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Prevention & Treatment of Aching Feet

Peter Clifton

Sore Feet Pete
Past OR future Camino
Camino Frances May 2016
In preparation for my first Camino I've been walking 2okm, at the completition of which I end up with very painful, aching feet. I've consulted my GP, a massage therapist and a podiatrist, whose advice I've followed and have seen only minor improvement. I've tried different boots, different shoes, wear hiking socks, use trekking poles, rest regularly, air my feet at rest stops, and in general have endeavoured to follow all the advice I've been able to access.
My hope was to walk about 25km each day, however I've resigned myself to the fact that, that won't be possible, and reconciled myself that, that is just the way it is, and that I'll simply have to tolerate aching feet.

I've not had any problems with blisters, but was hoping someone might be able to suggest something to assist with the preventation and/or treatment of aching feet.

Many thanks,
Sore Feet Pete
 
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BShea

Active Member
Past OR future Camino
(9/2013) Le Puy
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Have you tried Superfeet insoles?
 

C clearly

Moderator
Staff member
Past OR future Camino
Most years since 2012. Hoping now for 2022.
I am just starting training again after 2 months off, to let a stress fracture heal, so my feet are sore after 10 km these days. It is hard to give advice, but I'll ask some questions that might give some clues...
How long have you been walking 20-km days, did you work up to it, and what surfaces are you walking on, and what advice were you given by the podiatrist?
 

Peter Clifton

Sore Feet Pete
Past OR future Camino
Camino Frances May 2016
I am just starting training again after 2 months off, to let a stress fracture heal, so my feet are sore after 10 km these days. It is hard to give advice, but I'll ask some questions that might give some clues...
How long have you been walking 20-km days, did you work up to it, and what surfaces are you walking on, and what advice were you given by the podiatrist?


I've been walking 20km once a week for the past month. A did a couple of smaller walks (4km) prior to this. I attend a Gym 3 times per week, so like to think that I'm reassonably fit and healthy. I primarily walk on bush tracks. The podiatrist suggested orthotics, which I now wear.
 
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C clearly

Moderator
Staff member
Past OR future Camino
Most years since 2012. Hoping now for 2022.
Maybe you should try to do more frequent but shorter walks. I would suggest walking 5 km daily for a week and then building up gradually. I walked 14 km yesterday and 10 km today, and if my feet are at all sore tomorrow morning I'll conclude that I've overdone it and I won't walk more than 5 tomorrow.
 

Ethel

Member
Past OR future Camino
September 2015
Maybe the orthotics are too stiff? This happened to me. I ended up getting Soles brand which suit my feet. Sometimes less expensive insoles work better. Maybe worth a try for you? Also, increasing from 4km to 20 km is quite a jump. Perhaps scale down and gradually increase kms. Sending you a Buen Camino and hoping you get this sorted out.
 

GettingThere

Veteran Member
Past OR future Camino
Roncesvalles-SdC Apr-Jun 2015
Roncesvalles-Sarria Sep-Oct 2017
C. Frances sections Apr-Jun 2019
Hi Peter, it sounds as though you may have increased too suddenly from short walks to 20km. It's important to build up gradually to give your feet time to adjust, and there are some injurious to the soft tissue which can occur if you do this too quickly.

I'm not sure what else your podiatrist suggested apart from orthotics. Hopefully some stretches and advice on training as a minimum. If not, try a different podiatrist. I don't know where you are, but here in NZ we have different types of podiatrist, and for this kind of thing I would go to a sports podiatrist. I imagine most places would have something similar, but you definitely want a podiatrist who specializes in dealing with sports injuries and not only orthotics. An established practice will often have a website giving some indication of specialties.

Other than that, I would definitely advise going back to short walks and slowly increasing, a couple of km each time. Ultimately it's whatever works for your body (and feet), so when you get to the Camino it will be important to walk distances that are comfortable for you and not to push yourself to do more than you can without pain. But a slow build up to longer distances should help.
 

