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Checked the “toe issues” threads... this one is not addressed (so far)

Faye Walker

Veteran Member
Past OR future Camino
CF 2014, CF 2018, CP 2019 from Coimbra
So... I generally wear Keen boots, Keen hiking sandals, and Altra Lone Peak trail runners. I never, ever have an issue with the sandals, even with the hard toe-cap.

I do not have an anatomically challenging foot. My toes are all of the usual orientation; the second is not longer than the rest.

My toe-spread is wider than it was before I took up long distance walking... hence Keens and Altras.

But dang it.

After about 10K on any walk, I can feel that I have bruised the nail bed of each second toe, both left and right. I wear my Altras on my treadmill and had no troubles all winter, though I don’t think I went 10K in a single go on the treadmill.

I do not feel the toe hitting the shoes when I am walking, but at the end of the walk... man... feels like I”ve been stuck on each of my second toes with a hammer to the nail bed. I expect that by tomorrow I might see the bruising.

I lock-lace my shoes. I wear excellent socks. I have only endured blisters on the toe on my left foot that suffered a bad break and healed with a 90 deg. inward turn, so now I wrap that one with hiker’s wool.

But the bruising of the nail beds? How can I prevent that if lock-lacing is not helping? Can I wrap that toe? Or will it still end up bruised anyway? (I ask before trying to wrap that in my precious/expensive wool).

Anyone else conquered this issue? I’m tired of having nails pop off.
 
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MichaelB10398

Veteran Member
Past OR future Camino
2022
That does sound painful and odd. I don't have that issue; however, as I have gotten older I have noticed that simple things have begun to pop up. For example, if I am standing in my home barefoot focused on a task...while standing...I will at times begin to really grip the floor with my toes. I end up with strained toes. They are not bruised, but they are painful for a day or so.
You are wearing great shoes, socks, etc. The only thing I can think it might be is the way you move your toes while walking. I would find a really great sports podiatrist for a solution. Otherwise, I would just begin to tape those two toes to see if it changes things.
I do hope things improve for you.
 

Faye Walker

Veteran Member
Past OR future Camino
CF 2014, CF 2018, CP 2019 from Coimbra
Try Hikers Wool from New Zealand.....wrap some round your toes. It’ll sort it out....amazing stuff. Also completely prevents blisters ! Check out their website, they have a short film about how to use it.
Thanks, butI already use it for the deformed little toe (as I noted in the OP), and it is wildly expensive so, as this seems to be about *smashing* the nailbed in some manner that I am not feeling while walking, I don’t think the wool will help (same is it didn’t help when I was young and danced on point). It prevents chafing and blisters.
I think I will try taping the second toe to my third to see if that helps. I did try those covers that go over the toe, but they just got mangled up and lumpy and created a *different* problem. I do not recommendthose little toe-sleeves.
 

Faye Walker

Veteran Member
Past OR future Camino
CF 2014, CF 2018, CP 2019 from Coimbra
That does sound painful and odd. I don't have that issue; however, as I have gotten older I have noticed that simple things have begun to pop up. For example, if I am standing in my home barefoot focused on a task...while standing...I will at times begin to really grip the floor with my toes. I end up with strained toes. They are not bruised, but they are painful for a day or so.
You are wearing great shoes, socks, etc. The only thing I can think it might be is the way you move your toes while walking. I would find a really great sports podiatrist for a solution. Otherwise, I would just begin to tape those two toes to see if it changes things.
I do hope things improve for you.
Thanks... I will try the taping. I’ve lost count of how many nail beds I’ve popped off after a really long day.
 
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jpflavin1

Veteran Member
Past OR future Camino
Camino Madrid/San Salvador/Primitivo-2021
So... I generally wear Keen boots, Keen hiking sandals, and Altra Lone Peak trail runners. I never, ever have an issue with the sandals, even with the hard toe-cap.

I do not have an anatomically challenging foot. My toes are all of the usual orientation; the second is not longer than the rest.

My toe-spread is wider than it was before I took up long distance walking... hence Keens and Altras.

But dang it.

After about 10K on any walk, I can feel that I have bruised the nail bed of each second toe, both left and right. I wear my Altras on my treadmill and had no troubles all winter, though I don’t think I went 10K in a single go on the treadmill.

I do not feel the toe hitting the shoes when I am walking, but at the end of the walk... man... feels like I”ve been stuck on each of my second toes with a hammer to the nail bed. I expect that by tomorrow I might see the bruising.

I lock-lace my shoes. I wear excellent socks. I have only endured blisters on the toe on my left foot that suffered a bad break and healed with a 90 deg. inward turn, so now I wrap that one with hiker’s wool.

But the bruising of the nail beds? How can I prevent that if lock-lacing is not helping? Can I wrap that toe? Or will it still end up bruised anyway? (I ask before trying to wrap that in my precious/expensive wool).

Anyone else conquered this issue? I’m tired of having nails pop off.

The only way I can think of nail beds bruising is because the nail is being pushed back into bed. I would make sure my nails are cut short and try double socking if not already doing so.

All my nail bed issues have been caused by not keeping my nails cut back and long/steep downhill walks.
 
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Icacos

Veteran Member
Past OR future Camino
Camino Frances (2013)
Thanks, butI already use it for the deformed little toe (as I noted in the OP), and it is wildly expensive so, as this seems to be about *smashing* the nailbed in some manner that I am not feeling while walking, I don’t think the wool will help (same is it didn’t help when I was young and danced on point). It prevents chafing and blisters.
I think I will try taping the second toe to my third to see if that helps. I did try those covers that go over the toe, but they just got mangled up and lumpy and created a *different* problem. I do not recommendthose little toe-sleeves.
You say you don’t feel any pressure on your toes while walking, yet your toes (second toe nail bed on each foot) feel smashed at the end of long walks, and the bruising appears later. I’m assuming there is some pain here. When exactly does the pain start?
 

Jarrad

Member
Past OR future Camino
2014
I too have had issues with a change in the shape of the foot over time, and so I've also become a huge fan of Keens, although I like the Hoka Bondis when I want a low top. They seem to accommodate the shape of my foot just fine. While I've not had the nail problem you describe, which sounds dreadful! But have had other, somewhat similar issues. Best thing I ever did for these feet was go to a podiatrist. The solutions were fairly simple, including some short-term use of custom-cut padding, but certainly not solutions I would have come up with on my own or after an internet search. I can't help but think that there's a decent chance you may have a similar experience with some expert advice.
 

C clearly

Moderator
Staff member
Past OR future Camino
Most years since 2012. Hoping now for 2022.
Is it possible that the crease in your shoes is bruising your toes on the top? It seems unlikely that that would happen right at the nail bed, but stranger things have happened. I have a lot of difficulty with the way different shoes crease, especially related to seam placement, and I've suffered bruised tops of my toes, but not close to the nail bed.
 

Anamiri

Veteran Member
Past OR future Camino
2016, 2017, 2019 Camino Frances
So... I generally wear Keen boots, Keen hiking sandals, and Altra Lone Peak trail runners. I never, ever have an issue with the sandals, even with the hard toe-cap.

I do not have an anatomically challenging foot. My toes are all of the usual orientation; the second is not longer than the rest.

My toe-spread is wider than it was before I took up long distance walking... hence Keens and Altras.

But dang it.

After about 10K on any walk, I can feel that I have bruised the nail bed of each second toe, both left and right. I wear my Altras on my treadmill and had no troubles all winter, though I don’t think I went 10K in a single go on the treadmill.

I do not feel the toe hitting the shoes when I am walking, but at the end of the walk... man... feels like I”ve been stuck on each of my second toes with a hammer to the nail bed. I expect that by tomorrow I might see the bruising.

I lock-lace my shoes. I wear excellent socks. I have only endured blisters on the toe on my left foot that suffered a bad break and healed with a 90 deg. inward turn, so now I wrap that one with hiker’s wool.

But the bruising of the nail beds? How can I prevent that if lock-lacing is not helping? Can I wrap that toe? Or will it still end up bruised anyway? (I ask before trying to wrap that in my precious/expensive wool).

Anyone else conquered this issue? I’m tired of having nails pop off.
The same thing happens to my aunt who is my walking friend, we've walked the Camino together. She has tried just about everything, the thing that works is silicon toe caps in her shoes. You need to take enough to last, they occasionally tear.
She has since changed to hiking sandals, and has no toe issue.
 
D

Deleted member 86813

Guest
That does sound painful and odd. I don't have that issue; however, as I have gotten older I have noticed that simple things have begun to pop up. For example, if I am standing in my home barefoot focused on a task...while standing...I will at times begin to really grip the floor with my toes. I end up with strained toes. They are not bruised, but they are painful for a day or so.
You are wearing great shoes, socks, etc. The only thing I can think it might be is the way you move your toes while walking. I would find a really great sports podiatrist for a solution. Otherwise, I would just begin to tape those two toes to see if it changes things.
I do hope things improve for you.
I concur that it sounds like you are gripping the ground with your toes. I have very calloused second toes for this reason. I wear zero drop shoes all the time (Xero or Altra) and believe that the barefoot style of walking, where you push off your rear foot (via toes) to aid a softer heel placement and gentler weight transfer to the front foot causes this. Silicon caps should help, and keep nails shorts to avoid ingrowing issues.
Worth watching this video too.
 
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Faye Walker

Veteran Member
Past OR future Camino
CF 2014, CF 2018, CP 2019 from Coimbra
You say you don’t feel any pressure on your toes while walking, yet your toes (second toe nail bed on each foot) feel smashed at the end of long walks, and the bruising appears later. I’m assuming there is some pain here. When exactly does the pain start?
The pain starts when I stop walking... roughly: I get to destination, stop moving, and the throbbing begins. By the evening they feel quite bruised, and in the morning when I put my socks on it feels like someone is poking me in a bruised area. It’s the top of each second toe that it is happening to.

