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It Is Normal For Feet and Knees to Become Sore

  • Thread starter Deleted member 67185
  • Start date
D

Deleted member 67185

Guest
The purpose of this post is not to act as a guideline to diagnose injuries or abnormalities. It is to help those new to long distance walking to appreciate the fact that feet and knees, like any other part of the body, can have normal responses of discomfort when suddenly being tasked to work at higher than normal levels of exertion.

Remember how sore you became during times that when you first started a new physical adventure? Whether starting a fitness program, physical labor in the yard, or starting a new recreational hobby like bicycle riding, chances are that by the next morning, your muscles felt sore and tender and it was a bit difficult to get moving. :)

The same holds true with feet and knees. When one first starts to do extended walking, hiking, fitness training, etc., feet can become tender and knees feel sore. If there is uphill and downhill walking, the effects can be even more pronounced.

This can sometimes cause alarm; and when it does occur, can make it difficult to gauge whether the discomfort one feels is within normal limits, or is the beginning of an injury.

Feet and knees are complicated structures and full of reasons why increases in activity takes some getting used to.

Each of your feet and ankles contain:
  • 26 bones (about 1/4 of all the bones in the body)
  • 33 joints
  • Over 100 muscles, tendons, and ligaments.
    • The tendons are a fibrous tissues that connect muscles to bones; the ligaments are fibrous tissues that connect bones to other bones.
Each knee has:
  • 2 main joints
  • 4 bones around the knee
  • 6 ligaments
  • tendons from 4 major muscles
  • A variety of cartilage, bursae, meniscus, and other goodies
Most of the time, it is the level of severity of symptoms which is used to differentiate normal from abnormal. For instance, the pain grows more severe or starts out as intense and sharp; or a small amount of swelling continues to rapidly increase; or there is discoloration at the site of the discomfort. But to add to the concern and confusion, it can also be normal for those brand new aches in the feet and knees to require a bit of rest for a day or so in order to help relieve the discomfort.

When I first start getting back into shape for backpacking after taking a break during late winter, I do daily hikes into steep and high foothills to the Cascade Mountains. Trails and paths may be anywhere from 8 percent to over 30 percent, and elevation gain and loss can be as high as 3300 feet/1006 meters within a 2.5 to 5 hour period.

And I always seem to forget when I first start, that it takes time for my feet and knees to adjust. And they DO adjust. It just takes a bit of time.

The day after the first day hike, my knees let me know that they are sore from the sudden activity, and that they do not like what I am doing. So, after the hikes I will Ice and Rest the knees for a period of time while reading or doing stuff like this post, or even working at my consulting job. Sometimes I find it beneficial to take the recommended dosage of ibuprofen to help with tissue swelling rather than any discomfort, but the main post-exercise therapy is Ice and Rest.

For the first 7 to 10 days on my training hikes, I tend to go slower, adjust my pace and stride to minimize how hard my foot impacts the ground on downhills, and if my knees start to bark too much, I will simply stop for a little bit and give them a rest.

This also helps with the period of adjustment as my feet structures strengthen from the increased activity.

Anyway, I just wanted to provide some encouragement to those who are doing Camino for the first time that, yes, knees and feet can and do adapt, as long as everything else is equal; like good footwear and commonsense :)

Also if you do have any suspicion or concern that there might be an injury, get it checked out by a medical professional. Do not be embarrassed that your symptoms might end up NOT being an injury. . . that's why the medics get paid to do what they do, to figure that stuff out.
 
Last edited by a moderator:

C clearly

Moderator
Staff member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances (2012, 2014, 2015, 2016), VDLP (2017), Mozarabe (2018), Vasco/Bayona (2019)
it is always better to do some of that 'adaptation', if not most of it, in training beforehand.
That is a very good way to describe what I think is the main purpose of training for the camino, at least for me. It is not really to increase my cardiovascular fitness or build up bigger muscles.
 
Camino(s) past & future
Us:Camino Frances, 2015 Me:Catalan/Aragonese, 2019
Remember how sore you became during times that when you first started a new physical adventure? Whether starting a fitness program, physical labor in the yard, or starting a new recreational hobby like bicycle riding, chances are that by the next morning, your muscles felt sore and tender and it was a bit difficult to get moving. :)
Or remember your first physical training session in the military? :mad:

Serously, thank you Dave for once again spending time to save us pain.
 
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances (Aug 1, 2019)
I'll be starting my first Camino with mildish (doesn't hurt til ~ 15-20K) posterior tibial tendonitis. Foot doc said the same thing: Ice and Rest (= don't walk past what hurts). I asked if ice not available, would soaking in a river or canal work? She said yes and a Camino walking friend used cold cans of soda on her knee tendonitis. FYI.
 
D

Deleted member 67185

Guest
Or remember your first physical training session in the military? :mad:

Serously, thank you Dave for once again spending time to save us pain.

LOL!! Oh, the memories.