BShea

Active Member
Past OR future Camino
(9/2013) Le Puy
(5/2015) CF
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(9/2017) Le Puy
(9/2019) RL Stevenson
Are you drinking enough water? Could be tendonitis?
 

Kanga

Moderator
Staff member
Past OR future Camino
Francés x 5, Le Puy x 2, Arles, Tours, Norte, Madrid, Via de la Plata, Portuguese, Primitivo
I agree that it is worth finding a sports podiatrist.
@Peter Clifton I too used to suffer from aching feet. I had "14km feet" - it was fine up until kilometre 14 but after that my feet would get sore. I also found that by the end of a camino my feet were numb and it took months before they were back to normal. I tried all kinds of remedies. A change from rigid boots to well padded but lightweight flexible runners happened early (due to even worse problems) and helped but was not a complete cure. The change occurred for me when my old hard orthotics were replaced by softer more pliable ones. Now I don't even wear those, as I find my Ecco sandals are fine without them.
My remedy will probably not be your remedy, but it is worth persisting. Keep trying different things - different orthotics, shoes with more bounce, gel inserts, sandals instead of shoes, stretching exercises, getting your pack carried to reduce weight, using trekking sticks.
 
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Anemone del Camino

Guest
Interesting how many of us were given stiff orthotics only to have to switch to softer ones. My Rx is to switch between both during the day, but Imhad to only wear the flexible ones for a full month before going back to 50-50. I also learnd yogo foot stretches that I still do every night when going to bed.
 

Peter Clifton

Sore Feet Pete
Past OR future Camino
Camino Frances May 2016
Maybe you should try to do more frequent but shorter walks. I would suggest walking 5 km daily for a week and then building up gradually. I walked 14 km yesterday and 10 km today, and if my feet are at all sore tomorrow morning I'll conclude that I've overdone it and I won't walk more than 5 tomorrow.
Thanks C clearly, will shorten my walks, and see if things improve.
 

Peter Clifton

Sore Feet Pete
Past OR future Camino
Camino Frances May 2016
Maybe the orthotics are too stiff? This happened to me. I ended up getting Soles brand which suit my feet. Sometimes less expensive insoles work better. Maybe worth a try for you? Also, increasing from 4km to 20 km is quite a jump. Perhaps scale down and gradually increase kms. Sending you a Buen Camino and hoping you get this sorted out.
Thanks, Ethel, the orthotics are certainly stiff. BShea suggested Superfeet so will investigate those or similar insoles.
Looking back I guess from 4 to 20km was quite a jump, so will scale down distances.
Many thanks
 

Peter Clifton

Sore Feet Pete
Past OR future Camino
Camino Frances May 2016
Hi Peter, it sounds as though you may have increased too suddenly from short walks to 20km. It's important to build up gradually to give your feet time to adjust, and there are some injurious to the soft tissue which can occur if you do this too quickly.

I'm not sure what else your podiatrist suggested apart from orthotics. Hopefully some stretches and advice on training as a minimum. If not, try a different podiatrist. I don't know where you are, but here in NZ we have different types of podiatrist, and for this kind of thing I would go to a sports podiatrist. I imagine most places would have something similar, but you definitely want a podiatrist who specializes in dealing with sports injuries and not only orthotics. An established practice will often have a website giving some indication of specialties.

Other than that, I would definitely advise going back to short walks and slowly increasing, a couple of km each time. Ultimately it's whatever works for your body (and feet), so when you get to the Camino it will be important to walk distances that are comfortable for you and not to push yourself to do more than you can without pain. But a slow build up to longer distances should help.
Hi GettingThere,
The clear message I'm getting from many, is that I haven't gradually increased my distances. So will scale back distances walked. I'm not sure if my podiatrist has any specialist training in sports, although I know she has completed some distance running events.
Many thanks
 
