appreciated the "true pilgrimage" if they have come only from Sarria... that it is *stupid superstition* to go to the cathedral when one could so much more "powerfully" walk any other stretch of the caminos (never to reach SdC at all).
I am so sorry for @BROWNCOUNTYBOB and his wife to have had this injurious experience... and I do not criticize them here at all...
But I am remembering all the cacophonous chatter on my two CF's (that I really had to learn to ignore) that pressured people to ignore their bodies, to press on...
And I remember the wisdom of the first hospitalera I ever encountered... who tried to persuade people be sensible.... She told us that "It's not a marathon; it's not a race, and the camino *will* always win, always endure... whatever foolish things you do; so do not do foolish things thinking you will conquer the camino. The camino will conquer you."
That stuck with me.
I hope that the "culture" out there can change...
I *know* that for those who have to travel very far on expensive tickets for a "once in a lifetime" journey there can be real fear of "giving up".... but what if it were not giving up....? What if it were a recognition that this thing is bigger than we are.
I am trying to avoid religious ideas so as not to tread on forum rules... but the idea of "surrender" keeps coming to me.
I hope that @BROWNCOUNTYBOB's wife recuperates without complication.
 

Stellamaris

New Member
Past OR future Camino
CF1999,Le Puy 2012, 2014, CF March 2022
…sad story, I feel sorry for Cindy. We all have to learn from that experience. I am «hopefully » starting the CF/Invierno late march and I gave myself a 50 days window to be able to pause, breath and relax, nothing to reach even Santiago.
 
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2019
I spent 46 days, even though I could have easily done it in 30. Next time I’ll spend even longer. Because I can. I know not everyone has abundant time.
What’s the rush? And who said you have to do the whole lot? The point is to enjoy the bit you do, enjoy the company of pilgrims while you’re on it and get to Santiago if you can, when you can.
It’s not a race. It’s not a sports event. It’s not a festival. It’s just a quiet long walk along beautiful scenery with good people and plenty of time to reflect.
 
Past OR future Camino
Next up 2022?
⁹@BROWNCOUNTYBOB, and Cindi - Simply, I'm sorry this has happened to you! And thank you for having the generosity to post your story as a cautionary tale. You may be saving someone from injury!

On thing that happened - and I know I would have done exactly the same thing - was minimizing the importance of the pain. Even after stress fractures in a prior camino. That's the place where denial kicked in and took over driving the train. And you can let yourselves off the hook: you didn't intentionally do anything wrong! It's just an example of our common human tendency to think 'It won't happen to me,' or 'It's nothing important.' That's the biggest lesson for me: Don't listen to that minimizing voice if the pain is limiting or increasing.

And the doctor said that with Cindi's history of stress fractures and treatment for osteoporosis, Cindi should not consider ever walking the camino again!
In Cindi's shoes I'd get a second or even third opinion about that. Maybe she can do shorter caminos in shorter stages. Maybe treatment and exercise can increase her bone density. I'm no expert, but do talk to more than one. .
 
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Moorwalker

Active Member
Past OR future Camino
The Saint's Way, Cornwall
I strongly suspect that many of the foot and leg problems that people experience is because they try to do too much, too soon. The commonly quoted 33 days requires a lot of walking and unless you are a regular long distance walker it may well cause injuries. It takes at least 3 months for ligaments and joints to adapt to that sort of walking so it's worth making sure that you walk regularly for at least that amount of time before you go. Muscles also support joints so again, if you are not a regular walker anyway it's worth doing some strength work. You don't need to be an athlete to walk the Camino but you do need to be reasonably active if you are not going to risk injury.
 

LTfit

Veteran Member
Thank you for your post @BROWNCOUNTYBOB and please send my wishes for a smooth recovery to Cindi.

But...I completely agree with @VNwalking and her advice to get a second opinion. I speak from experience (pelvic, tibia and foot fractures incurred by walking and undiagnosed osteoporosis).

Long time members may remember my aborted Vía de La Plata in 2011 after 500+ km when I was taken on a stretcher by ambulance from a hospital in Zamora to Barajas Airport and flown out to The Netherlands on a stretcher covering 8 seats. The pelvic fractures were stable but the tibial plateau fracture needed to be operated on. As fractures occured on both sides I was in a wheelchair for 3 months (2 in rehab) and then started walking on crutches and intensive physiotherapy. Once it was determined that the cause was severe osteoporosis (bone scan and other tests to rule-out cancer) I was started on a 5 year protocol of Risedronate and vitamin C/D3. Within a year I was back on the Camino as a hospitalera and walked 1 week along the Francés. Every year since then (except for 2020) I have walked Caminos. Look under here for details on the 10.000+ km I've walked since then.