I keep my nails very short. I could not cut them shorter without causing an injury.
 

Faye Walker

Veteran Member
Past OR future Camino
CF 2014, CF 2018, CP 2019 from Coimbra
The same thing happens to my aunt who is my walking friend, we've walked the Camino together. She has tried just about everything, the thing that works is silicon toe caps in her shoes. You need to take enough to last, they occasionally tear.
She has since changed to hiking sandals, and has no toe issue.
Yeah, no issues in my capped sandals, but I can’t wear those in winter.
 

Faye Walker

Veteran Member
Past OR future Camino
CF 2014, CF 2018, CP 2019 from Coimbra
You can buy wool that's less expensive than the Hiker's Wool brand. I've used this one.

Thanks, I’m picking up the Wuru brand for just under $20, but over 21 gr. in the pack... so I come in less costly than this, but I still think that is expensive. I ask for it as my extra special stocking stuffer indulgence and as a birthday treat... and I’m really careful about how much I use.
 

Faye Walker

Veteran Member
Past OR future Camino
CF 2014, CF 2018, CP 2019 from Coimbra
The only way I can think of nail beds bruising is because the nail is being pushed back into bed. I would make sure my nails are cut short and try double socking if not already doing so.

All my nail bed issues have been caused by not keeping my nails cut back and long/steep downhill walks.
My nails are so short on my first two toes that I would injure myself if I were to trim them shorter. I used to enjoy the “off season” so that I could have prettier feet, but now I have no “off season”. More fit... feet like a troll.
 
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Deleted member 86813

Guest
Yeah, no issues in my capped sandals, but I can’t wear those in winter.
This is a mystery. Can you describe any difference in the toe room / fitment between the capped sandals and the Altras?

Do you wear socks with the sandals?
 

Stivandrer

Perambulating & Curious. Rep stravaiging offender
Past OR future Camino
I´ve got Camino plans until 2042,
- or till I fall flat on my face, whichever comes first !!
I have had that very same problem,
have now reached the conclusion that no 2 toe, is dipping the tip joint a little downwards in the boot.
That makes it seem as long as the big toe, but is in fact a little longer but bended downward at the tip.
That, in my opinion makes a pressure almost to the front of the ball of this toe.
I only get this problem when walking a certain length and dependent on how energetic I walk.
My first time was being late in leaving Carrion de los Condes on a Monday as the dentist did not open till late...
Anyway, that caused me to march at legionaire´s speed the next 30 kms and my feet were shattered....
My conclusion is, that in my case I get tto much pressure in the front tip of the toe and I get a blue nail after some days...more times than not...
My solution is now , to tape a compressing piece of kinesiotape around both second toes and take my feet in cold water as I arrive, and lettting the compress sit for some days.
I take 2 inches of the tape, halving it lengthwise allowing for the stretch to be in the long section around the toe.
That and walking slower has helped me somewhat but nor always.
If I do nothing, I will get blue no 2 toes ...

Not all feet are created equal....
 
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Faye Walker

Veteran Member
Past OR future Camino
CF 2014, CF 2018, CP 2019 from Coimbra
This is a mystery. Can you describe any difference in the toe room / fitment between the capped sandals and the Altras?

Do you wear socks with the sandals?
When I’m hiking? Yes, I wear socks with the sandals.
I am going to attach a photo of my feet — not yet showing bruising, but that can take quite a while to show up...
Mostly I’m putting in the image to show that: no, my second toe really is *not* longer than my big toe, and that *no* I really cannot trim the nails to be any shorter. I tried to find a clear line to measure my toes against.
.
 

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Faye Walker

Veteran Member
Past OR future Camino
CF 2014, CF 2018, CP 2019 from Coimbra
The same thing happens to my aunt who is my walking friend, we've walked the Camino together. She has tried just about everything, the thing that works is silicon toe caps in her shoes. You need to take enough to last, they occasionally tear.
She has since changed to hiking sandals, and has no toe issue.
I will try it again, but mine tore and bunged up in my boots on the CP in 2019. I tried it as a means to protect a blister that had torn open on a shower rail. Ugh. De-feet! Maybe there is a better style, less likely to curl up in my sock.
 

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D

Deleted member 86813

Guest
When I’m hiking? Yes, I wear socks with the sandals.
I am going to attach a photo of my feet — not yet showing bruising, but that can take quite a while to show up...
Mostly I’m putting in the image to show that: no, my second toe really is *not* longer than my big toe, and that *no* I really cannot trim the nails to be any shorter. I tried to find a clear line to measure my toes against.
.
There is prominent curving (arching) of the toes, almost "claw" like. I am not surprised you are experiencing the trouble you describe. Also the bending of the forth toe suggests a past with not enough room in the shoe. I would definitely see a specialist.
 
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Faye Walker

Veteran Member
Past OR future Camino
CF 2014, CF 2018, CP 2019 from Coimbra
There is prominent curving (arching) of the toes, almost "claw" like. I am not surprised you are experiencing the trouble you describe. Also the bending of the forth toe suggests a past with not enough room in the shoe. I would definitely see a specialist.
I have hyper-flexible joints... mild EDS. At age 53 I can still nearly touch my forearm with my thumb bent backward, and cross all my fingers one over the other. I used to dance en pointe so the past with very constrained toes: yes, absolutely, but they don’t bother me now.
 

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Deleted member 86813

Guest
I have hyper-flexible joints... mild EDS. At age 53 I can still nearly touch my forearm with my thumb bent backward, and cross all my fingers one over the other. I used to dance en pointe so the past with very constrained toes: yes, absolutely, but they don’t bother me now.
My tuppence worth is that you are developing hammer toes, paying the piper for your years as a dancer. Just trying to help...I would definitely see a podiatrist.
 
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davebugg

A Pilgrimage is time I spend praying with my feet
Past OR future Camino
2019
Consideration: Overly tight socks and/or multiple sock layers that impinge against the toes can and do damage nail beds. This is not immediately noticed or appreciated because there is not hard 'banging' against the stiff toe of the shoe. An overly tight sock(s) will cause the pressure as the foot takes a downward step and elongates. The sock is too tight to stretch and the nail takes the pressure. It is a process that will match some of the symptoms you described.

C. Clearly also mentioned depressed material of the shoe impinging on top to toenails which has caused nail bed injuries, too. It is milder than banging your toes against the front of the shoe or boot, but if the material creases are in the right location they can put pressure on the nail bed.

Just a couple of thoughts.
 

Faye Walker

Veteran Member
Past OR future Camino
CF 2014, CF 2018, CP 2019 from Coimbra
Consideration: Overly tight socks and/or multiple sock layers that impinge against the toes can and do damage nail beds. This is not immediately noticed or appreciated because there is not hard 'banging' against the stiff toe of the shoe. An overly tight sock(s) will cause the pressure as the foot takes a downward step and elongates. The sock is too tight to stretch and the nail takes the pressure. It is a process that will match some of the symptoms you described.

C. Clearly also mentioned depressed material of the shoe impinging on top to toenails which has caused nail bed injuries, too. It is milder than banging your toes against the front of the shoe or boot, but if the material creases are in the right location they can put pressure on the nail bed.

Just a couple of thoughts.
I’m going to check my socks. I know that some of my Darn Tough ones for colder weather are less forgiving than I had hoped they would be, and so perhaps those will become my “short distance” socks. Thanks for pointing out the less than obvious.
 

henrythedog

Loved and fed by David
Past OR future Camino
Frances 2017, 2018, 2019, Ingles 2018, (Madrid 2019 partial - retired hurt!) (more planned)
Thanks, I’m picking up the Wuru brand for just under $20, but over 21 gr. in the pack... so I come in less costly than this, but I still think that is expensive. I ask for it as my extra special stocking stuffer indulgence and as a birthday treat... and I’m really careful about how much I use.
The current market price for an entire wool-covered sheep (a ‘fat lamb’, specifically) in the UK is currently around £120, and that’s a recently high price. Does the brand of wool you use have some extraordinarily expensive additive?

I’m sorry I cannot help with your nail-bed issue, it sounds painful, frustrating and less than obvious to resolve. I hope someone points you to a solution.
 
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Faye Walker

Veteran Member
Past OR future Camino
CF 2014, CF 2018, CP 2019 from Coimbra
The current market price for an entire wool-covered sheep (a ‘fat lamb’, specifically) in the UK is currently around £120, and that’s a recently high price. Does the brand of wool you use have some extraordinarily expensive additive?

I’m sorry I cannot help with your nail-bed issue, it sounds painful, frustrating and less than obvious to resolve. I hope someone points you to a solution.
I think it’s just the cost of being in Canada, and that hiking wool is, like dancer’s wool, a terribly niche product here. I cannot even buy it in a store here. Not even a specialized hiking shop. I used to go to the dance wear store, but it’s even more expensive there.
I can buy an entire sheepskin at IKEA for about $30 CAD, but those fibres are too short to turn into hiking wool. Besides, the cats would be really annoyed if I stole their beds to line my shoes. :p
 
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Theresa Brandon

Artist, photographer, dreamer
Past OR future Camino
Camino Inglés (2018), Camino Ingles (from La Coruña, 2019), Camino Portugues (2020)
Try some sheepskin instead of wool. Cut a pad that fits under and a little in front of your toes, and use some tape to hold it in place.
 

Penbaysail

Member
Past OR future Camino
2017
A few suggestions:

A strong deforming force on the lesser toes in gait is Flexor Digitorum Longus contracting when your foot is fully on the ground. It’s part of the two muscle group (the other being Tibialis Posterior) that resist pronation in mid stance by contracting strongly. At its most extreme, you’ll see the toe buckle, and the tip of the toe hit the ground on its end rather than the padded tuft on the underneath side. Hitting the end of the nail plate on the ground this way often translates force backwards to the base of the nail, sometimes causing separation and bleeding beneath the nail plate.

