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Foot Pain - sharp pain on top of foot

caminobbz2021

New Member
Year of past OR future Camino
2021
Hi everyone! My fellow walking partner / pilgrim has a sharp shooting pain down the top of her foot from her big toe to the base of her ankle. When she lifts her foot and bends it, it hurts more. It feels like the whole top surface of her foot is bruised. She has been walking in shoes with little support, any ideas on solutions / what this may be? Thanks so much!
 
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Jeff B

Member
Year of past OR future Camino
Camino Frances 2019
This could be a back (lumbar) problem, which refers the pain to another part of the body - leg or foot. Happened to me on the CF, and had pain on the top of my left foot - I managed to live with it, but it dogged me every day from about day 5. Also caused calf pain which prevented me from continuing my jogging. Ended up going to Physical Therapy where it was diagnosed, because I also had numbness on the inside of my left calf. Basically it ended up being a pinched nerve, though fortunately the solution has been simply to start some specific yoga stretches which relieves the pressure in that area of the back. I'd suggest that she goes in and has someone take it look at it.
 

Phil71

Active Member
Year of past OR future Camino
Portuguese (2014,2016),Primitivo (2015), San Salvador (2017), Norte (2018), Ingles (2018)
Could be tendonitis that can be caused by laces being too tight. I managed to do that to myself once. Took a few weeks to recover. But I'm no doctor, better to find a professional.
 

Marbe2

Active member
Year of past OR future Camino
2015-2019 walked all or more than half of CF 7 times... CP recently cancelled by Covid 19!
No idea. If you are already on the trail, I recommend that you go to a farmacia for primary advice, and level up to a doctor if required.

Feet are very complicated mechanically. They can get stress fractures, muscle tears, tendinitis, and on and on…
Agree! Seek professional assistance ASAP! Respectfully, don’t look for medical assistance here.
 
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Darby67

Enólogo caminando
Year of past OR future Camino
2018 CF Jan-Feb
2019 CF Jan-Mar
I agree with Marbe2. Many of us soldiered through pain. Some of us have even brought that pain home with us. Permanent damage isn’t worth it in my opinion. Find a clinic and have it checked.
 

Kanga

Moderator
Staff member
Year of past OR future Camino
Francés x 5, Le Puy x 2, Arles, Tours, Norte, Madrid, Via de la Plata, Portuguese, Primitivo
I am not medically qualified at all, just an old pilgrim who has seen a bit. With the "I am not medically qualified" warning, it sounds to me like it might be tendonitis. Inflammation and swelling of the tendons. If the shoes are not offering much support, it might be the result of too much twisting and turning. Tendonitis can be caused by an external irritant, like too tight laces or shoes or boots that are putting pressure on a tendon, or pulling the feet the wrong way, but also it can be from simple overuse. I met one fellow who was struck down at Carrion de los Condes, after walking quite happily all the way from Le Puy.

If it is tendonitis - your companion can try a number of things. Rest, elevation, ice (not compression imo).

Give trekking sticks a go, if not already using them. A change of shoes. Or try the stiff orthotic inserts one can buy from chemist shops - sold generally for plantar fasciitis but can also help with tendonitis because they stabilise the foot. Or try sandals for a while. Obviously try to eliminate any rubbing on the top of the foot if the problem is localised there.

For tendonitis I'm not a fan of feet exercises or deep massage when tendonitis is suspected, because sometimes that can actually exacerbate the problem. Well, it did for me.

And, as everyone says, don't keep pushing through the pain. A bit is ok, permanent damage is not. Get professional help if it does not clear - lots of physiotherapists and GPs on the route.
 

SherlyC

Member
Year of past OR future Camino
CF Sep, 2018
CP May, 2019
Hi everyone! My fellow walking partner / pilgrim has a sharp shooting pain down the top of her foot from her big toe to the base of her ankle. When she lifts her foot and bends it, it hurts more. It feels like the whole top surface of her foot is bruised. She has been walking in shoes with little support, any ideas on solutions / what this may be? Thanks so much
I had a similar case in my first camino. Our feet grows during long distance walking. Most probably her foot got large and swollen. Stop by at the next shoe store and get a shoe at least 2 size larger than her feet. If this doesn’t help, she should go see a doctor.
 

Marbe2

Active member
Year of past OR future Camino
2015-2019 walked all or more than half of CF 7 times... CP recently cancelled by Covid 19!
I had a similar case in my first camino. Our feet grows during long distance walking. Most probably her foot got large and swollen. Stop by at the next shoe store and get a shoe at least 2 size larger than her feet. If this doesn’t help, she should go see a doctor.
See a doctor before you spend money on new shoes!
 

Wendykin

New Member
Year of past OR future Camino
Camino Frances x2,
2020 Camino Frances hospitalera
I had similar issues on top also but no bruising. Rested frequently and iced when I could. Hiked it out ~100km and then saw podiatrist. Was a stress fracture very common with soldiers. I’m assuming that changing socks frequently and inserting foam inserts helped a lot to cushion pain. Medical help would be best though. Walking sticks helped me too. You may need orthopedic help if not already. I now wear orthotics.
 
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Year of past OR future Camino
2018
I also had this problem. Turned out to be due to 2 reasons: 1) I was wearing Xero shoes which lacked a rigidity enough to provide support on steep descents and 2) I was not using the trekking poles correctly to, again, provide support on steep descents.

While on the Camino, I did 3 immediate things: used Voltaren to decrease swelling, used fizzy magnesium tabs in my water which (per the Faramcia) helped reduce swelling, and used a foot compression sock for the remainder of the Camino.