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Peter Clifton

Sore Feet Pete
Past OR future Camino
Camino Frances May 2016
I agree that it is worth finding a sports podiatrist.
@Peter Clifton I too used to suffer from aching feet. I had "14km feet" - it was fine up until kilometre 14 but after that my feet would get sore. I also found that by the end of a camino my feet were numb and it took months before they were back to normal. I tried all kinds of remedies. A change from rigid boots to well padded but lightweight flexible runners happened early (due to even worse problems) and helped but was not a complete cure. The change occurred for me when my old hard orthotics were replaced by softer more pliable ones. Now I don't even wear those, as I find my Ecco sandals are fine without them.
My remedy will probably not be your remedy, but it is worth persisting. Keep trying different things - different orthotics, shoes with more bounce, gel inserts, sandals instead of shoes, stretching exercises, getting your pack carried to reduce weight, using trekking sticks.
Thanks Kanga, yes will persist. At the moment I think I'll reduce my distances walked each day and invetsigate softer inserts.
 

Peter Clifton

Sore Feet Pete
Past OR future Camino
Camino Frances May 2016
Interesting how many of us were given stiff orthotics only to have to switch to softer ones. My Rx is to switch between both during the day, but Imhad to only wear the flexible ones for a full month before going back to 50-50. I also learnd yogo foot stretches that I still do every night when going to bed.
I will investigate softer orthotics. My current orthotics are quite stiff so will try somse softer ones. Thanks for your advice.
 

peregrina2000

Moderator
Staff member
I will investigate softer orthotics. My current orthotics are quite stiff so will try somse softer ones. Thanks for your advice.

Hi, Peter, You've gotten lots of great advice here already, but I will just add my two cents to Anemone's post on the orthotics. I am 100% convinced that no one should walk the Camino (or any other 800 km walk) with hard orthotics in their shoes. Think about it -- millions of footstrikes with a hard piece of plastic under your foot as it hits the ground is just a recipe for disaster. I learned that the hard way, but since my podiatrist ordered silicone orthotics for me I have not had a problem with my caminos, most of which have been 1000 km or more and with a fair amount of road walking. I am a total convert and proselytizer for silicone orthotics! Buen camino, Laurie
 

Robo

Veteran Member
Past OR future Camino
CF SJPdP to SdC
(May 2015)
CF Sarria to SdC
(May 2016)
CF SJPDP-SdC
(May 2018)
VdlP (2022?)
You sound like my son!
I believe I drink enough water - carried and drank 2lites over the 20km

Hard to say how much water is enough. But in hot weather, over hilly terrain and if you are carrying bit of extra weight, that might not be enough.

Some days I might have used 2 litres over that distance, some days 4.

The best test of hydration needs IMO is pee Colour! Plenty of Urine Colour charts on Google...

I was also taught many moons ago......If you have no pee'd in the last 4 hours, you are de hydrated....
 

C clearly

Moderator
Staff member
Past OR future Camino
Most years since 2012. Hoping now for 2022.
I am 100% convinced that no one should walk the Camino (or any other 800 km walk) with hard orthotics in their shoes.
stiff orthotics
What do you mean by hard or stiff orthotics? I recently got new orthotics presumably to correct some pronation issues and maybe help avoid another stress fracture. They are soft and flexible under the forefoot but the back two-thirds (arch and behind) are rigid although covered with some padding. I've only had them for 10 days but they are quite comfortable and my foot rolls well on it. Are these the hard ones you are thinking of? Maybe I should take my older ones as well - they are flexible along the whole length.
 
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Peter Clifton

Sore Feet Pete
Past OR future Camino
Camino Frances May 2016
Hi, Peter, You've gotten lots of great advice here already, but I will just add my two cents to Anemone's post on the orthotics. I am 100% convinced that no one should walk the Camino (or any other 800 km walk) with hard orthotics in their shoes. Think about it -- millions of footstrikes with a hard piece of plastic under your foot as it hits the ground is just a recipe for disaster. I learned that the hard way, but since my podiatrist ordered silicone orthotics for me I have not had a problem with my caminos, most of which have been 1000 km or more and with a fair amount of road walking. I am a total convert and proselytizer for silicone orthotics! Buen camino, Laurie
Hi peregrina2000,
I take your point about hard orthotics, it certainly appears that most walk with the softer orthotics, so will definitely be purchasing something more giving.
Walking shorter distances, and softer orthotics are remedies I hadn't considered.
Many thanks to yourself and others who have made these suggestions, my enthusiasm has been restored!
Peter
 

