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How to avoid hard surfaces on the Camino Portugues

debi b

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
Francais 2007, 2013
Muxia-Finnistere 2007
Aragon 2013
del Norte (parts) 2013, 2017
VdlP 2017
#1
Hive Mind:

It seems that the CP has many possible routes, and I need to find a way to avoid hard surfaces as much as possible. I have walked a number of Caminos in Spain, including the VdlP last spring, and my feet have generally coped well. However, last September my partner and I decided to pick up the Norte in Bilbao, and my feet were done in within the week. I had to quit walking due to a wicked case of plantar fasciitis, which I have not yet managed to overcome. We have commited to walk the CP from Porto to Santiago in May with friends, and (assuming that my feet are fine by then),I don’t want to re-injure them.

Advice please? Is there one route, or a combination of routes, that will allow me to keep walking? Are there routes or stretches that I should definitely avoid?

Thanks so much!
 

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Camino(s) past & future
First Time this year
#2
Hive Mind:

It seems that the CP has many possible routes, and I need to find a way to avoid hard surfaces as much as possible. I have walked a number of Caminos in Spain, including the VdlP last spring, and my feet have generally coped well. However, last September my partner and I decided to pick up the Norte in Bilbao, and my feet were done in within the week. I had to quit walking due to a wicked case of plantar fasciitis, which I have not yet managed to overcome. We have commited to walk the CP from Porto to Santiago in May with friends, and (assuming that my feet are fine by then),I don’t want to re-injure them.

Advice please? Is there one route, or a combination of routes, that will allow me to keep walking? Are there routes or stretches that I should definitely avoid?

Thanks so much!

Annual leave agreement pending but I'm considering the same but I'm sure I read that there were some alternatives along the CP route which is just as well because, like yourself, I have had PF (a recent "add-on" to the onset of post-CF osteoarthritis circa 2015) so minimising road/hard surfaces will be my aim too. I'm awaiting the arrival of my guide book via CSJ and imagine that might have some tips in it too.. Good luck on your journey.
 
#4
Hive Mind:

It seems that the CP has many possible routes, and I need to find a way to avoid hard surfaces as much as possible. I have walked a number of Caminos in Spain, including the VdlP last spring, and my feet have generally coped well. However, last September my partner and I decided to pick up the Norte in Bilbao, and my feet were done in within the week. I had to quit walking due to a wicked case of plantar fasciitis, which I have not yet managed to overcome. We have commited to walk the CP from Porto to Santiago in May with friends, and (assuming that my feet are fine by then),I don’t want to re-injure them.

Advice please? Is there one route, or a combination of routes, that will allow me to keep walking? Are there routes or stretches that I should definitely avoid?

Thanks so much!
Hi, Debi b,

I know this is too late for you, but I had the same problem with the Norte the first time I walked it. I went back last summer, after having researched a lot of coastal alternatives. They are not paved, they are gorgeous, and they are about 1-2 km from the Camino as it plods along the national highway. https://www.caminodesantiago.me/community/threads/coastal-alternatives-to-the-nortes-asphalt.49578/

So maybe you should consider a return!

I second Mormon's suggestion for custom orthotics, but if you get them, make sure they are not hard plastic. Silicone orthotics are the way to go -- plastic orthotics are not good for long distance walking.

Buen camino, Laurie
 

Jo Jo

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances, July 2014
Via di Francesco (Italy), July 2015
Frances, Sept-Oct 2016
Portugues Oct. 2017
#5
Debi,

We walked the CP in October 2017. Almost everyone who walks it eventually suffers from PCSD, post-cobblestone stress disorder. Cobblestones are even worse on your feet than normal asphalt. A couple of suggestions. 1) along the coast for the first two days (we went inland after that, so that's all I can speak to), there are lots of board walks along the beach. You will like board walks--the boards sort of spring with you steps; 2) I did not find the percentage of concrete/asphalt/cobblestones on the CP to be much different than the CF. I've not (yet) walked the Norte, so I cannot compare. 3) I think you need to seriously reconsider your footwear. My wife walks in Hoka trail runners and swears she could not even feel the cobblestones (and therefore, she does not suffer from PCSD). My feet are too wide even for the wide width Hokas, but for the concrete/asphalt/cobblestone sections I carried a pair of Brooks DNA Ghost 10 running shoes that took most of the pain out of them (for the dirt paths I carried Altra Timp--Altra also has a very cushioned shoes, the Olympus that you might look at).

