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Nerve damage due to waist strap too tight

Bham2001

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
Fall 2014
#1
Be careful not to cinch your pack's waist strap too tight. I am tall and thin with bony hips. I kept my backpack's waist belt tight to carry the weight there rather than on my shoulders. (My pack weighed somewhere between 15-20 pounds (7-9 kg), and I weigh 130 lb.) In Leon, I began to notice tingling in skin on outside rt. thigh. Over time, it became a burning sensation, painful, numb, tingling, etc. on and off, even sometimes when I wasn't wearing my pack. I walked in Sept. 2014. It's now six months later and I still have a numb section on my thigh. My doctor says it could be permanent, likely due toMeralgia paraesthetica from a pinched nerve in the front of my pelvic area. Not a big deal, but a bit disconcerting.http://www.google.com/url?sa=t&rct=j&q=&esrc=s&source=web&cd=4&ved=0CD0QFjAD&url=http%3A%2F%2Fen.wikipedia.org%2Fwiki%2FMeralgia_paraesthetica&ei=gzYQVYONEZSNoQSUuICABw&usg=AFQjCNEcK9u29ysdwkoc2dRdLTbQtdm2eQ&bvm=bv.88528373,d.cGU
 

Davey Boyd

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Seven Compostelas in Three years and counting......
#3
Thank you for pointing this out. I'm also very thin and wondered about this as I have to really tighten my waistband to get my pack to sit properly. Hope it the effects wears off for you soon

Davey
 
Camino(s) past & future
2013, 2017 Camino Frances SJPP-Santiago
2015 St. Olav's Way Oslo-Trondheim
2017 VdlP Seville-Merida
#4
I too thank you for posting. Never heard of this before but am not a bit surprised. My jeans don't seem to wear out and I still wear some hip-riders purchased a long time ago. As my shape has changed in the last couple of decades, fastening them is an exercise in itself. The thought has entered my mind that I might be crushing something not meant to be so constrained and you have confirmed that. I think I'd better retire them before becoming eligible to post as you did. Learning from experience is good, but learning from someone else's experience is even better, especially if it is unpleasant knowledge and undesirable to learn first hand.
 
Camino(s) past & future
April 1,2015
#5
Be careful not to cinch your pack's waist strap too tight. I am tall and thin with bony hips. I kept my backpack's waist belt tight to carry the weight there rather than on my shoulders. (My pack weighed somewhere between 15-20 pounds (7-9 kg), and I weigh 130 lb.) In Leon, I began to notice tingling in skin on outside rt. thigh. Over time, it became a burning sensation, painful, numb, tingling, etc. on and off, even sometimes when I wasn't wearing my pack. I walked in Sept. 2014. It's now six months later and I still have a numb section on my thigh. My doctor says it could be permanent, likely due toMeralgia paraesthetica from a pinched nerve in the front of my pelvic area. Not a big deal, but a bit disconcerting.
Hello, I seem to have the same feeling on my upper right thigh and groin. I also feel it during sleep when it is is painful and burning. Walking and sitting makes it worse. Did you have an X-ray or just a check up?
 

jirit

Moderator
Staff member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances 2007,
Via Francigena Italy, 2008,
Jakobsweg Austria 2010,
Camino Frances 2011,
Le Puy to Lourdes 2012,
Via de la Plata 2013,
Future:
Ökumenischer (Via Regia), Germany,
Lycian Way, Turkey
#6
It is also known as backpackers induced paresthesias

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/14518626

http://www.wemjournal.org/article/S1080-6032(03)70027-1/abstract?cc=y

I experienced the same thing when I first did the camino back in 2007. During this walk I stopped wearing the waist belt and this helped stop the pain.

I have not suffered from it since, and when I feel it about to happen I simply loosen or undo the belt. It only happens when I am hiking the camino and wearing the belt too tight. Generally it is problem for people that are both thin in the hips but have a belly (the additional belly fat puts pressure on the nerve in question).
 
Last edited:

smj6

Siempre hay que ver el positivo
Camino(s) past & future
Oct/Nov 2016 (Via Podensis/ Frances)
Oct 2018 (Via Francigena stage)
#7
Thank you for pointing this out. I'm also very thin and wondered about this as I have to really tighten my waistband to get my pack to sit properly. Hope it the effects wears off for you soon
Davey
So, do I understand that my 'chubbiness' might have an upside for once!!
Suzanne :)
 
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Portugues (2018?)
Camino Frances
(April 17, - May, 15, 2015)
#8
So, do I understand that my 'chubbiness' might have an upside for once!!
I also experienced meralgia paraesthetica during my camino and the numbness still persists now that I am home. "Chubbiness" is a contributing factor in getting Meralgia Paraesthetica as is wearing a heavy tool belt or backpack around your hips and I'm not thin. Ultimately I ended up sending my pack ahead daily so that I could continue walking. In my case I had the numbness first, then sensitivity to anything touching my leg which felt like my leg was either burning hot or burning cold, like touching ice and ultimately the pain of 10,000 bee stings which seemed to occur only under extreme exertion. The numbness and pain is really weird as it is only on the surface of your skin and even though you feel extreme hot or cold your thigh looks and feels normal to the touch. This is much different feeling than muscle soreness which is inside your leg. While walking my camino I thought I was getting shingles but a Google search on thigh numbness and several discussions with pharmacists pointed me to meralgia paraesthetica. Other than ibuprofen there seemed to be nothing the Pharmacist had to help, and ibuprofen didn't help much. Now that I am home from my camino I'm hoping it will get better but my right outer thigh is always numb.