Tia Valeria

Veteran Member
Past OR future Camino
Pt Norte/Pmtvo 2010
C. Inglés 2011
C. Primitivo '12
Norte-C. de la Reina '13
C. do Mar-C. Inglés '15
I have bought Millet's liners for my boots. They have interchangeable supports for the arches and silicone heel pads so can be customised and also changed as the need arises. (Unisex although Men's are blue and Ladie's are pink) Most makes are sold as identical pairs, but few people have identical L & R feet. If you can buy the Millets ones then take your doctor's advice re their fit you might be able to solve the problem. Distance and weight carried especially on hard surfaces are not kind to the feet so softer/customisable insoles, low weight and short distances might be what you need.
 

JohnMcM

Veteran Member
Past OR future Camino
Some, and with luck, some more.
You sound like my son!
I believe I drink enough water - carried and drank 2lites over the 20km

Hello Peter,
Are you happy your body is getting enough fluid?

I ask only because that appears to be a bit less than I would expect, particularly if you are "bush" walking and carrying any weight other than the 2 kilos or so your water would weigh at the start.

Just a thought.

Buen Camino
 

Peter Clifton

Sore Feet Pete
Past OR future Camino
Camino Frances May 2016
I have bought Millet's liners for my boots. They have interchangeable supports for the arches and silicone heel pads so can be customised and also changed as the need arises. (Unisex although Men's are blue and Ladie's are pink) Most makes are sold as identical pairs, but few people have identical L & R feet. If you can buy the Millets ones then take your doctor's advice re their fit you might be able to solve the problem. Distance and weight carried especially on hard surfaces are not kind to the feet so softer/customisable insoles, low weight and short distances might be what you need.
Thanks Tia, yes it seems that softer insoles and short distances are likely remedies.
Will investigate, Millet's liners.
 

Peter Clifton

Sore Feet Pete
Past OR future Camino
Camino Frances May 2016
Hello Peter,
Are you happy your body is getting enough fluid?

I ask only because that appears to be a bit less than I would expect, particularly if you are "bush" walking and carrying any weight other than the 2 kilos or so your water would weigh at the start.

Just a thought.

Buen Camino
That's something I may need to consider. Others have suggested 2L is insufficient water for a 20km walk. Having said that, I drink when I feel thirsty and don't feel particularly dehydrated at the end of the walk. (But maybe my feet are "thirsty," they're certainly crying out for something!)
 
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Anemone del Camino

Guest
That's something I may need to consider. Others have suggested 2L is insufficient water for a 20km walk. Having said that, I drink when I feel thirsty and don't feel particularly dehydrated at the end of the walk. (But maybe my feet are "thirsty," they're certainly crying out for something!)
Drinking only when thirsty is often not enough. The colour of your urine will let you know if you are getting enough.,it should be clear. On the Norte last fall it was so very hot and no matter how much I drank I hardly urinated which was not a good thing.
 
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Anemone del Camino

Guest
What do you mean by hard or stiff orthotics? I recently got new orthotics presumably to correct some pronation issues and maybe help avoid another stress fracture. They are soft and flexible under the forefoot but the back two-thirds (arch and behind) are rigid although covered with some padding. I've only had them for 10 days but they are quite comfortable and my foot rolls well on it. Are these the hard ones you are thinking of? Maybe I should take my older ones as well - they are flexible along the whole length.
By hard or stiff models I mean the ones that you could alost use to put a nail in a wall mine are made of a tranparent plastic covered by a bit of softer material on top, and the bubble of some sort of foam I need in a particular area of my foot. From ypur description I think you are using the stiff ones. Google Vasily + Dananberg and you will see what my soft pair looks like. They are made of a stiff foam, but still foam, not hard plastic. Hope this helps.
 