Good luck, and bom caminho
Jo Jo
 

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Telelama

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances (Sep - Oct'14)
Frances (May - Jun'15)
Portugues (May - Jun'16)
Primitivo (2018?)
#6
We walked the senda litoral in 2016 and yes, there's very nice boardwalks along the way, but mostly the route was asphalt, concrete or cobblestones. We even left the senda litoral to join the Coastal Route between Viana do Costelo and Caminha to find some shade. It goes into the hills above town on basically logging roads and even there it was cobblestone! My feet ached for months after that Caminho.
 

Karl Oz

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances
Portuguese
Piamonte
Aragones
Elizabethpfad
#7
Hi, I walked Porto to Santiago last September, and posted a thread in the Portuguese section of the forum in October which addresses your issue, if you are interested. I would strongly recommend avoiding walking due north out of Porto, and instead use the coastal route for a couple of days, and then cut inland to join the regular route. This will avoid some decidedly unpleasant and deleterious walking on concrete and cobblestones.
 

surya8

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Portugues Central, Santarem-Santiago - 2017; Portugues Interior, Sanabres, Fisterra & Muxia - 2018
#8
Would agree with most of the people here who advised to walk the first 2 days out of Porto along the ocean. The boardwalks are a delight to walk on! You can skip some not so pleasant kilometers out of Porto if you take a metro to Mercad0 (direction Matosinhos) and walk from there to Vila do Conde/Santa Clara. Great alberge there by the way. The Portuguese way is not so hilly and strenious as the Northern, so your feet might feel better there.
 

Walking Lover

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
CdS from Leon to Santiago, June 16, 2016 to June 30, 2016.
#9
Hive Mind:

It seems that the CP has many possible routes, and I need to find a way to avoid hard surfaces as much as possible. I have walked a number of Caminos in Spain, including the VdlP last spring, and my feet have generally coped well. However, last September my partner and I decided to pick up the Norte in Bilbao, and my feet were done in within the week. I had to quit walking due to a wicked case of plantar fasciitis, which I have not yet managed to overcome. We have commited to walk the CP from Porto to Santiago in May with friends, and (assuming that my feet are fine by then),I don’t want to re-injure them.

Advice please? Is there one route, or a combination of routes, that will allow me to keep walking? Are there routes or stretches that I should definitely avoid?

Thanks so much!
I did the CdP in July. Although I had Brierley's guide, I was unprepared for the long stretches of pavement and cobblestones. Rare was the day that less than 50 to 75% was on pavement. My feet hurt a lot. I wore the same model of Hokas that I wore in '16 on the CF without any foot issues.
Additionally, there are stretches on main roads where the drivers don't slow down for pilgrims.
Good luck with your plans.
 

Walking Lover

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
CdS from Leon to Santiago, June 16, 2016 to June 30, 2016.
#10
Would agree with most of the people here who advised to walk the first 2 days out of Porto along the ocean. The boardwalks are a delight to walk on! You can skip some not so pleasant kilometers out of Porto if you take a metro to Mercad0 (direction Matosinhos) and walk from there to Vila do Conde/Santa Clara. Great alberge there by the way. The Portuguese way is not so hilly and strenious as the Northern, so your feet might feel better there.
Ou
Would agree with most of the people here who advised to walk the first 2 days out of Porto along the ocean. The boardwalks are a delight to walk on! You can skip some not so pleasant kilometers out of Porto if you take a metro to Mercad0 (direction Matosinhos) and walk from there to Vila do Conde/Santa Clara. Great alberge there by the way. The Portuguese way is not so hilly and strenious as the Northern, so your feet might feel better there.
I strongly suggest a couple of days along the coast. We did so and loved the scenery and boardwalk.
 

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