You also mentioned that you have ligamentous laxity that might exacerbate the mid foot pronation, further increasing the forces mentioned above.

A solution I would recommend is using a molded foam orthotic that simply lessens pronation in mid-stance, so the affected muscles don’t have to work as hard to prop up your foot. It also molds to your feet as you wear it, with increasing comfort. For decades, I have used XPE Orthoses from Alimed in Dedham, Massachusetts. They’re available in 9 sizes and usually cost about $25-30 US.

No orthotic reaches underneath the toes, so I would combine it with neoprene insoles (Spence Rx Comfort Insoles - about $10). I often recommend 2 pairs - one underneath the orthotic and one on top. Buy these much larger than your shoe size and cut them back carefully so they cover the entire bottom of your shoe.

You might also evaluate your shoes and pick the deepest possible toe box. It’s a subjective eyeball measurement of holding the shoe sideways and trying to guess the toe box height. I wish manufacturers would quantify that measurement, but they don’t.

The suggestions from others about hikers wool and silicone toe caps are worthwhile trying. The only problem is that the cumulative forces on the feet and toes over a long walk are enormous, and it’s sometimes difficult keeping them in place.

Good luck.
 
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Faye Walker

Veteran Member
Past OR future Camino
CF 2014, CF 2018, CP 2019 from Coimbra
A few suggestions:

A strong deforming force on the lesser toes in gait is Flexor Digitorum Longus contracting when your foot is fully on the ground. It’s part of the two muscle group (the other being Tibialis Posterior) that resist pronation in mid stance by contracting strongly. At its most extreme, you’ll see the toe buckle, and the tip of the toe hit the ground on its end rather than the padded tuft on the underneath side. Hitting the end of the nail plate on the ground this way often translates force backwards to the base of the nail, sometimes causing separation and bleeding beneath the nail plate.

You also mentioned that you have ligamentous laxity that might exacerbate the mid foot pronation, further increasing the forces mentioned above.

A solution I would recommend is using a molded foam orthotic that simply lessens pronation in mid-stance, so the affected muscles don’t have to work as hard to prop up your foot. It also molds to your feet as you wear it, with increasing comfort. For decades, I have used XPE Orthoses from Alimed in Dedham, Massachusetts. They’re available in 9 sizes and usually cost about $25-30 US.

No orthotic reaches underneath the toes, so I would combine it with neoprene insoles (Spence Rx Comfort Insoles - about $10). I often recommend 2 pairs - one underneath the orthotic and one on top. Buy these much larger than your shoe size and cut them back carefully so they cover the entire bottom of your shoe.

You might also evaluate your shoes and pick the deepest possible toe box. It’s a subjective eyeball measurement of holding the shoe sideways and trying to guess the toe box height. I wish manufacturers would quantify that measurement, but they don’t.

The suggestions from others about hikers wool and silicone toe caps are worthwhile trying. The only problem is that the cumulative forces on the feet and toes over a long walk are enormous, and it’s sometimes difficult keeping them in place.

Good luck.
Thanks! lots to think about here. I will try the Rx Comfort insoles for a start. I don't pronate.. rather the opposite: I walk on my outer edge and with my feet turned a bit outward (think: headed for 2nd position in basic ballet stance, but it's not *that* bad anymore...). And all my toes bend backward at the first and second joints -- kinda gross if I stop to think about it. I won't send photos. :)
Going to go find out right now where I can get the insoles to start.
Does it mean much if I once thought I had a stress fracture in that second toe after a 65 K endurance trek, but found about wo weeks later that the nail had been broken across its width behind the visible nail matrix (i.e. before the cuticle)?? Waiting for that break to grow out and then pop off was vicious.
 

Faye Walker

Veteran Member
Past OR future Camino
CF 2014, CF 2018, CP 2019 from Coimbra
I regularly lost toe nails until I started wearing open-toed hiking sandals. Now I never do.
In winter? Yesterday I was in my Altras... but for the next week it will be only about 6 C and pouring rain (so maybe I will be on my treadmill most of the time anyway), but I've lost nails twice now from my February endurance trek. Would love to solve this before it rolls around again (it's a charitable event, done at the coldest point of the year to raise money for a local community-based organization that provides all kinds of support services, opportunities, complex hospice care for those without adequate housing/famiy support... ). Anyway, I digress.
I just want to solve the issue and I thought I had done so with the lovely, comfortable Altras that have oodles and boodles of room up front but are snug at the heel and over my instep.
I'm going to mix @davebugg's and @Penbaysail's advice about socks and insoles and see where that gets me. I shall have to wait for the current pain to resolve... before I know if it's been effective as a change.
 

Kanga

Moderator
Staff member
Past OR future Camino
Francés x 5, Le Puy x 2, Arles, Tours, Norte, Madrid, Via de la Plata, Portuguese, Primitivo
In winter?
Yes, even in snow. I wear Sealskinz or Dexshell waterproof, breathable socks. They are the brands I know, I'm sure there are others. They have a merino lining but I also wear an inner pair of thin merino socks. Keep my feet superbly warm. Actually have to be careful not to get too hot, so I don't wear them unless it is cold.
 
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JFG

Doing Caminos since 2003. Holy Cow!
Past OR future Camino
Frances, Portugues, Norte, Ignacio, Salvador, Tunnel, Ingles, and more...
So... I generally wear Keen boots, Keen hiking sandals, and Altra Lone Peak trail runners. I never, ever have an issue with the sandals, even with the hard toe-cap.

I do not have an anatomically challenging foot. My toes are all of the usual orientation; the second is not longer than the rest.

My toe-spread is wider than it was before I took up long distance walking... hence Keens and Altras.

But dang it.

After about 10K on any walk, I can feel that I have bruised the nail bed of each second toe, both left and right. I wear my Altras on my treadmill and had no troubles all winter, though I don’t think I went 10K in a single go on the treadmill.

I do not feel the toe hitting the shoes when I am walking, but at the end of the walk... man... feels like I”ve been stuck on each of my second toes with a hammer to the nail bed. I expect that by tomorrow I might see the bruising.

I lock-lace my shoes. I wear excellent socks. I have only endured blisters on the toe on my left foot that suffered a bad break and healed with a 90 deg. inward turn, so now I wrap that one with hiker’s wool.

But the bruising of the nail beds? How can I prevent that if lock-lacing is not helping? Can I wrap that toe? Or will it still end up bruised anyway? (I ask before trying to wrap that in my precious/expensive wool).

Anyone else conquered this issue? I’m tired of having nails pop off.
Have someone accurately measure your feet. As they widen they also lengthen
 

evanscl

Active Member
Past OR future Camino
Oct 2016
So... I generally wear Keen boots, Keen hiking sandals, and Altra Lone Peak trail runners. I never, ever have an issue with the sandals, even with the hard toe-cap.

I do not have an anatomically challenging foot. My toes are all of the usual orientation; the second is not longer than the rest.

My toe-spread is wider than it was before I took up long distance walking... hence Keens and Altras.

But dang it.

After about 10K on any walk, I can feel that I have bruised the nail bed of each second toe, both left and right. I wear my Altras on my treadmill and had no troubles all winter, though I don’t think I went 10K in a single go on the treadmill.

I do not feel the toe hitting the shoes when I am walking, but at the end of the walk... man... feels like I”ve been stuck on each of my second toes with a hammer to the nail bed. I expect that by tomorrow I might see the bruising.

I lock-lace my shoes. I wear excellent socks. I have only endured blisters on the toe on my left foot that suffered a bad break and healed with a 90 deg. inward turn, so now I wrap that one with hiker’s wool.

But the bruising of the nail beds? How can I prevent that if lock-lacing is not helping? Can I wrap that toe? Or will it still end up bruised anyway? (I ask before trying to wrap that in my precious/expensive wool).

Anyone else conquered this issue? I’m tired of having nails pop off
Do you know any people who keep sheep or spin wool? All you needis some raw fleece to wrap around your toe. I get the same thing. I keep a few shetland sheep and use raw fleece that has had a quick wash and then air dried - not washed too much as the natural lanolin in the fleece helps. I stuff it in my socks in areas that feel like they mght be getting tender too, it felts down and prevents blisters forming. If you wear injinji toe socks it stays around your toe in a cap shape . I remove it at night and pop it back on the next morning. Works a treat. Some of my ‘toe caps’ lasted weeks on the VF. Its incredibly light if you just put a good handful of fleece in a bag in your pack. We ended up using that rather than compeed.
 

JudeD

New Member
Past OR future Camino
Sarria to Santiago "2016"
SJPP to Burgos "2017" Burgos to Hornillos "2018" SJPP to Finisterre "2019
I also now wear Keen sandals and Altra trailrunners as I too had lost a second toe nail a few years ago when wearing what I thought were very comfortable Merrels. I have also invested in several pairs of Injinji toe socks (really comfortable) worn with my Altras in 2019 for the CF from SJPdP to Finisterre and together with Pilgrim foot balm I had no problems at all. Just waiting (and waiting) now for a hip replacement so that I can get back to walking next year when I'll be 76.
 