D

Deleted member 3000

Guest
Pain medicine. I find ibuprofen works well. Stronger medicine probably takes a prescription. Plan to walk with sore feet, sorry to say; you may have to just gut it out! Take regular breaks. Massage your feet during your walk. After breaks you may have to walk slowly for a few hundred meters. At night, massage your feet and apply ice.

You are looking at a half-marathon a day for weeks on end after a long period of not walking much. It is not realistic to expect comfort. It is good that blisters are not a problem. However, anticipate that you might increase your discomfort level if you get them.

Animo. It isn't easy, but it is usually worth it! (And foot pain is my constant companion, so I know what you feel.)
 

Andreum

New Member
Past OR future Camino
Frances (2015)
Are you taking any breaks? i found that splitting my 20-25km up into three short walks with half hour breaks left my feet with no problems at all.
 

Tia Valeria

Veteran Member
Past OR future Camino
Pt Norte/Pmtvo 2010
C. Inglés 2011
C. Primitivo '12
Norte-C. de la Reina '13
C. do Mar-C. Inglés '15
Ibuprofen is OK if used as a gel, but it is only disguising possible damage. It could be that you are short of essential salts rather than simply fluid. We get cramp if short of salt and when my feet were sore I noticed that the drinking salts made it better. These are the type you buy for stomach upsets as rehydration salts, not the sports type. Diarolyte in the UK, Casen Suero in Spain. The former are easier as they make up 200-250ml, the latter make 1lt per sachet but actually cost less overall.
 
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pudgypilgrim

Active Member
Past OR future Camino
voie de tours 2015
but it is only disguising possible damage

This is often said here, but I'm always confused by it. NSAIDS like ibuprofen, aspirin, etc, reduce inflammation. How is that disguising damage rather than helping? Please explain this, since I never understand what you all mean when you say it, and a lot of folks here repeat this pretty often.
 

Walking Viking

New Member
Past OR future Camino
El Camino de Santiago del Norte (2015)
In preparation for my first Camino I've been walking 2okm, at the completition of which I end up with very painful, aching feet. I've consulted my GP, a massage therapist and a podiatrist, whose advice I've followed and have seen only minor improvement. I've tried different boots, different shoes, wear hiking socks, use trekking poles, rest regularly, air my feet at rest stops, and in general have endeavoured to follow all the advice I've been able to access.
My hope was to walk about 25km each day, however I've resigned myself to the fact that, that won't be possible, and reconciled myself that, that is just the way it is, and that I'll simply have to tolerate aching feet.

I've not had any problems with blisters, but was hoping someone might be able to suggest something to assist with the preventation and/or treatment of aching feet.

Many thanks,
Sore Feet Pete

Some how the written portion of my post dissappeared. I will try to rewrite it here.

Pete,

I believe the Camino you plan on walking will determine your training regimine. I walked my camino ( Del Norte, April 28 - June 3, this year). I researched the del Norte extensively and realized that I would need to train well before leaving home, realizing the climbs and descents would be demanding. I started six months before my departure date, walking every morning, breaking in two sets of footwear, the last two months walking 15 km, or more, with full back pack. I left for Spain feeling prepared. Boy was I wrong. The first stage, Irun to San Sebastian, set the stage for the next 7. By the time I got to San Sebastian, I had blisters on both little toes, very painful. I bandaged myself up and pressed on the next morning. So it went for the next 10 days. Injury, bandages. Then, I added Ibuprofen, 600 mg. More blisters and skin seperation near the balls of my feet. Blisters became blood blisters, then exploded. I trudged on, becoming one of the walking wounded. In Guemes, at the albergue, an American volunteer working there told me about Compeed and gave me two the next morning just before I left. He was a professional running coach living in Seattle, WA. My wounds slowly started to heal after that, me occaisonally reinjuring a healing wound. That issue really slowed me down.

