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Policeman’s Heel / Foot Pain

caminobbz2021

New Member
Year of past OR future Camino
2021
Hi there! I have a very swollen heel by my Achilles’ tendon, it gets more swollen as the day goes on but only hurts at the beginning of the day / after a break. I think this is called Policeman’s heel. All online advice says best way to heal is Resting, elevating and icing the heel. Does anyone have any tips for helping speed up recovery time whilst continuing to walk without having to stop walking for a week or so while it heals? Thanks!
 
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Raggy

Veteran Member
Year of past OR future Camino
2021
I'm not familiar with the term policeman's heel, but Google tells me that it's used to describe plantar fasciitis, which I have experienced as a pain on the bottom of the foot - not the achilles tendon.

My recommendation is to see a podiatrist who can assess the probable causes of the problem and make recommendations. They might recommend inserts in your footwear, or specific stretches, or just rest. Heel lifts are often recommended to relieve achilles tendonitis ... but don't hunt and peck for a solution. See a specialist who can tell you what's going on.

Although the instruction to rest may be unwelcome, that's sometimes what you have to do. If you re-injure yourself by resuming the activity that caused the problem in the first place you may delay your recovery.
 

C clearly

Moderator
Staff member
Year of past OR future Camino
2021
continuing to walk without having to stop walking for a week or so while it heals?
Also keep in mind that some conditions will require more than a week or so to heal. When you are on the Camino, you might make compromises in this, but when you are at home, it would be a shame not to take the necessary time to heal it properly.

I agree with @Raggy that getting a proper diagnosis is the key starting point.

You'll find lots of discussion of plantar fasciitis here on the forum. Use the Search function in the upper right. (I prefer to get the results in date order, so I used the Advanced Search and got these.)
 
Year of past OR future Camino
2012
You need a diagnosis amigo and from someone who has carried out a proper triage and examination.

The symptoms you describe do not equate with Policeman's Heel or Plantar Fasciitis. You've not told us how far you are walking and / or where but if this is occurring in your normal urban walking environment and not in hard-core training then Dr Tinc has no opinion whatsoever.

I notice your Profile says you're from Madrid but your IP addresses are mostly Bristol, UK. So, where does it hurt?
 

henrythedog

Loved and fed by David
Year of past OR future Camino
Frances 2017, 2018, 2019, Ingles 2018, (Madrid 2019 partial - retired hurt!) (more planned)
Hi there! I have a very swollen heel by my Achilles’ tendon, it gets more swollen as the day goes on but only hurts at the beginning of the day / after a break. I think this is called Policeman’s heel. All online advice says best way to heal is Resting, elevating and icing the heel. Does anyone have any tips for helping speed up recovery time whilst continuing to walk without having to stop walking for a week or so while it heals? Thanks!
It does sound to me like Plantar Fasciitis - but my qualifications are in economics and (at a very junior level) waging war.

You need a podiatrist, not some random bloke on the internet.
 
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Astropana

New Member
Year of past OR future Camino
Camino Francés (2021)
A proper diagnosis by a podiatrist is best. In the meantime, to ice the heel, I’ve found that submerging it in a basin of ice and water is more effective than an ice pack.
 

SioCamino

Active Member
Year of past OR future Camino
CF 2015, CPo 2016, VDLP[Sev-Các] 2017, VDLP[Các-Sal] 2018
This sounds very like my experience several years back - after walking too far and too fast on (i think) day 3 of my camino, I developed a very sore swelling on my upper ankle/achilles tendon. It forced me to take a few very short days of walking, resting and icing my ankle each afternoon. I really thought i would have to give up... My camino was saved on the advice of another peregrina who recommended getting some gel heel inserts for my shoes - they worked a miracle for me, allowing me to continue and finish my 3 week camino.
I've never had that problem since, i still use those inserts (well I've bought new ones!!!) in my Camino shoes. I suspect that perhaps the issue is linked to sizing up my camino shoes (i don't know but I don't have the same issue with my hiking boots i use for one day hikes here in Ireland).

Hope this helps, i would obviously agree with the advice of seeing a specialist but if you are on the Camino that might not be possible.

P. S. The gel inserts were bought in a farmacia and most of those on the Camino route have lots of foot related items in stock!!
 

David Tallan

Veteran Member
Year of past OR future Camino
1989
It sounds like what I experienced shortly before and for the first week or so of my 2016 Camino. As people have said above, we can only speak from our individual experience and our comments are no replacement for proper, qualified medical advice.

For me, I had much the same symptoms, pain in the heel region that I experienced at the start of the day or after a rest. It went away after a bit of walking and the problem as a whole disappeared after my knee problems took centre stage, not a remedy I would recommend.
 

caminobbz2021

New Member
Year of past OR future Camino
2021
Amazing thanks all for the tips re gel sole inserts! I will go and buy some first thing tomorrow! Appreciate the tips
 
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ChipFrazier

New Member
Year of past OR future Camino
Frances (2019), Portuguese (2019)
I second the advice above (medical evaluation, gel inserts, ice, elevation, rest), and would add that a high performance shoe store may also be in order after your trip to the podiatrist . Hopefully, the podiatrist can identify the source of your problem. Then, a properly designed and fitted shoe may finally cure your discomfort.
 

Wendy Werneth

Pilgrim
Year of past OR future Camino
2020
A proper diagnosis by a podiatrist is best. In the meantime, to ice the heel, I’ve found that submerging it in a basin of ice and water is more effective than an ice pack.
Yes, I've suffered from plantar fascitis on all five of my caminos, and so I've started carrying a foldable basin that I can use as a foot bath. I fill it up everytime I pass a public fountain, and it definitely helps.
 

Aysen Mustafa

Active Member
Year of past OR future Camino
2018
I wore Merrell's for the wide toe box; however, I don't think there was enough sole support. My whole foot ached each morning and even when I finished first thing in the morning the soles of my foot hurt on hitting the ground. I agree some form of gel soles is what I will be adding to my shoes on the next Camino walk.
 

Wendy Werneth

Pilgrim
Year of past OR future Camino
2020
I wore Merrell's for the wide toe box; however, I don't think there was enough sole support. My whole foot ached each morning and even when I finished first thing in the morning the soles of my foot hurt on hitting the ground. I agree some form of gel soles is what I will be adding to my shoes on the next Camino walk.
I also wore Merrell's on my first Camino, and I'm convinced that's what caused my plantar fascitis. I've tried gel soles and many other things to get rid of it, but nothing has really worked, at least not permanently.

The pain management solutions that have worked best for me are cold foot baths and some exercises I learned from the MobilityMastery YouTube channel.

The type of surface I'm walking on also makes a huge difference, so I try my best to avoid asphalt, walking on the shoulder of the road instead if at all possible.
 

Aysen Mustafa

Active Member
Year of past OR future Camino
2018
Cold foot baths and massage were helpful. I have foot stretches that help stretch the calves as well which I will be doing next time.
 
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