No one is the same but I would not give up that quickly. Good luck!

p.m. I was 54 at the time and it was my second Camino.

Ultreia
 
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geraldkelly

Active Member
Past OR future Camino
Camino Francés, Vía de la Plata / Camino Sanabrés, Camino del Baztán, Camino Aragonés, Chemin du Puy
"Listen to your body" and "Walk at your own pace."

That's basically it in a nutshell.

On my first Camino I asked advice from a hospitalero who told me, "Relax and walk the Camino".
 
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BonitaHolland

Active Member
Past OR future Camino
Starting 3rd Sep 2016
A very good posting- pain is the body’s method of communicating with your frontal lobes ie the bits that make the decisions. If you cut off the pain signals with painkillers you can do more damage. My Camino ended in Leon due to plantar fasciitis it took 2 years to completely heal. It was caused by wearing my old trusted boots, my feet ‘grew’ due to being swollen each day and remained a size and a half bigger and my now too narrow boots squeezed my feet in a vice like grip.
 

Elle Bieling

Elle Bieling, PilgrimageTraveler
Past OR future Camino
Too many to count!
Wow @BROWNCOUNTYBOB, that is quite the story! I too walked with a group of friends, where one friend started to limp after only the 6th day on our Camino starting in Salamanca on the VdlP. It was only her 1st Camino and our 7th, I believe. I believe her limp/injury was a result of feeling like she had to push to keep our faster pace. We two couples had planned before the start, that we all needed to keep our own pace each day, and we would stay in contact throughout the day, meeting up at the end. No amount of our preparation would negate her inner drive to keep up and continue walking at all costs.

As an RN and a yoga teacher, despite my daily coaching, I watched in horror as her limp worsened, and changed from affecting one leg to later including the other leg. Still she would not stop, not change the distance.

We also added more rest days, without improvement. It was my worst nightmare. I think the only way she would have stopped, is if the whole group stopped with her. Or maybe not, she was so determined!

Finally, at about 50 km from Santiago, we were having dinner at a bar in Estación de Lalín, along the Sanabrés (click to read the whole day's story), when we got up to leave, my friend collapsed to the floor. She could no longer force her body to even stand up, the pain was so severe. She had to be carried back to her room.

The next morning we arranged for a taxi to take her to a clinic in Santiago. Fortunately, her right tibia and left knee had no fractures, but such severe tendonitis that required a wheelchair for any distances and crutches for shorter. And eventually, her healing was complete, though it did require a few months of non-weight bearing.

To this day, I realize that I was not responsible for her choices, however, I still feel badly that I couldn't do more to prevent it. This is yet another reason why walking with a group can be an interesting proposition! The faster walker also suffers as well as the slower.
 
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Cindy McGuire

New Member
Past OR future Camino
Starting from St.jean Pied de Port April 24, 2016
Preparing for our first camino frances in 2015, I read many books and consulted with the Camino Forum several times each day. In addition to the obvious guidance, regarding backpack selection, good hiking boots, etc the two most important Camino Rules I recalled were "Listen to your body" and "Walk at your own pace. We met a peregrina at the Logrono municipal (by the foot soaking pool) and she was hobbling badly. She had developed an injury to one of her feet, went to see a doctor and he strongly advised she stay off her feet for the next 5 to 7 days. She was quite upset since she would not be able to continue hiking with her pilgrim family.

Later during this camino, my wife's blisters caused her to walk differently, which progressed into foot pain. Fortunately we learned about Jacotrans and we began transporting her backpack ahead from Carrion de los Condes every day until we reached Santiago. Cindi's foot pain continued and when we returned home, she went to a doctor and learned she developed stress fractures in her knee and foot. Not too serious and she fully recovered.