I finally ran into a professional trekking guide who has a business in Nepal guiding tours through the high valleys of the Himalayas. He suggested I get a pair of trekking poles. I had a pair with me, tied to my back pack under the cover. I told him I had tried to use the poles initially but did not know what I was doing, so I stowed them. After a day of instruction from this man, David Gluns, I got the hang of using my poles. More instruction and following him on the trail the next three days made me much better at using them. We parted ways at Villaviciosa, he going for the Primativo and me for the del Norte. In about four days after starting to use my "sticks", my feet had fully healed up.

At about the midway point on my camino, I had developed a morning and midday routine which would allow me to truely walk painless and enjoy fully the camino del Norte:

Morning - After waking up, foot lotion containing Urea on entire foot, top, bottom and sides (David turned me on to this). Next, Vaseline liberally on bottom of front of foot and toes, then SmartWool socks and then boots.

Midday - Boots and socks off. Feet allowed to cool down (soaked in cold water if available) for about 10-15 minutes. Then, Selvacam Gel 5mg/g Piroxicam (topical pain killer that takes away the "hot foot "feeling) on bottom of foot and toes. Let soak in about 5 min. Next, Vaseline on bottom of front of foot and all toes. Then, socks and boots. If it's a long stage, or there is a lot of asphalt walking, I do this midday treatment twice a day.

The Compeed is similiar to a bandaid, but there is no gaauze. You take the protective paper off, stretch the Compeed and place it on the injury (the ends touch or overlap for toes). Leave it on till it falls off by itself, for me, about a week. The tissue heals underneath and the Compeed becomes a second, thick, layer of skin. You need to apply the Compeed to dry, clean skin. It will not stick to skin with Vaseline on it, so I would apply it at night after shower before applying anything else.

Pete, if your camino is mostly flat (Frances, Portugues), you can train for that. If it is like the del Norte or Primitivo, train on trails with at least 1000 feet of vertical change, both up and down. Buy and learn how to properly use trekking poles (very important)! By the time I arrived in Bilbao, everybody I met knew about Vaseline, Compeed and Ibuprofen (all available at la farmacias). You can buy all of these for about €10, the Compeed being most expensive at about €7 per package (small, medium and large, or a combination package). The Selvacam Gel was a recommendation by a farmacia attndant. A 40 pack of 600 mg Ibuprofen costs less than €2 at la farmacia. Attached is a photo of my "repair kit" items.

If your camino is in fact mostly flat, you can get away with trial and error without too much damage. If your camino is hilly with significant ups and downs, you will suffer some injuries as you go forward. By Guernika, I saw foot, ankle, achiles heel, shin, knee and calf injuries. My personal survey told me most were as a result of no poles, or improper use of poles.

I have said most of what is in this post on other posts at this forum.

Buen Camino.

WV



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Peter Clifton

Sore Feet Pete
Past OR future Camino
Camino Frances May 2016
Pain medicine. I find ibuprofen works well. Stronger medicine probably takes a prescription. Plan to walk with sore feet, sorry to say; you may have to just gut it out! Take regular breaks. Massage your feet during your walk. After breaks you may have to walk slowly for a few hundred meters. At night, massage your feet and apply ice.

You are looking at a half-marathon a day for weeks on end after a long period of not walking much. It is not realistic to expect comfort. It is good that blisters are not a problem. However, anticipate that you might increase your discomfort level if you get them.

Animo. It isn't easy, but it is usually worth it! (And foot pain is my constant companion, so I know what you feel.)
Hi Falcon269,
Yes I'll take some pain killers with me and given all the great advice on the forum, will definitely be getting some soft inserts and walking shorter distances in training in the hope of resolving the problem. Nonethelss I've reconciled that I may just have to "gut it out" and I'm sure (well hoping at least) that it'll be worth it.
It may be a bit perverse, but I took some comfort in knowing that foot pain is your constant companion as well, sorry about that!
 