Faye Walker

Veteran Member
Past OR future Camino
CF 2014, CF 2018, CP 2019 from Coimbra
I also now wear Keen sandals and Altra trailrunners as I too had lost a second toe nail a few years ago when wearing what I thought were very comfortable Merrels. I have also invested in several pairs of Injinji toe socks (really comfortable) worn with my Altras in 2019 for the CF from SJPdP to Finisterre and together with Pilgrim foot balm I had no problems at all. Just waiting (and waiting) now for a hip replacement so that I can get back to walking next year when I'll be 76.
Thanks, JudeD.
I met a woman on my first camino who had had 2 hip replacements in quick succession because her arthritis had suddenly deteriorated so badly that she could not function with just one hip done and then another a few years later.
She was probably about 15 years older than I, and she arrived in SdC from SJPdP a full 4 days before I did.
I know: it's not a race.
But her swiftness was a consequence of the joy in being pain-free.
I wish you the same for your recovery and eventual camino following from it.
 

Faye Walker

Veteran Member
Past OR future Camino
CF 2014, CF 2018, CP 2019 from Coimbra
Have someone accurately measure your feet. As they widen they also lengthen
Thanks. Done that. I *dropped* a half-size when I stopped wearing dress-shoes and I had my feet measured specifically for specialized athletic wear.

Some of my issues -- I forgot because COV killed this activity -- could be caused by my rock-climbing shoes (incredibly tight and rigid, with a very powerful arch built into the sole for aggressive toe-holds, not unlike a pointe shoe). That shoe is a 6. Has to be a a 6. If it's not tight and rigid, you can't stick to the teeny-tiny toe-holds.

My Keens are all 6.5, as are my Altras. Loads of room in the toe-box for wiggling, spreading...

My dress shoes all used to be 7s.
 
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pitztop

Solvitur ambulando
Past OR future Camino
2019
The only way I can think of nail beds bruising is because the nail is being pushed back into bed. I would make sure my nails are cut short and try double socking if not already doing so.

All my nail bed issues have been caused by not keeping my nails cut back and long/steep downhill walks.
I have noticed this also. When I forget to cut my toenails and let them grow even a little, I begin to suffer from toenail bed bruising, especially on my big toes and my second toes. This has resulted in a lot of pain and the loss of many toenails over the years. I really don't understand what is happening, but I have a theory. What may be happening in my case is that my toenails actually hook onto my socks (grab my socks?) very slightly for just an instant lifting the toenail away from the toenail bed with every step. This action is exacerbated when going downhill, even though my toes' tips don't touch the toecaps of my boots. Normally this isn't much of an issue, but when I walk many thousands of steps in a day, it adds up. Regardless of what might really be happening, I find that cutting my toenails as short as possible and keeping them that way really helps prevent the problem.
 

JacTx

New Member
Past OR future Camino
?
How about going to a yarn shop? They may have wool that is used to spin into yarn for weaving, knitting, crocheting, etc. There might even be someone there that can get you in touch with someone that has sheep or shears them. Just a thought.
 
D

Deleted member 61803

Guest
I have also had this problem and am in the too thick of a sock camp. There is a fine line between padding and compressing.
Which is exactly why you should wear the stockings you intend to use at your shoe fitting.
 
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JabbaPapa

"True Pilgrim"
Past OR future Camino
100 characters or fewer : see signature details
Sounds to me like either your socks or shoes are a smidgeon too short heel to toe ; possibly both.

I get something similar when my socks have become overly saturated with sweat and contract and/or harden a little (socks my proper size seem to be impossible to obtain, so they're a little small -- but the size 14½ army boots are definitely long enough), so that the socks start cramping my toes.

If you can get soft, thick, 100% woollen socks your size +1 and high enough on the shin for your footwear, I'd definitely recommend them -- though they'd very likely entail upping your shoe size in consequence, as your feet + socks would be more voluminous.
 
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Faye Walker

Veteran Member
Past OR future Camino
CF 2014, CF 2018, CP 2019 from Coimbra
Sounds to me like either your socks or shoes are a smidgeon too short heel to toe ; possibly both.

I get something similar when my socks have become overly saturated with sweat and contract and/or harden a little (socks my proper size seem to be impossible to obtain, so they're a little small -- but the size 14½ army boots are definitely long enough), so that the socks start cramping my toes.

If you can get soft, thick, 100% woollen socks your size and high enough on the shin for your footwear, I'd definitely recommend them -- though they'd very likely entail upping your shoe size in consequence, as your feet + socks would be more voluminous.
I already wear one of 3 brands of merino socks (Darn Tough, Icebreaker, Smartwool). I have the wiggle and spread room in my toe box *after* my socks are on and my foot is in my shoe. I don't buy the really thick ones for hiking (just for skiing). I suspect that Davebugg may be onto something about some pairs of socks being too tight. I think that might be what happened to me Monday... my Darn Toughs that day just didn't have the usual give and flexibility that I am accustomed to in my socks, but I didn't think about it much at the time, instead falling into the "socks stretch" error.

If I'm not wearing wool socks, I'm wearing the no-blister double-layer Wright Socks -- my preferred socks for my sandals.

I have a mixed bag of luck when it comes to sweat. I'm just not very inclined to it. That means I can struggle to stay cool, but that I never have damp socks... not even in high 30's temps with hiking boots on.
 

JabbaPapa

"True Pilgrim"
Past OR future Camino
100 characters or fewer : see signature details
I don't buy the really thick ones for hiking (just for skiing). I suspect that Davebugg may be onto something about some pairs of socks being too tight. I think that might be what happened to me Monday... my Darn Toughs that day just didn't have the usual give and flexibility that I am accustomed to in my socks, but I didn't think about it much at the time, instead falling into the "socks stretch" error.
Dave and I are saying more or less the same thing, just from different perspectives and directions.

The thing about the 100% thick woollens, is that they're very soft and flexible, at least until they're saturated with sweat ; but typically, that takes a few days, so just wash them daily or so and carry three pairs.

But also, they do help absorb blister fluids and help the blisters dry up and to an extent help prevent skin breakage.

Not everybody needs them -- but if you're used to give and flexibility, then IMO that's what you need. If it ain't broken, don't fix it.
 

Theresa Brandon

Artist, photographer, dreamer
Past OR future Camino
Camino Inglés (2018), Camino Ingles (from La Coruña, 2019), Camino Portugues (2020)
Try turning your socks inside out so the smoother outside can't catch against your nails like the interior texture can. Also file your nails both across the tip of the nail and from the top of the nail down the front edge, essentially beveling that edge to keep it from catching.
 

Penbaysail

Member
Past OR future Camino
2017
Thanks! lots to think about here. I will try the Rx Comfort insoles for a start. I don't pronate.. rather the opposite: I walk on my outer edge and with my feet turned a bit outward (think: headed for 2nd position in basic ballet stance, but it's not *that* bad anymore...). And all my toes bend backward at the first and second joints -- kinda gross if I stop to think about it. I won't send photos. :)
Going to go find out right now where I can get the insoles to start.
Does it mean much if I once thought I had a stress fracture in that second toe after a 65 K endurance trek, but found about wo weeks later that the nail had been broken across its width behind the visible nail matrix (i.e. before the cuticle)?? Waiting for that break to grow out and then pop off was vicious.
Faye - you do have joint laxity if all your toe joints can be moved opposite to their intended direction. You might have a friend take a video of you barefoot walking, and you learn a lot by watching your gait in very slow motion.

Are you more comfortable in flexible shoes or ones that are relatively rigid in the forefoot? My guess would be the latter, but it’s worth a comparison. Cheers
 
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MaineSally

MaineSally
Past OR future Camino
Cam Frances SJPDP to Santiago ('17): Finisterre ('17); Muxia ('17): Camino Portuguese ('19)
I regularly lost toe nails until I started wearing open-toed hiking sandals. Now I never do.
I echo Kanga. I ended up in Tomar with infected toes due to five 20-mile days in a row. It was unusually hot in March '19. My feet swelled and I ended up with hematoma under my big toenails. Went to ER, and the most compassionate doctor held my hand and said, "You cannot go on. You must go home, and when your feet have healed, come back and do what you set out to do." So, home I flew. I returned six months later to finish. I rarely wear closed toes shoes anymore. I wear Chacos with socks without toes. This way I have nothing consrtaining my toes in any way. I swear by Chacos. They have a very pronounced arch, but I find it gives me great support.
 
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AlwynWellington

Veteran Member
Past OR future Camino
please see signature
I suspect that Davebugg may be onto something about some pairs of socks being too tight.

In my view, Davebugg is right on the money with that observation.

I was having a similar issue. It was a bit like my science master did as a punishment while he continued teaching: very light gentle tapping on the palm of the hand with a very light wooden ruler. For quite a while there was no sensation, then ....

For the past four years I have worn extra large socks/hose with shoes several sizes longer than for day wear (to get a wide fitting for wide feet).

For me, ugly bruising under the nail is no longer an issue.

@Faye Walker, kia kaha, kia mā'ia, kia mana'wa'nui (be strong, confident and patient)
 

Intrepid Jenny S

New Member
Past OR future Camino
CF twice, Camino del Norte, (Norte again, Le Puy, Portuguese)
That does sound painful and odd. I don't have that issue; however, as I have gotten older I have noticed that simple things have begun to pop up. For example, if I am standing in my home barefoot focused on a task...while standing...I will at times begin to really grip the floor with my toes. I end up with strained toes. They are not bruised, but they are painful for a day or so.
You are wearing great shoes, socks, etc. The only thing I can think it might be is the way you move your toes while walking. I would find a really great sports podiatrist for a solution. Otherwise, I would just begin to tape those two toes to see if it changes things.
I do hope things improve for you.
So... I generally wear Keen boots, Keen hiking sandals, and Altra Lone Peak trail runners. I never, ever have an issue with the sandals, even with the hard toe-cap.

I do not have an anatomically challenging foot. My toes are all of the usual orientation; the second is not longer than the rest.

My toe-spread is wider than it was before I took up long distance walking... hence Keens and Altras.

But dang it.