I think I need to go on a diet. :(

My pack weighed ~15 pounds so really not heavy but I was carrying the weight on my hips with the hip belt cinched up.

I don't think this is that common but keeping your pack light and using as little pressure as possible on the hip belt are important to avoid meralgia paraesthetica.
Laura
 

LauraK

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Leon-Santiago (2004) Roncesvalles-Leon (2006) Camino Frances (2012) Kumano Kodo-Japan (2014) Camino Sanabres/Salamanca-Santiago (March 2015) Camino Del Salvador and Camino Primativo (Oct 2015)
#9
Also watch tying your shoes too tight. I tied my Lowa boots tight to avoid slipping in them on downhill stretches during my winter Camino in 2012. I started experiencing shooting pains on the top of my right foot that was relieved by re-tying my shoe several times a day...it got so bad after Burgos that I finally put a large thick cushioned moleskin on the top of my foot which helped enough for me to finish my pilgrimage. However, after three years I still have numbness/tingling sensation from my upper foot to my second toe. Podiatrist says it is probably nerve damage. What we won't do to finish our walks:)...
 

Artizar

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Primitivo, Sept/Oct 2015
#11
I have been practicing for the Camino Primitivo in September and have had this experience!! I am trying to lose some weight to help with it. I have the numbness and I feel fine NOW, but I worry what it will be like on the Camino. All the doctors (3) and nurses (1) I have seen say it shouldn't keep me from walking. My pack is less than 10% my body weight at about 18 lbs.
 

efdoucette

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
2011 Camino Frances
2012 Porto
2013 Le Puy
2014 Francigena
2015 - 2018 More ...
#12
I have also experienced this on all of my 4 Caminos. It is well known in the carpentry world as a carpenter's belt can create the same effect.
As mentioned it is a burning sensation on the outside thigh area and even hurts to touch, like a bad sunburn. After my second walk is when I visited my doctor to discover the diagnosis. That year it lasted 2 months after my walk and it was quite bothersome, interrupted sleep ...
I will not give up Caminos and am too stubborn to use a luggage transfer so my game plan now is I loosen the waist belt and let the shoulders carry more weight, adjusting back and forth during the day. And, to carry less weight. It seems to be working, hoping for the best.
 

zzotte

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
2012 Camino Frances, 2014 Lourdes to SDC, 2016 Camino del Norte
#13
With all do respect but you did not notice a little uncomfortable while walking?

Zzotte
 

efdoucette

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
2011 Camino Frances
2012 Porto
2013 Le Puy
2014 Francigena
2015 - 2018 More ...
#14
With all do respect but you did not notice a little uncomfortable while walking?

Zzotte
Yes, absolutely.

I make adjustments while walking - loosen belt, take more weight on my shoulders, reduce the weight in backpack. The alternative of not walking Caminos is not an option, or at least not a good option. But I will reassess every year. I also have genetic induced very high cholesterol that my walking helps control. So, damn if you do, damn if you don't, eh.

All the best,
Eric
 

zzotte

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
2012 Camino Frances, 2014 Lourdes to SDC, 2016 Camino del Norte
#15
Yes, absolutely.

I make adjustments while walking - loosen belt, take more weight on my shoulders, reduce the weight in backpack. The alternative of not walking Caminos is not an option, or at least not a good option. But I will reassess every year. I also have genetic induced very high cholesterol that my walking helps control. So, damn if you do, damn if you don't, eh.

All the best,
Eric
You maybe a perfect candidate for a cart I saw a Swedish guy pulling :)

Zzotte
 

zzotte

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
2012 Camino Frances, 2014 Lourdes to SDC, 2016 Camino del Norte
#17
Still going to need a Swedish to pull the cart hahaha
 
Camino(s) past & future
Sarria to Santiago - starting April 15, 2018
#18
What a relief to read this post.

I just returned from the "short" (117 k) Camino and three days later I still have the tingling, burning, numb thighs. I googled the symptoms and came up with meralgia paraesthetica. I hope with some rest and perhaps some massage this will pass.

I had never backpacked before and I borrowed a backpack for our five days of walking. My theory for my next Camino (yes, NEXT CAMINO - it's like childbirth - I was exausted, and in pain, but as soon as I walked into Santiago de Compostela, I was planning my next Camino!!) - I will get a slightly longer pack so that it "sits" on my hips instead of cinced tightly around my somewhat chubby belly. I will consult with a reputable backpack store for recommendations/fitting and give it a good test drive before returning to Spain. Luckily, I did test drive my boots before leaving. I walked 2 to 3 hours, 3 to 4 days a week and then made myself keep my boots on for the rest of the day.

By the way, my daughter and I had an awesome experience. I am 63 and she is 28. I had planned 24k, 24k, then 15k to Melide for a "rest day" and in the end (bizarrely at my suggestion), we did the 29k to Arzua to avoid starting a day going up hill for 3k. The weather was perfect. We arrived a week after the snow storm. There were just enough pilgrims around to have company, but certainly no crowds at all.

A friend had recommended an extra day in Satiago and that was excellent advice. We even lucked out and got to experience the botafumeiro at the 7:30 Pilgrims' Mass. Apparently it is quite rare these days.

What an amazing experience.
Buen Camino

Mary (Vancouver, Canada)
 
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