My experience was quite different from my fellow training platoon members. When I entered Basic in September, I had just completed a two week thru hike of Washington State. Just prior to that, I had acted as a mule-porter-gopher for three weeks on Mt McKinley for a USGS survey team. I and my best friend, Dan, were constantly hauling 70 pound loads back and forth between 10,000 and 16,000 feet.

I actually had to do extra running when the training day ended to keep in shape. One of the D.I.s found me doing this one evening, and made me do a gazillion push ups for not finding the P.T tough enough. 😱
 
Camino(s) past & future
(2015) Frances
(2018) Portuguese
(2019) VdP Seville to Salamanca
(2020) VdP Salamanca to Santiago
Dave, great post as always with very good advice. When I’m headed for a Camino, I also try to do 3 days of distance (say 9, 15, and 17 miles). Ideally do that a couple of times. Even though it’s flat where I live, the distance sets me up fairly well. That said, I didn’t do that this time (on the VDLP) and my feet reminded me last week. Or maybe, it’s just turning 70 that makes things go south.
 
Camino(s) past & future
Us:Camino Frances, 2015 Me:Catalan/Aragonese, 2019
One of the D.I.s found me doing this one evening, and made me do a gazillion push ups for not finding the P.T tough enough.
In boot camp don't be the nail sticking up or you'll get hammered down.

First day of physical training I was late (I had a reason). Got into formation where everyone was already doing jumping jacks (side straddle hops to some people). Then everyone stopped suddenly except me. The instructor then said "Someone wants to do 39. Let's all do 39. This time I'll let you count." We ended up doing try 46 correctly. They started at 25. So about 700+ (some doing a few more :mad:). Then we moved on to what was supposed to be 15 pushups. Though that torture was done differently it was worse.
 
Last edited:

Ozrob

Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino del Nord
The purpose of this post is not to act as a guideline to diagnose injuries or abnormalities. It is to help those new to long distance walking to appreciate the fact that feet and knees, like any other part of the body, can have normal responses of discomfort when suddenly being tasked to work at higher than normal levels of exertion.

Remember how sore you became during times that when you first started a new physical adventure? Whether starting a fitness program, physical labor in the yard, or starting a new recreational hobby like bicycle riding, chances are that by the next morning, your muscles felt sore and tender and it was a bit difficult to get moving. :)

The same holds true with feet and knees. When one first starts to do extended walking, hiking, fitness training, etc., feet can become tender and knees feel sore. If there is uphill and downhill walking, the effects can be even more pronounced.

This can sometimes cause alarm; and when it does occur, can make it difficult to gauge whether the discomfort one feels is within normal limits, or is the beginning of an injury.

Feet and knees are complicated structures and full of reasons why increases in activity takes some getting used to.

Each of your feet and ankles contain:
  • 26 bones (about 1/4 of all the bones in the body)
  • 33 joints
  • Over 100 muscles, tendons, and ligaments.
    • The tendons are a fibrous tissues that connect muscles to bones; the ligaments are fibrous tissues that connect bones to other bones.
Each knee has:
  • 2 main joints
  • 4 bones around the knee
  • 6 ligaments
  • tendons from 4 major muscles
  • A variety of cartilage, bursae, meniscus, and other goodies
Most of the time, it is the level of severity of symptoms which is used to differentiate normal from abnormal. For instance, the pain grows more severe or starts out as intense and sharp; or a small amount of swelling continues to rapidly increase; or there is discoloration at the site of the discomfort. But to add to the concern and confusion, it can also be normal for those brand new aches in the feet and knees to require a bit of rest for a day or so in order to help relieve the discomfort.

When I first start getting back into shape for backpacking after taking a break during late winter, I do daily hikes into steep and high foothills to the Cascade Mountains. Trails and paths may be anywhere from 8 percent to over 30 percent, and elevation gain and loss can be as high as 3300 feet/1006 meters within a 2.5 to 5 hour period.

And I always seem to forget when I first start, that it takes time for my feet and knees to adjust. And they DO adjust. It just takes a bit of time.

The day after the first day hike, my knees let me know that they are sore from the sudden activity, and that they do not like what I am doing. So, after the hikes I will Ice and Rest the knees for a period of time while reading or doing stuff like this post, or even working at my consulting job. Sometimes I find it beneficial to take the recommended dosage of ibuprofen to help with tissue swelling rather than any discomfort, but the main post-exercise therapy is Ice and Rest.

For the first 7 to 10 days on my training hikes, I tend to go slower, adjust my pace and stride to minimize how hard my foot impacts the ground on downhills, and if my knees start to bark too much, I will simply stop for a little bit and give them a rest.

This also helps with the period of adjustment as my feet structures strengthen from the increased activity.