After about 10K on any walk, I can feel that I have bruised the nail bed of each second toe, both left and right. I wear my Altras on my treadmill and had no troubles all winter, though I don’t think I went 10K in a single go on the treadmill.

I do not feel the toe hitting the shoes when I am walking, but at the end of the walk... man... feels like I”ve been stuck on each of my second toes with a hammer to the nail bed. I expect that by tomorrow I might see the bruising.

I lock-lace my shoes. I wear excellent socks. I have only endured blisters on the toe on my left foot that suffered a bad break and healed with a 90 deg. inward turn, so now I wrap that one with hiker’s wool.

But the bruising of the nail beds? How can I prevent that if lock-lacing is not helping? Can I wrap that toe? Or will it still end up bruised anyway? (I ask before trying to wrap that in my precious/expensive wool).

Anyone else conquered this issue? I’m tired of having nails pop off.
Hi. Buy your shoes another whole size bigger. As long as they stay on, they will be fantastic.
 

Chris Gi

Active Member
Past OR future Camino
2018
So... I generally wear Keen boots, Keen hiking sandals, and Altra Lone Peak trail runners. I never, ever have an issue with the sandals, even with the hard toe-cap.

I do not have an anatomically challenging foot. My toes are all of the usual orientation; the second is not longer than the rest.

My toe-spread is wider than it was before I took up long distance walking... hence Keens and Altras.

But dang it.

After about 10K on any walk, I can feel that I have bruised the nail bed of each second toe, both left and right. I wear my Altras on my treadmill and had no troubles all winter, though I don’t think I went 10K in a single go on the treadmill.

I do not feel the toe hitting the shoes when I am walking, but at the end of the walk... man... feels like I”ve been stuck on each of my second toes with a hammer to the nail bed. I expect that by tomorrow I might see the bruising.

I lock-lace my shoes. I wear excellent socks. I have only endured blisters on the toe on my left foot that suffered a bad break and healed with a 90 deg. inward turn, so now I wrap that one with hiker’s wool.

But the bruising of the nail beds? How can I prevent that if lock-lacing is not helping? Can I wrap that toe? Or will it still end up bruised anyway? (I ask before trying to wrap that in my precious/expensive wool).

Anyone else conquered this issue? I’m tired of having nails pop off.
I wear "toe caps" - rather like soft spongy condoms for your toes. I don't know the proper name but they really do help after having blackened and subsequently lost more toe nails than I care to remember. I get them from Amazon and they are pretty inexpensive and wear for a long time. I put a little Aspercreme on my toes before sliding the toe caps on and I haven't had a black toe nail since. I tried wrapping with lambs wool but that ended up being too bulky.
 
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Faye Walker

Veteran Member
Past OR future Camino
CF 2014, CF 2018, CP 2019 from Coimbra
Faye - you do have joint laxity if all your toe joints can be moved opposite to their intended direction. You might have a friend take a video of you barefoot walking, and you learn a lot by watching your gait in very slow motion.

Are you more comfortable in flexible shoes or ones that are relatively rigid in the forefoot? My guess would be the latter, but it’s worth a comparison. Cheers
Yes, I have a mild form of EDS... most obvious in feet, spine, fingers, toes and wrists. Less problematic in knees, elbows, hips, and I have no apparent skin issues except for the rough patch over the triceps. Genetic.

My favourite way to be is barefoot - supposedly a family trait. We all spend most of our days without any shoes on at all. Prior to incorporating walking as my way to get around (I was a cyclist prior), almost all of my shoes had nice suede or leather bottoms that were somewhere between rigid and totally moulded and soft against my foot.

My Keens would be, IMHO, pretty rigid in the forefront and the Altras are pretty soft. I like both for different reasons/uses.

I'm sure my feet have not had this much attention since shoe fittings for dance when I was young!!! LOL
 

Faye Walker

Veteran Member
Past OR future Camino
CF 2014, CF 2018, CP 2019 from Coimbra
Hi. Buy your shoes another whole size bigger. As long as they stay on, they will be fantastic.
Really, no. I have been sized properly in the hiking/specialist shoe shop where I live. My osteopath has checked my shoes for a number of sports -- partly because he was also my climbing coach.
I echo Kanga. I ended up in Tomar with infected toes due to five 20-mile days in a row. It was unusually hot in March '19. My feet swelled and I ended up with hematoma under my big toenails. Went to ER, and the most compassionate doctor held my hand and said, "You cannot go on. You must go home, and when your feet have healed, come back and do what you set out to do." So, home I flew. I returned six months later to finish. I rarely wear closed toes shoes anymore. I wear Chacos with socks without toes. This way I have nothing containing my toes in any way. I swear by them. They have a very pronounced arch, but I find it gives me great support.

It's appealing, but I am certain I could not do this in the -20 and worse weather that is typical of our February days... and I still hike on those days, in particular the endurance trek of 65K... gotta get this solved before training for that and the actual event rolls around again.
 

davebugg

A Pilgrimage is time I spend praying with my feet
Past OR future Camino
2019
Really, no. I have been sized properly in the hiking/specialist shoe shop where I live. My osteopath has checked my shoes for a number of sports -- partly because he was also my climbing coach.


It's appealing, but I am certain I could not do this in the -20 and worse weather that is typical of our February days... and I still hike on those days, in particular the endurance trek of 65K... gotta get this solved before training for that and the actual event rolls around again.

Hi, Faye. I have no reason to doubt that your shop attendant did a stellar job in fitting you. If they did, you have found a great place to shop for your shoes. I'd like to send you a backup checklist guide to help self-assess (or reassess) how I have fitted people as guidance to getting a proper match of piggies to footwear.

I developed this guide because I have dealt with many specialized backpacking and climbing shops, in addition to the general outdoor variety like Decathlon, and found that many staff are well intentioned, but are doing measurements and assessments incorrectly.

Again, I tread gently because you might find that this information exactly matches how you were fitted. I just figure it can't hurt to double check. Additionally, feet, especially for those who are active, can change slightly for a variety of reasons ranging from fluid retention issues to musculoskeletal deficiencies, to just normal growth as we get older.

Anyway, I hope I am not being presumptive or stepping on your toes (OMG, that was weirdly pun-fully unintentional).
----------------------------

How to Fit Shoes

The most important theme for achieving a proper fit is: You do not choose a shoe based on measurements, you buy a shoe based on its Fit N Feel regardless of instrument measurements.
  1. When you go to the store, do so toward the end of the day.... you will have been up on your feet, so that will help with getting the correct fit. Additionally, you will need to wear the same backpack with the same gear you will be carrying... you want this additional weight on you as this will put the same downward pressure on the foot that you will be having while on Camino.
  2. Wear the exact same sock(s) you will be wearing while you are walking on the Camino. And if you have a special insole or orthotic, bring it with you.
  3. At the store, the measuring that will be done on your feet is only to get you in the ballpark for the correct shoe size.
  4. Start by standing up; never measure while sitting. You want the full weight of your body, with the pack on, to put the same pressure on your feet to spread them out as will happen while walking. That alone will increase the volume and size of your feet.
  5. Make sure those 'Camino' socks are on your feet; if you wear socks with liners while walking, do the same thing at the store.
  6. While standing, have someone near to you that you can use to steady yourself. With the measuring device on the ground, step onto the instrument and center all of your weight onto the foot being measured. Do the same for the other foot.
  7. Start with that size, but be aware that both the width and the length need to feel like there is adequate room for your feet. Ideally, like Goldilocks, everything will be just right. But, don't count on it. Be picky.
  8. If you have special insoles or orthotics, put them into any shoe you try on as they will take up space inside the shoe.
  9. When you find what you think will fit you well, you will need to see if your toes have enough clearance. Toes should not be able to be forced to the front of the shoe and touch the shoe. Not even a little. If they do, long walking and downhill grades on the trail or path or road will traumatize the bed of the nail, and that is when toenails can blacken and fall off.
  10. With your shoes tied securely, but not too tight, walk around the store with your pack on. Go up stairs and down stairs, scuff the shoes to the floor so that your feet are forced to do any movement they will do and see if your toes so much as butterfly kiss the front of the shoe. Kick the front of the shoe into a post or stair or wall or someone's shin.... does that make any of your toes touch the front of the shoe? That goes for all the little piggies.
  11. Next, pay attention to the width of the shoe. It shouldn't feel snug on the sides and there should be no rubbing or pressure points at all. They will not go away with "break in". They will create soreness, pain, and blistering. Even if it seems to be tolerable, it is like water torture; as your feet are continually exposed to those pressure points your feet will break down against them bit by bit, and bruising, blisters, and soreness will follow.
  12. You may (or not) need to go up a size to a size and a half in length; and the same holds true with the need to go with a wider width to avoid those things I mentioned above. The notion that one avoids blisters by wearing snug footwear has been shown to do just the opposite.
--------------------------------------------
 
D

Deleted member 61803

Guest
Dave the only thing I would add is to try and walk a few miles with your pack just before going into the store for a boot fitting. Probably not necessary if you are on your feet all day anyway.

Everyone's feet react differently to the stress of walking.

Many decent outdoor shops in the UK have peculiar "terrain tracks" which are like slopes of rough terrain so you can certainly test out the fit. Good fitters can show you lacing techniques which are also useful in stopping toe banging and heel lift even in properly fitted footwear.
 
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MichelleO

Member
Past OR future Camino
Aug/Sept 2018
Had my first walk in a while: from Kalamunda to the bottom of the Zig Zag and back - about 16km.
Wore my low-rise Merrell MOABs and (poor choice) thin Kathmandu hiking socks. I wore the thin socks because it was a warm day.
I just took this photo but the hike was 18 days ago.
My mistake? The socks. AND my toenails weren't short enough (they are now 👍🏻).
 

