I just took a class last night entitled "Yoga for Hikers"! For feet, the instructor recommended rolling a small ball under one's bare foot, moving up and down both arches and across the balls of the feet. Then you use the thumbs to massage the same points. Then pull each toe gently and twist it, also gently. Finally, put the fingers between the toes, spread the fingers, and squeeze the toes toward each other. My feet and legs felt great afterward; I highly recommend it!
Another very helpful exercise was a stretch of the psoas muscle. This is a very deep muscle connecting the top of the femur (thigh bone) to the pelvis. Stand on a block or curb with one leg and let the other hang. Gently move the hanging leg forward very, very slightly (just a few inches), then back to the starting position, then repeat several times, then repeat with the other leg.
Hope I explained that clearly enough! I guarantee that the exercises felt great last night during the class, and felt great this morning after my three-mile sunrise hike before work. Enjoy!
Camino planned for June 2008
(was planning on the Camino Francés, but after reading the busy camino thread, am looking at other options)
at the end of the day, after cooling down & showering, my mother and i would elevate our legs by leaning them up against a wall for a sort of reverse circulation technique. just for a few minutes 10 to 20 - it's great for your back as well.
i also suggest some calf stretches. and hip stretches, as i have an injury, this was most helpful. it's the "pigeon" position in yoga - from push up position, you essentially place one of your knees inbetween your hands and lower down to stretch your hip and hamstring/quads while the other leg remains straight. then switch legs and you almost feel like new! :wink:
don't neglect your shoulders! a good shoulder stretch in the morning before putting your pack is a good idea.....
2002 CF: 2004 from Paris: 2006 VF: 2007 CF: 2009 Aragones, Ingles, Finisterre: 2011 X 2 on CF: 2013 'Caracoles': 2014 CF and Ingles 'Caracoles":2015 Logrono-Burgos (Hospitalero San Anton): 2016 La Douay to Aosta/San Gimignano to Rome:
Find a massage therapist who can give you basic training for feet, legs, hands, shoulders, backs, including seated massage. It's not difficult to learn and will make a wonderful difference to your whole experience. Otherwise get a video/DVD or books. Look up reflexology, hand massage, stretching and acupressure points as well. Work out a massage and stretching routine so you'll feel confident. Yoga etc is also excellent for flexibility.
Take arnica oil or similar, but you could also use olive oil off the bar in cafes if doing seated massages. (What a way to meet new people and be sooo popular!)
While walking, you could do hand and arm massage and acupressure on yourself, and stretches, like putting your stick across your shoulders and hanging your hands/forearms over it.
When you stop, to assist circulation, do the 'dead parrot' - lie on the side of the road, wherever, put your legs straight up, feet up against anything that may be available. (Also good to do lying in your bunk at night). Another version is to lie with legs bent at right angles, resting on something. (Good for back problems too).
Pamper your feet! Everyone aches, so a foot massage is a blessing after a day's walk; offer to trade massages with fellow pilgrims.
Intriguing idea, Sil, using olive oil from bars and restaurants for a quick massage. That's a good reason for ordering ensalada for a primero plato instead of macarrones. ;-)
Seriously, Sil's last sentence reinforces the idea that one need not be a hospitalero to 'give back'. Small services rendered to fellow pilgrims, whether it be a foot massage or acting as an interpreter for non-Spanish speakers, helps make the world a better place. I miss the camino...
What surprised me from walking day-in and day-out was that the bottoms of my feet got tired and they stayed that way. After a day's rest they were better. There was a fellow on the Camino who told me that the best way to refresh tired feet was to soak them in hot water with salt. But I never got organized enough to try it out. I just massaged them in bed before sleeping with this relaxing foot cream they sell in the pharmacies in Spain.
I had walked a total of 300kms at home in one month preparing for the Camino without this condition.
I think walking for long sections on rocky trail contributed to them becoming tender. Because I remembering doing one day 24kms and
about 10kms of it had round river rocks. Just about all of us who walked in to the hostel limped in. I keep my leg elevated and the next day I was ok but I did lean more on my walking poles that day.
Elevation is really helpful. Lie on the bunk and put the feet high up against the wall for 20 minutes on arrival at the refugio. After a long day it can hurt a bit :shock: as the excess fluids drain out of the tissues, but that means its working. Also dipping feet and lower legs in cold water for as long as you can is good for reducing inflammation.
Warm (not hot) water with a big handful of salt is good for blisters or cracks in the feet, doesn't sting if you get the strength right (should taste like tears). Hot water might feel nice but it isn't a good idea: makes inflammation worse.
The first few days we walked my hubby's feet were sore ... he said they felt bruised underneath. At one of the albergue's they suggested he soak them in cold water with 2 handfuls fo salt and a spoon of vinegar which he did. Said they felt much better.
Most albergues have some kind of soaking container oft used for this purpose. At the Peaceable we have two sizes, and in season we have fresh herbs purpose-grown for your tootsies!
Another good thing to do is just elevate your feet overnight. Brush the trail dust off the bottom of your backpack and put it on the end of your bunk. Sleep with your feet elevated. Even if you roll onto your side, it´s good practice.
not too sure about how good all of these treatments are since we don't really have a controlled experiment and we're certainly likely to have a placebo effect
I always found that walking another 20K in the afternoon meant that there was no need for any treatment in the evenings apart from lots of rest
one point that doesn't get mentioned enough in my opinion is the danger of walking too much on the same surface (e.g. hard tarmac roads) - when there is typically softer ground on the edge of the road - so my advice is to vary the type of surfaces that you walk on during the course of the camino
Yay that's a cool picture!!
Someone was asking about salt. You don't need to carry it as every village shop sells it. Go halves on a kilo with someone (about a euro). Most refuges have bowls knocking about somewhere. Salt is your friend, kills infection without nasty chemicals.