No problems on second or third caminos. For our camino this fall, the pattern returned. First Cindi developed a few painful blisters on several toes. Then pain started developing in her right leg. The pain increased over time. We convinced ourselves that this was tendonitis or "shin splints" that high doses of ibuprofen would reduce the pain and swelling. We never considered going to a doctor. Then something changed for the worse in Palas de Rei. With only three more days of hiking until we reached Santiago, we continued hiking approx 20 kms per day for the next three days. We made it to Santiago and collected our compostelas, but Cindi could barely hobble even with her trekking poles. Other than leaving our hotel to get a COVID test, she barely left our room in Santiago. Same for Madrid except to enjoying grilled pulpo at our favorite, nearby restaurant. By the time we were in transit at the Miami airport, she needed a wheelchair. Same for our arrival in Indianapolis.

She immediately went to an orthopedic doctor. Cindi had developed a severe stress fracture in her tibia and one or two others in her right leg. The doctor told her to remain in bed for the next four weeks, use a wheelchair to get around, and use a bedpan to go to the toilet. Cindi said these were not feasible, but agreed to use crutches, a walking boot, apply ice frequently and spend all her time on the couch during the day. The doctor warned her that if she did not comply, surgery may be needed.

She went to a followup appointment. The bone is healing slowly and the doctor ordered Cindi to remain off her feet for another 4 1/2 weeks. Of course, she is not allowed to drive. So best case scenario is after her next appointment "if she can walk" Cindi will have spent 8 1/2 weeks confined to bed and couch which is several weeks longer than the time walking the camino.

Lesson learned about "Listen to your body". We did not and are paying the price. And the doctor said that with Cindi's history of stress fractures and treatment for osteoporosis, Cindi should not consider ever walking the camino again! So after hiking the camino four times with Cindi from St Jean to Santiago every two years, my next camino in 2023 will be solo. I will need to heed the important lesson myself.

Bob
Or you could shorten your days to lessen the strain. That's what I did after a stress fracture on my first Camino attempt. I made it only to Viana. My husband and I have been back twice since then. We used Jacotrans so that I was only carrying a day pack and we shortened our days; 6 - 10 miles and built in more rest days. Hopefully you'll have the time to do that.
 

M&A

New Member
Past OR future Camino
2019
Preparing for our first camino frances in 2015, I read many books and consulted with the Camino Forum several times each day. In addition to the obvious guidance, regarding backpack selection, good hiking boots, etc the two most important Camino Rules I recalled were "Listen to your body" and "Walk at your own pace. We met a peregrina at the Logrono municipal (by the foot soaking pool) and she was hobbling badly. She had developed an injury to one of her feet, went to see a doctor and he strongly advised she stay off her feet for the next 5 to 7 days. She was quite upset since she would not be able to continue hiking with her pilgrim family.

Later during this camino, my wife's blisters caused her to walk differently, which progressed into foot pain. Fortunately we learned about Jacotrans and we began transporting her backpack ahead from Carrion de los Condes every day until we reached Santiago. Cindi's foot pain continued and when we returned home, she went to a doctor and learned she developed stress fractures in her knee and foot. Not too serious and she fully recovered.

No problems on second or third caminos. For our camino this fall, the pattern returned. First Cindi developed a few painful blisters on several toes. Then pain started developing in her right leg. The pain increased over time. We convinced ourselves that this was tendonitis or "shin splints" that high doses of ibuprofen would reduce the pain and swelling. We never considered going to a doctor. Then something changed for the worse in Palas de Rei. With only three more days of hiking until we reached Santiago, we continued hiking approx 20 kms per day for the next three days. We made it to Santiago and collected our compostelas, but Cindi could barely hobble even with her trekking poles. Other than leaving our hotel to get a COVID test, she barely left our room in Santiago. Same for Madrid except to enjoying grilled pulpo at our favorite, nearby restaurant. By the time we were in transit at the Miami airport, she needed a wheelchair. Same for our arrival in Indianapolis.

She immediately went to an orthopedic doctor. Cindi had developed a severe stress fracture in her tibia and one or two others in her right leg. The doctor told her to remain in bed for the next four weeks, use a wheelchair to get around, and use a bedpan to go to the toilet. Cindi said these were not feasible, but agreed to use crutches, a walking boot, apply ice frequently and spend all her time on the couch during the day. The doctor warned her that if she did not comply, surgery may be needed.

She went to a followup appointment. The bone is healing slowly and the doctor ordered Cindi to remain off her feet for another 4 1/2 weeks. Of course, she is not allowed to drive. So best case scenario is after her next appointment "if she can walk" Cindi will have spent 8 1/2 weeks confined to bed and couch which is several weeks longer than the time walking the camino.