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davebugg

A Pilgrimage is time I spend praying with my feet
Past OR future Camino
2019
Dave the only thing I would add is to try and walk a few miles with your pack just before going into the store for a boot fitting. Probably not necessary if you are on your feet all day anyway.

Everyone's feet react differently to the stress of walking.

Many decent outdoor shops in the UK have peculiar "terrain tracks" which are like slopes of rough terrain so you can certainly test out the fit. Good fitters can show you lacing techniques which are also useful in stopping toe banging and heel lift even in properly fitted footwear.

I used to advise that, but then found that it wasn't really necessary if you do the fitting at the end of the day, and then wear the backpack. The compensated difference I found was fairly negligible from that vs. if a pack was worn for a few walking miles.

By that same token, IF you wished to shop earlier in the day, then following your advice would be a shortcut that should work.

America's shops have the same terrain testing areas in the stores dedicated to backpacking and climbing. More so, many are now following REI's and Amazons model of allowing full refunds or credit for shoes that you take home and use for a set time period outside, and don't work out.

Since this isn't a thread on blister prevention, I won't go into detail here about why I am uneasy with many lace locking techniques. It will be a good topic in another thread, though.
 

Faye Walker

Veteran Member
Past OR future Camino
CF 2014, CF 2018, CP 2019 from Coimbra
Hi, Faye. I have no reason to doubt that your shop attendant did a stellar job in fitting you. If they did, you have found a great place to shop for your shoes. I'd like to send you a backup checklist guide to help self-assess (or reassess) how I have fitted people as guidance to getting a proper match of piggies to footwear.

I developed this guide because I have dealt with many specialized backpacking and climbing shops, in addition to the general outdoor variety like Decathlon, and found that many staff are well intentioned, but are doing measurements and assessments incorrectly.

Again, I tread gently because you might find that this information exactly matches how you were fitted. I just figure it can't hurt to double check. Additionally, feet, especially for those who are active, can change slightly for a variety of reasons ranging from fluid retention issues to musculoskeletal deficiencies, to just normal growth as we get older.

Anyway, I hope I am not being presumptive or stepping on your toes (OMG, that was weirdly pun-fully unintentional).
----------------------------

How to Fit Shoes

The most important theme for achieving a proper fit is: You do not choose a shoe based on measurements, you buy a shoe based on its Fit N Feel regardless of instrument measurements.
  1. When you go to the store, do so toward the end of the day.... you will have been up on your feet, so that will help with getting the correct fit. Additionally, you will need to wear the same backpack with the same gear you will be carrying... you want this additional weight on you as this will put the same downward pressure on the foot that you will be having while on Camino.
  2. Wear the exact same sock(s) you will be wearing while you are walking on the Camino. And if you have a special insole or orthotic, bring it with you.
  3. At the store, the measuring that will be done on your feet is only to get you in the ballpark for the correct shoe size.
  4. Start by standing up; never measure while sitting. You want the full weight of your body, with the pack on, to put the same pressure on your feet to spread them out as will happen while walking. That alone will increase the volume and size of your feet.
  5. Make sure those 'Camino' socks are on your feet; if you wear socks with liners while walking, do the same thing at the store.
  6. While standing, have someone near to you that you can use to steady yourself. With the measuring device on the ground, step onto the instrument and center all of your weight onto the foot being measured. Do the same for the other foot.
  7. Start with that size, but be aware that both the width and the length need to feel like there is adequate room for your feet. Ideally, like Goldilocks, everything will be just right. But, don't count on it. Be picky.
  8. If you have special insoles or orthotics, put them into any shoe you try on as they will take up space inside the shoe.
  9. When you find what you think will fit you well, you will need to see if your toes have enough clearance. Toes should not be able to be forced to the front of the shoe and touch the shoe. Not even a little. If they do, long walking and downhill grades on the trail or path or road will traumatize the bed of the nail, and that is when toenails can blacken and fall off.
  10. With your shoes tied securely, but not too tight, walk around the store with your pack on. Go up stairs and down stairs, scuff the shoes to the floor so that your feet are forced to do any movement they will do and see if your toes so much as butterfly kiss the front of the shoe. Kick the front of the shoe into a post or stair or wall or someone's shin.... does that make any of your toes touch the front of the shoe? That goes for all the little piggies.
  11. Next, pay attention to the width of the shoe. It shouldn't feel snug on the sides and there should be no rubbing or pressure points at all. They will not go away with "break in". They will create soreness, pain, and blistering. Even if it seems to be tolerable, it is like water torture; as your feet are continually exposed to those pressure points your feet will break down against them bit by bit, and bruising, blisters, and soreness will follow.
  12. You may (or not) need to go up a size to a size and a half in length; and the same holds true with the need to go with a wider width to avoid those things I mentioned above. The notion that one avoids blisters by wearing snug footwear has been shown to do just the opposite.
--------------------------------------------

I’ve done it all except for #10 — wearing the pack. And I sized *down* after Camino 1... from a 7 to a 6.5... solved many more serious complaints (fatigue, Achilles tendinitis, PF, and tendinitis down the front of the ankle).
Interesting that I had no pack with me on my recent hike. I did have my Darn Tough socks that are too rigid... I think I should just turn that pair into dust-rags. They have no give in the weave and feel almost like boiled wool.
I’m also thinking that because I was walking on a social visit with my son that I forgot to drop my seat on our long downhills...
I *think* the nails will survive this time... they are still a bit tender, but they are not discolouring. So when they feel better I will try again: different socks, and not forgetting to drop my seat on the the long descents.
 
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JabbaPapa

"True Pilgrim"
Past OR future Camino
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Hi. Buy your shoes another whole size bigger. As long as they stay on, they will be fantastic.
Not everyone needs that -- as there are some jammy dodgers whose feet simply do not swell during long distance hiking.

But too small socks, and it really doesn't matter what size your shoes are unless they're too small as well.
 

Faye Walker

Veteran Member
Past OR future Camino
CF 2014, CF 2018, CP 2019 from Coimbra
Not everyone needs that -- as there are some jammy dodgers whose feet simply do not swell during long distance hiking.

But too small socks, and it really doesn't matter what size your shoes are unless they're too small as well.

Yep... I think I am one of those who falls into this lucky category. The *only* time my feet swell is on a long flight — like transatlantic... and then they stay swollen for 3 days.
 
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Faye Walker

Veteran Member
Past OR future Camino
CF 2014, CF 2018, CP 2019 from Coimbra
Thats where the compression socks come in, annoying to put on but work a treat.
maybe next flight... if I ever get off the ground again.
I don’t take window seats near the wings anymore.... often there’s no place to put your legs. I flew YYZ to Stockholm in the fetal position on Delta once and thought I would never have blood flow again...
I do try to get an upgrade to a premium eco seat when I can win the last-minute bids, and I recommend that as well - if such programmes return.
 
Past OR future Camino
Norte (2017-18)
Portugues (2015)
Frances (2014)
How about going to a yarn shop? They may have wool that is used to spin into yarn for weaving, knitting, crocheting, etc. There might even be someone there that can get you in touch with someone that has sheep or shears them. Just a thought.
Wool roving is also sold to crafters who like to needle felt. FWIW.
 
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Faye Walker

Veteran Member
Past OR future Camino
CF 2014, CF 2018, CP 2019 from Coimbra
Wool roving is also sold to crafters who like to needle felt. FWIW.
Yes, last year I checked out roving from local suppliers... it’s even more expensive than the hiker’s wool I buy. I dunno, but I suspect that in my part of the world we do not have sheep for wool, just for meat... maybe the skins go to be sold somewhere. But the price of wool in any form is just *stunning* here.
 

Doughnut NZ

From Aotearoa New Zealand
Past OR future Camino
2022
Yes, last year I checked out roving from local suppliers... it’s even more expensive than the hiker’s wool I buy. I dunno, but I suspect that in my part of the world we do not have sheep for wool, just for meat... maybe the skins go to be sold somewhere. But the price of wool in any form is just *stunning* here.
You can pluck it off the fences in Spain, entirely free.
 

pamcnm

Member
Past OR future Camino
2022
I will try it again, but mine tore and bunged up in my boots on the CP in 2019. I tried it as a means to protect a blister that had torn open on a shower rail. Ugh. De-feet! Maybe there is a better style, less likely to curl up in my sock.
I have fattish toe pads on the underside of my fourth toes on both feet and had no trouble developing callouses that prevented blisters when I was younger and running trails. I am having a little more trouble keeping them blister-free as I get older. Toe socks are helping along with wrapping the toes with gel bandages on long hikes. I have tried every variety of those toe sleeves I can find, and they all bunch up like that on me too!
Good luck with finding a solution to the bruising! It sounds like you've been very resourceful and proactive. I hope a sports podiatrist is able to help.
 
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BigT

New Member
Past OR future Camino
Frances (2020)
I have used a product for about 30 years called Spenco Second Skin. It is also sold in the USA at Walgreens as Moist Burn Dressing. It is sold as a sheet that can be cut with a scissors or nail clipper or small precut sections. Buy extra adhesive covering as the packages do not have enough of that. The product has the texture of a gel and is 98% water, so somewhat like a partially-dehydrated Jello product. I have used it for abrasions, burns, blisters, painful callouses, protrusions or altered toes, and to prevent blisters. It is inexpensive, available online, and I leave it in place until it starts to come off then replace it. It is much easier to remove than Compeed and you can cut it to fit. The sheets come in resealable pouches and I also place them inside of a small plastic bag.
And I have large, wide feet, that are flatter than flat, and wear Merrell hiking boots with a pair of over the calf compression socks only.
 

pamcnm

Member
Past OR future Camino
2022
I have used a product for about 30 years called Spenco Second Skin. It is also sold in the USA at Walgreens as Moist Burn Dressing. It is sold as a sheet that can be cut with a scissors or nail clipper or small precut sections. Buy extra adhesive covering as the packages do not have enough of that. The product has the texture of a gel and is 98% water, so somewhat like a partially-dehydrated Jello product. I have used it for abrasions, burns, blisters, painful callouses, protrusions or altered toes, and to prevent blisters. It is inexpensive, available online, and I leave it in place until it starts to come off then replace it. It is much easier to remove than Compeed and you can cut it to fit. The sheets come in resealable pouches and I also place them inside of a small plastic bag.
And I have large, wide feet, that are flatter than flat, and wear Merrell hiking boots with a pair of over the calf compression socks only.
I am going to look for this product!
 