Anyway, I just wanted to provide some encouragement to those who are doing Camino for the first time that, yes, knees and feet can and do adapt, as long as everything else is equal; like good footwear and commonsense :)

Also if you do have any suspicion or concern that there might be an injury, get it checked out by a medical professional. Do not be embarrassed that your symptoms might end up NOT being an injury. . . that's why the medics get paid to do what they do, to figure that stuff out.
Thank you. Just what I needed day two of Norte 😊
 
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances (2008) Le Puy to SJPP (2010) Camino Primitivo (2010)
VLP (2013) Norte (2016/17)
The purpose of this post is not to act as a guideline to diagnose injuries or abnormalities. It is to help those new to long distance walking to appreciate the fact that feet and knees, like any other part of the body, can have normal responses of discomfort when suddenly being tasked to work at higher than normal levels of exertion.

Remember how sore you became during times that when you first started a new physical adventure? Whether starting a fitness program, physical labor in the yard, or starting a new recreational hobby like bicycle riding, chances are that by the next morning, your muscles felt sore and tender and it was a bit difficult to get moving. :)

The same holds true with feet and knees. When one first starts to do extended walking, hiking, fitness training, etc., feet can become tender and knees feel sore. If there is uphill and downhill walking, the effects can be even more pronounced.

This can sometimes cause alarm; and when it does occur, can make it difficult to gauge whether the discomfort one feels is within normal limits, or is the beginning of an injury.

Feet and knees are complicated structures and full of reasons why increases in activity takes some getting used to.

Each of your feet and ankles contain:
  • 26 bones (about 1/4 of all the bones in the body)
  • 33 joints
  • Over 100 muscles, tendons, and ligaments.
    • The tendons are a fibrous tissues that connect muscles to bones; the ligaments are fibrous tissues that connect bones to other bones.
Each knee has:
  • 2 main joints
  • 4 bones around the knee
  • 6 ligaments
  • tendons from 4 major muscles
  • A variety of cartilage, bursae, meniscus, and other goodies
Most of the time, it is the level of severity of symptoms which is used to differentiate normal from abnormal. For instance, the pain grows more severe or starts out as intense and sharp; or a small amount of swelling continues to rapidly increase; or there is discoloration at the site of the discomfort. But to add to the concern and confusion, it can also be normal for those brand new aches in the feet and knees to require a bit of rest for a day or so in order to help relieve the discomfort.

When I first start getting back into shape for backpacking after taking a break during late winter, I do daily hikes into steep and high foothills to the Cascade Mountains. Trails and paths may be anywhere from 8 percent to over 30 percent, and elevation gain and loss can be as high as 3300 feet/1006 meters within a 2.5 to 5 hour period.

And I always seem to forget when I first start, that it takes time for my feet and knees to adjust. And they DO adjust. It just takes a bit of time.

The day after the first day hike, my knees let me know that they are sore from the sudden activity, and that they do not like what I am doing. So, after the hikes I will Ice and Rest the knees for a period of time while reading or doing stuff like this post, or even working at my consulting job. Sometimes I find it beneficial to take the recommended dosage of ibuprofen to help with tissue swelling rather than any discomfort, but the main post-exercise therapy is Ice and Rest.

For the first 7 to 10 days on my training hikes, I tend to go slower, adjust my pace and stride to minimize how hard my foot impacts the ground on downhills, and if my knees start to bark too much, I will simply stop for a little bit and give them a rest.

This also helps with the period of adjustment as my feet structures strengthen from the increased activity.

Anyway, I just wanted to provide some encouragement to those who are doing Camino for the first time that, yes, knees and feet can and do adapt, as long as everything else is equal; like good footwear and commonsense :)

Also if you do have any suspicion or concern that there might be an injury, get it checked out by a medical professional. Do not be embarrassed that your symptoms might end up NOT being an injury. . . that's why the medics get paid to do what they do, to figure that stuff out.
Thanks so much Dave for your words of wisdom. I have memories of tendonitis on my last 2 Caminos & will take your advice to heart as I begin again from Lisbon in June. Your advice is greatly appreciated.
 

NorthernLight

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Le Puy to Santiago via the Frances 2012-2013. EPW2015
Aragonese & Frances 2016
Burgos to Muxia 2017
I'll be starting my first Camino with mildish (doesn't hurt til ~ 15-20K) posterior tibial tendonitis. Foot doc said the same thing: Ice and Rest (= don't walk past what hurts). I asked if ice not available, would soaking in a river or canal work? She said yes and a Camino walking friend used cold cans of soda on her knee tendonitis. FYI.
Walk into almost any bar with a zip lock bag and they will know what you need.
 

Lance Chambers

Lance Chambers
Camino(s) past & future
Sarria (2015), SJPdP (2016), Burgos (2017), SJPdP (2018), Burgos (2019), SJPdP (2020?).
I tend to get problems with my right knee so I take a constriction sleeve with me. The very first hint of pain and it's on covering my knee and about 6 ins above and below the knee. Never failed to sort the problem out.
 

CAJohn

Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances Sept/Oct 2019
I am just doing my training walks now. I walk about 10 miles per day on my days off from work. That is getting easier and easier. By that, I mean that my feet feel better and better at the end. Cardio wise it was never that big a deal. I do feel a bit like a one trick pony though. Any time something starts to hurt, I just slow down even more and it usually resolves quickly.
 

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