Lesson learned about "Listen to your body". We did not and are paying the price. And the doctor said that with Cindi's history of stress fractures and treatment for osteoporosis, Cindi should not consider ever walking the camino again! So after hiking the camino four times with Cindi from St Jean to Santiago every two years, my next camino in 2023 will be solo. I will need to heed the important lesson myself.

Bob
Thanks for sharing Bob, listen to your body & medical advice is the lesson I've taken ftom this story. I hope Cindi continues to improve.
 

Wanderingfriend

Active Member
Past OR future Camino
2018
How much of this would we avoid if there were less a competitive (even interior with ourselves) aspect to the contemporary camino?
The Compostela requires 100k on foot... not more than that.
Not everyone requires a Compostela.
But there is so much "general discourse" out there that has a rather "macho" (sorry... can't think of a better word for it now)... that puts the pilgrimage into a contemporary march of suffering, or extreme endurance *sport*.
For those seeking the blessing of St. James... truly, one has only to visit the cathedral. We see them as ordinary worshipers whose home parish happens to be the cathedral; we see them arriving in church-organized bus tours...
But there are people out there who pressure and push... who aver that *walking* is the point (rather than arriving).
I have even seen (on a popular Vlogger's channel) an assertion that one has not appreciated the "true pilgrimage" if they have come only from Sarria... that it is *stupid superstition* to go to the cathedral when one could so much more "powerfully" walk any other stretch of the caminos (never to reach SdC at all).
I am so sorry for @BROWNCOUNTYBOB and his wife to have had this injurious experience... and I do not criticize them here at all...
But I am remembering all the cacophonous chatter on my two CF's (that I really had to learn to ignore) that pressured people to ignore their bodies, to press on...
And I remember the wisdom of the first hospitalera I ever encountered... who tried to persuade people be sensible.... She told us that "It's not a marathon; it's not a race, and the camino *will* always win, always endure... whatever foolish things you do; so do not do foolish things thinking you will conquer the camino. The camino will conquer you."
That stuck with me.
I hope that the "culture" out there can change...
I *know* that for those who have to travel very far on expensive tickets for a "once in a lifetime" journey there can be real fear of "giving up".... but what if it were not giving up....? What if it were a recognition that this thing is bigger than we are.
I am trying to avoid religious ideas so as not to tread on forum rules... but the idea of "surrender" keeps coming to me.
I hope that @BROWNCOUNTYBOB's wife recuperates without complication.
I appreciate your words and thank you to the hiker who shared his journey around pushing through, at great cost. I have walked two portions of the Camino (I had hoped to walk from Roncesvalles to Santiago the first time, made it to Logroño. This fall I started in Logroño and made it to Leon. I stumbled in Leon and strained the muscle group below and to the left of my knee. I went through a similar interior battle. There were tears both times. My Camino family was supportive and put no pressure on me as I wrestled with my decision. In the end, I decided to stop in Leon. The physiotherapist I went to in Leon said I needed this muscle group to ascend and descend. I decided to listen to my body. It was an emotional battle for me. I caught (hobbled) to the train and got to Madrid and flew home. Deep down I knew I was making the right decision. I had battled the “I don’t want to leave my Camino family, the embarrassment of another aborted attempt” and I came home. My physiotherapist at home concurred with my Spanish one. He said, I could have done long term harm by continuing on. I am 61 and I want to stay active (within my control). I came home reframing my walk as my European experience, as many Europeans do a week or two at a time. I am okay with that. I enjoyed every day both times, even though there were moments I didn’t enjoy. I met interesting and lovely people (mostly) and my soul was nourished by the walk and by choosing self care. It is just hard to know sometimes when you should push on. This time, I knew I needed to stop. I will get to Santiago someday. I hope to go back in the fall of 2022, but my mantra is, “to hold it all lightly”.
 
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Past OR future Camino
Camino Frances: 2015, 2017, 2019, 2021
Thanks for all your empathy! An interesting comment Cindi made last night was that both times she developed stress fracturs (CF 1 and CF4), we hiked the Napoleon route. We hiked the Val Carlos route for CF2 and CF3 and she did not experience foot / knee pain.