Tia Valeria

Veteran Member
Past OR future Camino
Pt Norte/Pmtvo 2010
C. Inglés 2011
C. Primitivo '12
Norte-C. de la Reina '13
C. do Mar-C. Inglés '15
This is often said here, but I'm always confused by it. NSAIDS like ibuprofen, aspirin, etc, reduce inflammation. How is that disguising damage rather than helping? Please explain this, since I never understand what you all mean when you say it, and a lot of folks here repeat this pretty often.
I understand it to mean that the pain killer will reduce inflamation but can hide underlying problems (eg stress fractures/damaged joints) which need either rest or other treatment. In addition the painkillers themselves if taken for long can cause problems - tablets can cause stomach problems etc, the gels are absorbed but at least are applied to the affected area and not the whole body so are probably the better option.
 

pudgypilgrim

Active Member
Past OR future Camino
voie de tours 2015
Thanks, Tia Valeria. Yes, of course the stomach problems and so on are a definite concern, but I've never heard of NSAIDs covering up the pain of a stress fracture or damaged joint. Thanks for the clarification, but I'm afraid I'd still like to hear a first person example of someone whose doctor said, "Gosh, if you hadn't taken an anti-inflammatory you wouldn't have nearly as much damage."

I don't take any of that stuff (asthma, so not supposed to), but twenty years ago I walked around on a cortical fracture of my ankle for almost two weeks (nurse said it was just a sprain) and I'm fairly sure that even a whole bottle of aspirin/ibuprofen wouldn't have made that feel so much better that I would have felt up to going for a hike or even just a swim.
 
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walkmag

Active Member
Past OR future Camino
leon to Santiago (2006),
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Porto to Santiago (2010)
Minturno to Rome (2012)
Siena to Rome (2012),
Fidenza to Siena (2013)
Lausanne to Fidenza (2014)
Bilbao to Ribadeo Sept (2015)
CMD Maybe (Sept 2016)
That's something I may need to consider. Others have suggested 2L is insufficient water for a 20km walk. Having said that, I drink when I feel thirsty and don't feel particularly dehydrated at the end of the walk. (But maybe my feet are "thirsty," they're certainly crying out for something!)

Arnica bruise sticks are good for rubbing imto aching feet they don't weigh much so you can pack a couple. made by Martin and Pleasance and you can buy im chemist warehouse in Australia
 

marjude

Active Member
Past OR future Camino
4/2011 VdlP,
4/2014 Rota Vincentina, Portugues.
4/2016 Aragones, Frances.
4/2019 Madrid, Frances
Hi Peter, I hope you are able to sort out your feet problems, you have been given some good advice by the forum members. When are you planning to walk the Camino? It will probably take a few months for your feet to settle into there new routine.

I am also from Taree and now living in Grafton.
Buen Camino Judy (Pollock)
 

Peter Clifton

Sore Feet Pete
Past OR future Camino
Camino Frances May 2016
Arnica bruise sticks are good for rubbing imto aching feet they don't weigh much so you can pack a couple. made by Martin and Pleasance and you can buy im chemist warehouse in Australia
Thanks walkmag have just placed an order for a couple of sticks.
 

Peter Clifton

Sore Feet Pete
Past OR future Camino
Camino Frances May 2016
Hi Peter, I hope you are able to sort out your feet problems, you have been given some good advice by the forum members. When are you planning to walk the Camino? It will probably take a few months for your feet to settle into there new routine.

I am also from Taree and now living in Grafton.
Buen Camino Judy (Pollock)
Hi Judy,
Planning to walk from SJPP in mid May. How far..... well I guess that will depend. So will have plenty of time to "retrain" my feet.
 

Peter Clifton

Sore Feet Pete
Past OR future Camino
Camino Frances May 2016
Some how the written portion of my post dissappeared. I will try to rewrite it here.