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Juno

Member
Past OR future Camino
Camino French Way (2012 - 2014)
SJPDP - Sahagun (June 2015)
Sahagun - Muxia (June 2016)
So... I generally wear Keen boots, Keen hiking sandals, and Altra Lone Peak trail runners. I never, ever have an issue with the sandals, even with the hard toe-cap.

I do not have an anatomically challenging foot. My toes are all of the usual orientation; the second is not longer than the rest.

My toe-spread is wider than it was before I took up long distance walking... hence Keens and Altras.

But dang it.

After about 10K on any walk, I can feel that I have bruised the nail bed of each second toe, both left and right. I wear my Altras on my treadmill and had no troubles all winter, though I don’t think I went 10K in a single go on the treadmill.

I do not feel the toe hitting the shoes when I am walking, but at the end of the walk... man... feels like I”ve been stuck on each of my second toes with a hammer to the nail bed. I expect that by tomorrow I might see the bruising.

I lock-lace my shoes. I wear excellent socks. I have only endured blisters on the toe on my left foot that suffered a bad break and healed with a 90 deg. inward turn, so now I wrap that one with hiker’s wool.

But the bruising of the nail beds? How can I prevent that if lock-lacing is not helping? Can I wrap that toe? Or will it still end up bruised anyway? (I ask before trying to wrap that in my precious/expensive wool).

Anyone else conquered this issue? I’m tired of having nails pop off.
It sounds like the shoes are not long enough or wide enough. I would get to a proper sports shoe shop hasty postie! You need at least a size up on walking shoes and should be able to wiggle your toes. As a temporary fix, loosen the laces at the toe end until you can wiggle your toes but not the ankle end, which needs to be tight. You can also buy Lámina de fieltro, from the pharmacist which is essentially a pink coloured felt type of plaster that comes in a roll and you can cut to size to place over any pinch points. Good luck and hope that helps.
 

Pilgrim Patricia

Want to do the VdlP again!
Past OR future Camino
Via de la Plata; Hospitalera Miraz 2011
I think it’s just the cost of being in Canada, and that hiking wool is, like dancer’s wool, a terribly niche product here. I cannot even buy it in a store here. Not even a specialized hiking shop. I used to go to the dance wear store, but it’s even more expensive there.
I can buy an entire sheepskin at IKEA for about $30 CAD, but those fibres are too short to turn into hiking wool. Besides, the cats would be really annoyed if I stole their beds to line my shoes. :p
Faye, try PaSu Farm. They are in Alberta and the wool starts at $5.00 for a one-ounce bag. Buy 5 and get the 6th one free. http://www.pasu.com/shopping/products/fo-13-footsie/
 

sfdithomas

Member
Past OR future Camino
2015
That does sound painful and odd. I don't have that issue; however, as I have gotten older I have noticed that simple things have begun to pop up. For example, if I am standing in my home barefoot focused on a task...while standing...I will at times begin to really grip the floor with my toes. I end up with strained toes. They are not bruised, but they are painful for a day or so.
You are wearing great shoes, socks, etc. The only thing I can think it might be is the way you move your toes while walking. I would find a really great sports podiatrist for a solution. Otherwise, I would just begin to tape those two toes to see if it changes things.
I do hope things improve for you.
So... I generally wear Keen boots, Keen hiking sandals, and Altra Lone Peak trail runners. I never, ever have an issue with the sandals, even with the hard toe-cap.

I do not have an anatomically challenging foot. My toes are all of the usual orientation; the second is not longer than the rest.

My toe-spread is wider than it was before I took up long distance walking... hence Keens and Altras.

But dang it.

After about 10K on any walk, I can feel that I have bruised the nail bed of each second toe, both left and right. I wear my Altras on my treadmill and had no troubles all winter, though I don’t think I went 10K in a single go on the treadmill.

I do not feel the toe hitting the shoes when I am walking, but at the end of the walk... man... feels like I”ve been stuck on each of my second toes with a hammer to the nail bed. I expect that by tomorrow I might see the bruising.

I lock-lace my shoes. I wear excellent socks. I have only endured blisters on the toe on my left foot that suffered a bad break and healed with a 90 deg. inward turn, so now I wrap that one with hiker’s wool.

But the bruising of the nail beds? How can I prevent that if lock-lacing is not helping? Can I wrap that toe? Or will it still end up bruised anyway? (I ask before trying to wrap that in my precious/expensive wool).

Anyone else conquered this issue? I’m tired of having nails pop off.
Hi Faye,
I have this problem as well. Ultimately I believe it has to do with gait. Since I don’t have insurance I don’t see myself getting evaluated any time soon. I did have I insurance before my first camino and was fitted for orthotics by a podiatrist due to Morton’s Neuroma in my right foot. However, I couldn’t see myself brining these $500 orthotics on a trip, potentially losing them or worrying about them so I left them at home. Oddly, my neuroma went away from all that walking!

I saw an improvement ( but not a resolution) in the toenail pain after a couple of things.

First was open toe sandals, which I will typically wear with socks. I know, I know, completely unfashionable!

Second was losing weight (aaaagh!). I’m still considerably overweight however over the course of my trips I dropped about 40 pounds, basically I lost 2 mochilas!

Third, making your pack as light as possible seems to help. Only a few times in my four trips did I actually use Jacotrans or the like and I realized that not actually having a pack was a massive help. I realize people have opinions about this but you need to do what’s best for you in order to not injure yourself. I needed to make time due to my flight and was able to walk 34k in one day because I transported my pack one day out of 40. I’m not going to let anyone make me feel guilty about it. I suspect that ancient pilgrims probably weren’t carrying too much because I doubt they owned much.

Lastly, walking poles give a good amount of support and I highly recommend using them. If you can afford and find a PT or orthopedist to evaluate your gait, I’d try that. Best of luck to you!
 

sfdithomas

Member
Past OR future Camino
2015
Consideration: Overly tight socks and/or multiple sock layers that impinge against the toes can and do damage nail beds. This is not immediately noticed or appreciated because there is not hard 'banging' against the stiff toe of the shoe. An overly tight sock(s) will cause the pressure as the foot takes a downward step and elongates. The sock is too tight to stretch and the nail takes the pressure. It is a process that will match some of the symptoms you described.

C. Clearly also mentioned depressed material of the shoe impinging on top to toenails which has caused nail bed injuries, too. It is milder than banging your toes against the front of the shoe or boot, but if the material creases are in the right location they can put pressure on the nail bed.

Just a couple of thoughts.
I hear what you are saying but I can tell you that for me it happens with or without a sock. Seems like a gait issue. Also happens to me with or without a backpack. And I’ll say it again, it’s amazing that someone asks a question on this incredible forum and the support is off the chain!
 
Past OR future Camino
2022
I have had that very same problem,
have now reached the conclusion that no 2 toe, is dipping the tip joint a little downwards in the boot.
That makes it seem as long as the big toe, but is in fact a little longer but bended downward at the tip.
That, in my opinion makes a pressure almost to the front of the ball of this toe.
I only get this problem when walking a certain length and dependent on how energetic I walk.
My first time was being late in leaving Carrion de los Condes on a Monday as the dentist did not open till late...
Anyway, that caused me to march at legionaire´s speed the next 30 kms and my feet were shattered....
My conclusion is, that in my case I get tto much pressure in the front tip of the toe and I get a blue nail after some days...more times than not...
My solution is now , to tape a compressing piece of kinesiotape around both second toes and take my feet in cold water as I arrive, and lettting the compress sit for some days.
I take 2 inches of the tape, halving it lengthwise allowing for the stretch to be in the long section around the toe.
That and walking slower has helped me somewhat but nor always.
If I do nothing, I will get blue no 2 toes ...

Not all feet are created equal....
I am very similar. A lot depends on my pace. Fast = digging in with toes, especially on an uphill. I have had issues in the last 1.5 years. Only on my right foot. Stopped wearing rounded Solomon and LeSportiva. Now wear Altras and Chaco sandals which really have helped. Also until my toes (2 on R foot healed) I wore toe gel caps. Love them. I only wear them periodically now.

i started to pay more attention to what my right foot was doing. Found I ever so slightly curl or grip with the toes on my right foot only, so have to be more mindful while walking to not grip. Also, I have slowed my pace.
 
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davebugg

A Pilgrimage is time I spend praying with my feet
Past OR future Camino
2019
I hear what you are saying but I can tell you that for me it happens with or without a sock. Seems like a gait issue. Also happens to me with or without a backpack. And I’ll say it again, it’s amazing that someone asks a question on this incredible forum and the support is off the chain!
Interesting; thank you for sharing your thought on this.

Nail bed injuries most often require a specific trauma that is caused by: 1. a sudden and severe impact to the top of the toe , or 2. a cumulative and less severe but constant, aggressive pressure against the toe nail itself, or 3. a disease process.

Gait issues are most often caused by an underlying musculoskeletal issue. If not, they are often the result of either motion control issues with footwear, or issues with overstriding with each step. In either category of cause, if an abnormal gait is directly related to nail bed injuries, it is likely because that gait is causing the toes to be forced into the front of the shoe in an exaggerated manner. This is not something that is necessarily noticed and can be quite subtle unless the footwear was not sized properly.