Cindi was already taking Prolea (sp?) for osteoporosis in her spine, this may be a major contributing factor. We are both age 64 and in good health. We walk our beagle (George) each morning and exercise on the treadmill and elliptical five days a week. Still, we hiked 35 straight days, no rest days. A few days we hiked 30 to 32 kms. In hindsight, we should have not pushed ourselves that hard.

Thinking ahead to me hiking solo in two years, I may decide to start in Pamplona, take a few rest days along the way and listen to my body !

Bob
 

Wanderingfriend

Active Member
Past OR future Camino
2018
Thanks for all your empathy! An interesting comment Cindi made last night was that both times she developed stress fracturs (CF 1 and CF4), we hiked the Napoleon route. We hiked the Val Carlos route for CF2 and CF3 and she did not experience foot / knee pain.

Cindi was already taking Prolea (sp?) for osteoporosis in her spine, this may be a major contributing factor. We are both age 64 and in good health. We walk our beagle (George) each morning and exercise on the treadmill and elliptical five days a week. Still, we hiked 35 straight days, no rest days. A few days we hiked 30 to 32 kms. In hindsight, we should have not pushed ourselves that hard.

Thinking ahead to me hiking solo in two years, I may decide to start in Pamplona, take a few rest days along the way and listen to my body !

Bob
My second attempt I stopped more. I enjoyed rest days and I felt much better.
 

Pilgrim Patricia

Want to do the VdlP again!
Past OR future Camino
Via de la Plata; Hospitalera Miraz 2011
How much of this would we avoid if there were less a competitive (even interior with ourselves) aspect to the contemporary camino?
In 2005 I hiked up Kilimanjaro to celebrate a milestone birthday. I had promised myself that it didn't matter if I made it to the summit or not; it was the fact that I was fortunate enough health-wise and financially to make the attempt that counted.
Hubris can cloud our judgement and make us do unreasonable things with bad outcomes. That revelation has helped me cope with the diagnosis of pulmonary fibrosis (scarring of the lungs) and other serious life events in subsequent years. To paraphrase Proverbs 16:18, "Pride goeth before a fall."
I hiked the VdlP in two parts a few years after Kilimanjaro without any problems, taking a rest day here and there for a break, and loved it.
Stay well! 😷
 

Eamonrodden

New Member
Past OR future Camino
French, Norte, Primitivo, portuguese, via del plata, madrid
I spent 46 days, even though I could have easily done it in 30. Next time I’ll spend even longer. Because I can. I know not everyone has abundant time.
What’s the rush? And who said you have to do the whole lot? The point is to enjoy the bit you do, enjoy the company of pilgrims while you’re on it and get to Santiago if you can, when you can.
It’s not a race. It’s not a sports event. It’s not a festival. It’s just a quiet long walk along beautiful scenery with good people and plenty of time to reflect.
Agree
 
Past OR future Camino
Camino Frances 2019 & 2021
My mentor always told me, "If you don't slow down, the Camino WILL slow you down." I didn't listen very well. Got a bronchial infection, went to the clinic for antibiotics and kept walking - until I couldn't & taxied in for the last two stages to Santiago. When home & at the doctor, learned I had pneumonia, which might have been prevented if I'd stopped and rested properly. On my 2nd Camino, I took more rest days and once, when I woke so very tired, I bused that stage. Arrived in Santiago well and rested. Turned 74 on this last Camino (finished last month).
 
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Old Kiwi

Active Member
Past OR future Camino
2019
On my first Camino, I walked way too fast in order to get to see more. I got some bad blisters which turned septic and ended up as Cellulitis. I had to taxi from Acebo to Ponferrada and bus from there to Santiago where I spent a week in hospital. I transferred from there to London for another three weeks in Hospital. When I first arrived they said it was likely that I would loose my leg (that went down well). When I could travel, I went back to New Zealand to another three weeks in hospital. I learned my lesson. From then on I have allowed plenty of time to walk my Caminos at a leisurely pace and stop often to see the sights. I have enjoyed it a lot more.
 
Past OR future Camino
2022
I truly hope that Cindi and everyone who has had a serious injury from the Camino have all recovered and are stronger people now. Buen Camino!!

All the stories and advice on this thread provide one of the main reasons people should read and research here as they plan their first, second, third . . . . Camino.