After the Camino, I changed shoes to provide better support during descents and learned to use KT tape. This helped tremendously on future walks.
 

darealdeal77

New Member
Year of past OR future Camino
2014 Camino Frances
Hi everyone! My fellow walking partner / pilgrim has a sharp shooting pain down the top of her foot from her big toe to the base of her ankle. When she lifts her foot and bends it, it hurts more. It feels like the whole top surface of her foot is bruised. She has been walking in shoes with little support, any ideas on solutions / what this may be? Thanks so much!
I do not want to alarm you, but from a person who fractured her foot, it sounds just like it! I fractured mine while playing soccer, I stepped wrong in a small ditch, and thought nothing of it, walked fine that night, till the next day when I couldn’t even bring my foot down from my bed! I had fractured all the bones across my foot. Very painful and had all those symptoms your friend is feeling! 😞
 

Marbe2

Active member
Year of past OR future Camino
2015-2019 walked all or more than half of CF 7 times... CP recently cancelled by Covid 19!
Hi everyone! My fellow walking partner / pilgrim has a sharp shooting pain down the top of her foot from her big toe to the base of her ankle. When she lifts her foot and bends it, it hurts more. It feels like the whole top surface of her foot is bruised. She has been walking in shoes with little support, any ideas on solutions / what this may be? Thanks so much!
So what has your partner decided to do?
 

keith duke scott

New Member
Year of past OR future Camino
Planning on the pilgrimage 2015
Lots of good advice given here. My non medical advice from someone who has hiked alot and had foot pain
#1) rest and ice
#) anti inflammatory
#3) get shoes with good support asap
4) use walking sticks. They really help.
#5) Stop carrying a heavy back pack. Use the transfer service till foot feels better
#6) slow down don't walk to far each day.
#7) start using cbd oil/paste 1000mgs. Apply 2 times a day. Use it everyday!
Put your feet up often elevated and enjoy some great spainish wine.
All the best😎
 
Year of past OR future Camino
CF 2013, CF 2014, CP 2016, CN 1st half 2018, CN 3rd qtr+R. Cantabrico 2019, Via Francigena 2017
I started having sharp pain top of foot day before arriving in Santiago. It turned out to be a stress fracture.
 
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davebugg

A Pilgrimage is time I spend praying with my feet
Year of past OR future Camino
2019
Hi everyone! My fellow walking partner / pilgrim has a sharp shooting pain down the top of her foot from her big toe to the base of her ankle. When she lifts her foot and bends it, it hurts more. It feels like the whole top surface of her foot is bruised. She has been walking in shoes with little support, any ideas on solutions / what this may be? Thanks so much!

There is something torn, strained, or fractured. The bruising indicates a bleed has happened. There are many causes for that kind of bleed: an external force that has struck the foot area, to a continued pressure point that has burst surface vessels, to a torn ligament or tendon that may or may not be part of a fracture.

The point is that your subjective description can not be used to diagnose to cause. Normal foot tenderness and discomfort that can be expected to occur from newly started regimens of long distance walking with a load does not manifest itself in the way you describe.

Even IF a marked decrease in pain or bruising or swelling occurs, my recommendation would be to have a medical professional examine the foot, especially for stress fracturing as stress fracture symptoms can begin to resolve (discolorations, swelling, pain) even though the fracture is still there.
 

rscohen

New Member
Year of past OR future Camino
Frances from Le Puy-en-Velay ('10-12) from Montgenevre '14-15) from Vezelay ('18), from Seville 2020
I'm a retired podiatrist, and a veteran of three Caminos and several other long-distance walks. All the responses have been thoughtful and spot on. The suggested diagnoses are plausible, but a stress fracture is most probable. An experienced professional's hands can often diagnose the problem with a physical exam, even before x-rays show the damage. The treatment is rest, and splinting the foot in a removeable cast or stiff-soled shoe. It would be very hard to walk through the pain, though eventually it would heal. Sometimes a Camino must be suspended. I've had that experience myself. Good luck.
 

Lance Chambers

Lance Chambers
Year of past OR future Camino
Sarria (2015), SJPdP (2016), Burgos (2017), SJPdP (2018), Burgos (2019), SJPdP (2020?).
Shoes too tight over the arch of the foot. Loosen your laces.
 
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Nofeer

New Member
Year of past OR future Camino
El Camino from Leon to Santiago de Compostella in 2016
Hi everyone! My fellow walking partner / pilgrim has a sharp shooting pain down the top of her foot from her big toe to the base of her ankle. When she lifts her foot and bends it, it hurts more. It feels like the whole top surface of her foot is bruised. She has been walking in shoes with little support, any ideas on solutions / what this may be? Thanks so much!
I got pain on top of my foot some years ago after walking about 300 km. Wass painful every time I lifted my foot. But it was on top of my foot only.

Top of my foot was a bit swollen as well if I remembered. Figured it was an overworked/strained tendon so took few days rest and bought Voltaren gel in the pharmacy to bring down the inflammation. had to rest for few days and it got better.

Not sore if it's the same problem, but yeah, visit a pharmacy and they may be able to help.
 
Year of past OR future Camino
CF 2013, CF 2014, CP 2016, CN 1st half 2018, CN 3rd qtr+R. Cantabrico 2019, Via Francigena 2017
yikes that sounds painful what do they recommend for that condition??
After we finished that camino we spent a week in Madrid which involved a lot of tourist walking. By the end of that week my foot was pretty swollen and bruised looking. It hurt but wasn't excruciating. I wasn't sure what was going on but as soon as I got home to the States I went to a doctor and they x-rayed and diagnosed the stress fracture. They gave me the option of wearing a boot of some kind but said it would heal with time. I declined the boot and it did get better after a few weeks.
 

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