When that happens, it is because the footwear is not wide enough and long enough at the forefoot. For normal or near normal gait, the manner in which a shoe or boot is fitted for long distance walking or backpacking is not sufficient, because it is assumed that the person has normal gait patterns.

From reading your posts, and nothing else, changing over to sandals seemed to allow your forefeet unimpeded motion that your other footwear did not. You wore socks with the sandals, but you did not describe wearing the socks tightly, which in the confines of a shoe creates constant pressure against the nail.

Overstriding issues are sometimes a cause of Shin Splints, but the OP never related either overstriding issues or shin splints.

So I do hear what you are saying, but the specific, anecdotal issues related to your experience which you have posted, do not appear to be shared by the OP based on all of her written posts in the thread. I do think that you did a marvelous job of dealing with your symptoms and arriving at the solution that you did.
 

davebugg

A Pilgrimage is time I spend praying with my feet
Past OR future Camino
2019
It sounds like the shoes are not long enough or wide enough. I would get to a proper sports shoe shop hasty postie! You need at least a size up on walking shoes and should be able to wiggle your toes. As a temporary fix, loosen the laces at the toe end until you can wiggle your toes but not the ankle end, which needs to be tight. You can also buy Lámina de fieltro, from the pharmacist which is essentially a pink coloured felt type of plaster that comes in a roll and you can cut to size to place over any pinch points. Good luck and hope that helps.

The OP had ruled out ill-fitted footwear as a cause in her earlier posts. The cushioning you mentioned is a great suggestion for those dealing with things like creases in the forefoot pushing down on the toes.
 

Faye Walker

Veteran Member
Past OR future Camino
CF 2014, CF 2018, CP 2019 from Coimbra
It sounds like the shoes are not long enough or wide enough. I would get to a proper sports shoe shop hasty postie! You need at least a size up on walking shoes and should be able to wiggle your toes. As a temporary fix, loosen the laces at the toe end until you can wiggle your toes but not the ankle end, which needs to be tight. You can also buy Lámina de fieltro, from the pharmacist which is essentially a pink coloured felt type of plaster that comes in a roll and you can cut to size to place over any pinch points. Good luck and hope that helps.
My shoes are both long enough and wide enough. Lacing is not the issue. I will try the fabric.
Thanks.
 

Faye Walker

Veteran Member
Past OR future Camino
CF 2014, CF 2018, CP 2019 from Coimbra
Just a little update... Today I wore much softer Darn Tough socks, and I taped the toes. Did not quite hit the threshold distance-wise when things can start to bother me.

I won't tape the toes again. That made them ache by the end of 10K, but I'm definitely going to ditch those other more rigid socks that I was wearing on Tuesday. I dunno why I never thought of my tight socks as anything other than "soft" but it seems like they may be the common aggravating issue.

I am also going to look for something I had forgotten about, but which the farmacia in Porto sold to me in 2019.

If anyone knows what it is called.... that would be *so helpful*.

It is medical gauze of a very loose weave, almost a mesh, and it is saturated with beeswax.
I wrapped it around my toe that had the torn blister and was able to return to my hike after a shorter rest than anticipated... no more chafing, and totally protected that wound.

I've never seen it in North America, but maybe I can order it if anyone knows the name of it.
 

taigirl

Active Member
Past OR future Camino
Frances 2019
So... I generally wear Keen boots, Keen hiking sandals, and Altra Lone Peak trail runners. I never, ever have an issue with the sandals, even with the hard toe-cap.

I do not have an anatomically challenging foot. My toes are all of the usual orientation; the second is not longer than the rest.

My toe-spread is wider than it was before I took up long distance walking... hence Keens and Altras.

But dang it.

After about 10K on any walk, I can feel that I have bruised the nail bed of each second toe, both left and right. I wear my Altras on my treadmill and had no troubles all winter, though I don’t think I went 10K in a single go on the treadmill.

I do not feel the toe hitting the shoes when I am walking, but at the end of the walk... man... feels like I”ve been stuck on each of my second toes with a hammer to the nail bed. I expect that by tomorrow I might see the bruising.

I lock-lace my shoes. I wear excellent socks. I have only endured blisters on the toe on my left foot that suffered a bad break and healed with a 90 deg. inward turn, so now I wrap that one with hiker’s wool.

But the bruising of the nail beds? How can I prevent that if lock-lacing is not helping? Can I wrap that toe? Or will it still end up bruised anyway? (I ask before trying to wrap that in my precious/expensive wool).

Anyone else conquered this issue? I’m tired of having nails pop off.
 
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taigirl

Active Member
Past OR future Camino
Frances 2019
I would use hikers wool. You don't say where you live but if there are nearby sheep try to get some fleece. I used that on the Camino. Washed it and picked out the grass seeds first. Also some craft shops sell small amounts of wool that has been cleaned and dyed various colours. Cheaper than hikers wool and works as well.
 

C clearly

Moderator
Staff member
Past OR future Camino
Most years since 2012. Hoping now for 2022.
If anyone knows what it is called.... that would be *so helpful*.

It is medical gauze of a very loose weave, almost a mesh, and it is saturated with beeswax.
It is not saturated with beeswax, but Omnifix gauze tape might serve. It is a loose gauze with a very slight adhesive. It stretches and wraps very well. It is available in Canada, but you might need to ask for it in the pharmacy.
 

taigirl

Active Member
Past OR future Camino
Frances 2019
When I was a nurse years ago we used it to cover burns. It came in a tin or between two pieces of foil. It wasnt beeswax, could have been paraffin wax. This was in South Africa and in Australia. I'll try to remember the name and post it.
 

Faye Walker

Veteran Member
Past OR future Camino
CF 2014, CF 2018, CP 2019 from Coimbra
It was called Jelonet. Can't imagine it would help with padding toes.

This stuff is what the farmacia used to wrap my torn toe in Porto... (I will look up the Jelonet -- might be close enough). I used it well past the point when my toe had healed and what I loved about ut was that it molded exactly to my toe, conforming to Avery feature, and provided more cushion than I have. My toes are nearly as boney as my fingers, and this stuff was amazing. Which is how I ran out before I'd made it home again. I really, really should have bought another few packets.
 
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Faye Walker

Veteran Member
Past OR future Camino
CF 2014, CF 2018, CP 2019 from Coimbra
It is not saturated with beeswax, but Omnifix gauze tape might serve. It is a loose gauze with a very slight adhesive. It stretches and wraps very well. It is available in Canada, but you might need to ask for it in the pharmacy.
I found some Jelonet (recommended by @taigirl)... had to pay a fortune for the shipping from Alberta... but if it works as well as whatever I bought in Porto, it will be worth it.

EDITED: Also found that WELL.CA carries it so will order from there next time... as they carry a bazillion other useful things we need anyway and don't care shipping. Shoppers' Drug does not sell it.
 
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taigirl

Active Member
Past OR future Camino
Frances 2019
So... I generally wear Keen boots, Keen hiking sandals, and Altra Lone Peak trail runners. I never, ever have an issue with the sandals, even with the hard toe-cap.

I do not have an anatomically challenging foot. My toes are all of the usual orientation; the second is not longer than the rest.

My toe-spread is wider than it was before I took up long distance walking... hence Keens and Altras.

But dang it.

After about 10K on any walk, I can feel that I have bruised the nail bed of each second toe, both left and right. I wear my Altras on my treadmill and had no troubles all winter, though I don’t think I went 10K in a single go on the treadmill.

I do not feel the toe hitting the shoes when I am walking, but at the end of the walk... man... feels like I”ve been stuck on each of my second toes with a hammer to the nail bed. I expect that by tomorrow I might see the bruising.

I lock-lace my shoes. I wear excellent socks. I have only endured blisters on the toe on my left foot that suffered a bad break and healed with a 90 deg. inward turn, so now I wrap that one with hiker’s wool.

But the bruising of the nail beds? How can I prevent that if lock-lacing is not helping? Can I wrap that toe? Or will it still end up bruised anyway? (I ask before trying to wrap that in my precious/expensive wool).

Anyone else conquered this issue? I’m tired of having nails pop off.
 

taigirl

Active Member
Past OR future Camino
Frances 2019
Also check out gel toe sleeves which slip over each toe. Scholl make them but I bought mine cheaply off eBay. Just cut to length.
 

taigirl

Active Member
Past OR future Camino
Frances 2019
So... I generally wear Keen boots, Keen hiking sandals, and Altra Lone Peak trail runners. I never, ever have an issue with the sandals, even with the hard toe-cap.

I do not have an anatomically challenging foot. My toes are all of the usual orientation; the second is not longer than the rest.

My toe-spread is wider than it was before I took up long distance walking... hence Keens and Altras.

But dang it.

After about 10K on any walk, I can feel that I have bruised the nail bed of each second toe, both left and right. I wear my Altras on my treadmill and had no troubles all winter, though I don’t think I went 10K in a single go on the treadmill.

I do not feel the toe hitting the shoes when I am walking, but at the end of the walk... man... feels like I”ve been stuck on each of my second toes with a hammer to the nail bed. I expect that by tomorrow I might see the bruising.

I lock-lace my shoes. I wear excellent socks. I have only endured blisters on the toe on my left foot that suffered a bad break and healed with a 90 deg. inward turn, so now I wrap that one with hiker’s wool.

But the bruising of the nail beds? How can I prevent that if lock-lacing is not helping? Can I wrap that toe? Or will it still end up bruised anyway? (I ask before trying to wrap that in my precious/expensive wool).

Anyone else conquered this issue? I’m tired of having nails pop off.
 
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