I travel solo so my pace is my own. My Camino Family and I had often split on different paths along the way, sometimes not meeting up with each other for days, but always winding up back together somehow.

I purchase a one-way ticket to get to Spain and buy my return flight when I am ready. The price difference is doable, for me, and I have seen too many people have to "crush it" because they have to be at a certain airport on a certain day. My health and peace of mind are worth it.

I think I'm going to make the following my signature, I've repeated it on this forum so many times -

"Start like an old man so you can finish like a young man."

This saying from a forum member carried me through my first Camino, a very wet spring of 2013, blister- filled but not stopped, and allowed me to be a "Camino Angel" (their words, not mine) on two separate Caminos to two different young men who plowed through the first day (one from Lourdes, the other heading to Zubiri) and were hobbled by the Camino by day 2, one needing to be sent home that day. A one-day Camino!!

I hadn't thought about osteoporosis but it is certainly something for me to be aware of as I get ready for my Camino in the Spring.

If I had tried to keep to a pre-determined schedule, walked faster, or not stopped in Estella for an extra day early on in 2013 due to those darn blisters, I would never have met my Camino Family, who remain dear dear friends almost 10 years later! So, don't try to outwit the Camino!!
 

mla1

Active Member
Past OR future Camino
CF (2000); St. Giles (2013); Le Puy-SJPP (2015); VDLP (2016); Mozárabe, Almeria to Granada (2018)
This is a sobering thread full of good insight.

While the advice to go slowly, take rest days, and walk your own walk makes perfect sense - it can still be very difficult to follow through in the moment. One of the most difficult camino decisions I have ever made was on my first camino when I got a cold, felt crummy, and had to decide not to keep up with the indefatigable @peregrina2000. Happily we crossed paths again - as one often does - Santiago.

On a later camino - on the vdlp - the decision to skip an area of serious (thigh deep) flooding because of open blisters was smart, but it bugged me for weeks afterwards!

We can put a lot of pressure on ourselves. Trying to learn to live with the uncertainty that the camino presents is one of the big things that I appreciate about the chance to walk!
 

David Tallan

Veteran Member
Past OR future Camino
1989
While the advice to go slowly, take rest days, and walk your own walk makes perfect sense - it can still be very difficult to follow through in the moment.
This is one reason that my top piece of advice to those planning their first Camino is give yourself more days than you think you could possibly need. The last thing you want when your body is telling you to slow down or stop for a while is a looming deadline for a flight home that is telling you the opposite - you need to rush and cover many kilometers a day to reach Santiago in time.
 
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OzAnnie

Veteran Member
Past OR future Camino
2020
"Listen to your body" and "Walk at your own pace."

That's basically it in a nutshell.
That’s it

So many people force themselves into going again this sensible advice because they ask
others or read threads to find out how many days it should take to walk the whole route./ this advice is often from seasoned camino pilgrims who have learned to listen to their body. . Other ist time pilgrims calculate that ‘at home’ - they can easily walk x kilometres per hour !

This is one reason that my top piece of advice to those planning their first Camino is give yourself more days than you think you could possibly need. The last thing you want when your body is telling you to slow down or stop for a while is a looming deadline for a flight home that is telling you the opposite - you need to rush and cover many kilometers a day to reach Santiago in time.

Definitely.. always better to have plenty of ‘left over days’ you may have thought we’re too many days built in.

Buen camino
 

Icacos

Veteran Member
Past OR future Camino
Camino Frances (2013)
This is a sobering thread full of good insight.

While the advice to go slowly, take rest days, and walk your own walk makes perfect sense - it can still be very difficult to follow through in the moment.
A sobering thread indeed, now that I can appreciate what could have befallen me when I relied on the prescription meds that a fellow peregrina so generously shared with me, to deal with debilitating pain from tendinitis that persisted even after the five days rest that the doctor had recommended. I managed to continue my camino and fortunately - unlike so many others - never encountered any further complications. I wonder if there was some kind of divine intervention happening for me back then because, at the time, abandoning my ‘walk’ and coming back home was not an option.
 
Past OR future Camino
Camino Frances: 2015, 2017, 2019, 2021
Cindi went to the doctor this week. Since I don't understand cms, I asked the doctor how long was her stress fracture. Four inches long with lateral fractures as well! We're lucky her bone did not collapse! The bone is healing, but it will take several more weeks for Cindi to gradually gain strength in her leg and eventually move from both crutches to one, then walking on a boot, then on her own. No guess when she can drive again!

B
 

trecile

Camino Addict
Past OR future Camino
Francés (2016 & 2017), Norte (2018), Francés-Salvador-Norte (2019), Portuguese (2019)
I learned the lesson the hard way in 2018 on my third Camino, which was the Norte. I had already walked more than 600 km and was going along very well, with zero physical problems. After 2 Caminos I felt like a pro. Then I decided to walk with a woman who had a slightly quicker pace than me. I am a pretty fast walker, so it was like "challenge accepted!" Then I felt it - that little twinge in my shin - which I ignored. It will just go away, I thought. But it didn't. I woke up in the albergue in Tapia de Casariego with a slightly swollen leg. Did I stop and take a rest? Of course not! I continued on for 4 days with that leg getting progressively worse, until I decided in Vilalba that I couldn't go on. I felt like such an idiot! Why didn't I just spend a few days resting in Ribadeo, which was a good size town? I probably could have continued on to Santiago had a done so.
So, I took a bus to Santiago and spent a few days hanging out in Praza Cervantes, pilgrim watching. I did go to the local hospital to get checked out to make sure that I didn't have a stress fracture. Fortunately, I didn't. Perhaps the fact that I can't take Ibuprofen or other NSAIDS was a good thing, as I would likely have continued walking with that kind of pain relief, and perhaps caused more damage.
Fortunately, a friend from a prior Camino was in town, so I had someone to hang out with and not feel lonely. Then my Camino friends who I had been walking with trickled in, and I was there to greet them, but I would rather have been walking into Santiago with them.
I like to think that that Camino taught me a bit about humility, and the important lesson to listen to your body.
 
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Barbara

Active Member
Past OR future Camino
Frances, Norte (twice)and Primitivo, Sureste, In France From home Tours and Vézelay, also Le Puy.
Well, a lot of good advice. Here's my story. First Camino from home in central France, on a bike. I had some major abdominal surgery and while recovering read about the Camino. That sounded like a good way to get some fitness back and offer a thank you at the same time. 1999. Not a lot of information apart from CSJ, who did some guides with route description and places to stay. No maps. Purchased the two appropriate Michelin maps for Tours route and Frances ( what, you mean there are others?. Well, that's what I've got and it seems to be the right place at the end)
I had a bike so bought two saddlebags, and a puncture repair kit. By now (October) all the summer activities had wound down so off I went, joining the route at Melle.
Timetable? No. Mobile phone? No. GPS? No. Compass? Yes? Waterproofs? Kinda Sorta? Credential? A4 sheet of paper with a scribbled note from the village priest. Return journey? Sort that out when I get there. Money? Get some Pesetas on the way. Francs and a chequebook I had.
In my sweet innocence I thought 80km per day would be about right. That was a bit optimistic for an overweight cyclist not long out of hospital but I worked up to 60 after a while. Plus some rest days and bike fixing days.
I stayed in Gîtes, cheap hotels, a very few pilgrim refuges, while in France. At SJPP got a proper credential and a list of places to stay. Walked over the Valcarlous route except for the flatter bits. It rained all day. Not the only time it rained but the only time it didn't stop at all.
Got the shock of my life at Roncesvalles when I saw the size of the dorm. Three tier bunks in a massive room. Wet clothes hung round every bunk, until a hospi chased us all upstairs to hang them in the loft. Where they remained wet until the morning.
Spain was a revelation. Saw at least one pilgrim most days. Towards the end quite a few.
Didn't fall off the bike anywhere. Did need to buy a new saddle and new tyres and brake pads. Had lots of help fixing punctures, ate too many pilgrim meals and drank a lot of red wine. Didn't find many open churches, and some of the religious establishments could have been less helpful only by hitting me with a large stick. Others were wonderful.
Returned home via the UK on a cheap pilgrim deal from Iberia.
I listened to my body every time it asked for food, wine or beer. That gave it a rest at the same time. Camino families weren't much of a thing at the time. Or Ibuprofen. We stopped when there was a place to stay and dealt with problems when they happened. I didn't see anyone stoking up on the meds at breakfast time. Wait till it hurts, rest, slow down seemed to work.
Next Camino was the Norte. A bit less organised at the time. Tell you about it later if you want.
 

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