Pete,

I believe the Camino you plan on walking will determine your training regimine. I walked my camino ( Del Norte, April 28 - June 3, this year). I researched the del Norte extensively and realized that I would need to train well before leaving home, realizing the climbs and descents would be demanding. I started six months before my departure date, walking every morning, breaking in two sets of footwear, the last two months walking 15 km, or more, with full back pack. I left for Spain feeling prepared. Boy was I wrong. The first stage, Irun to San Sebastian, set the stage for the next 7. By the time I got to San Sebastian, I had blisters on both little toes, very painful. I bandaged myself up and pressed on the next morning. So it went for the next 10 days. Injury, bandages. Then, I added Ibuprofen, 600 mg. More blisters and skin seperation near the balls of my feet. Blisters became blood blisters, then exploded. I trudged on, becoming one of the walking wounded. In Guemes, at the albergue, an American volunteer working there told me about Compeed and gave me two the next morning just before I left. He was a professional running coach living in Seattle, WA. My wounds slowly started to heal after that, me occaisonally reinjuring a healing wound. That issue really slowed me down.

I finally ran into a professional trekking guide who has a business in Nepal guiding tours through the high valleys of the Himalayas. He suggested I get a pair of trekking poles. I had a pair with me, tied to my back pack under the cover. I told him I had tried to use the poles initially but did not know what I was doing, so I stowed them. After a day of instruction from this man, David Gluns, I got the hang of using my poles. More instruction and following him on the trail the next three days made me much better at using them. We parted ways at Villaviciosa, he going for the Primativo and me for the del Norte. In about four days after starting to use my "sticks", my feet had fully healed up.

At about the midway point on my camino, I had developed a morning and midday routine which would allow me to truely walk painless and enjoy fully the camino del Norte:

Morning - After waking up, foot lotion containing Urea on entire foot, top, bottom and sides (David turned me on to this). Next, Vaseline liberally on bottom of front of foot and toes, then SmartWool socks and then boots.

Midday - Boots and socks off. Feet allowed to cool down (soaked in cold water if available) for about 10-15 minutes. Then, Selvacam Gel 5mg/g Piroxicam (topical pain killer that takes away the "hot foot "feeling) on bottom of foot and toes. Let soak in about 5 min. Next, Vaseline on bottom of front of foot and all toes. Then, socks and boots. If it's a long stage, or there is a lot of asphalt walking, I do this midday treatment twice a day.

The Compeed is similiar to a bandaid, but there is no gaauze. You take the protective paper off, stretch the Compeed and place it on the injury (the ends touch or overlap for toes). Leave it on till it falls off by itself, for me, about a week. The tissue heals underneath and the Compeed becomes a second, thick, layer of skin. You need to apply the Compeed to dry, clean skin. It will not stick to skin with Vaseline on it, so I would apply it at night after shower before applying anything else.

Pete, if your camino is mostly flat (Frances, Portugues), you can train for that. If it is like the del Norte or Primitivo, train on trails with at least 1000 feet of vertical change, both up and down. Buy and learn how to properly use trekking poles (very important)! By the time I arrived in Bilbao, everybody I met knew about Vaseline, Compeed and Ibuprofen (all available at la farmacias). You can buy all of these for about €10, the Compeed being most expensive at about €7 per package (small, medium and large, or a combination package). The Selvacam Gel was a recommendation by a farmacia attndant. A 40 pack of 600 mg Ibuprofen costs less than €2 at la farmacia. Attached is a photo of my "repair kit" items.

If your camino is in fact mostly flat, you can get away with trial and error without too much damage. If your camino is hilly with significant ups and downs, you will suffer some injuries as you go forward. By Guernika, I saw foot, ankle, achiles heel, shin, knee and calf injuries. My personal survey told me most were as a result of no poles, or improper use of poles.

I have said most of what is in this post on other posts at this forum.

Buen Camino.

WV



[
Thanks Walking Viking for such a comprehensive reply to my query. I'll be walking the Camino Frances, so although there a a number of climbs, not quite so many as the del Norte of the Primitivo, I gather. I have trekking poles, and have been using them in my training walks. I've watched Youtube videos on their proper use, so hopfully I'm using them somewhat correctly. Interesting to note your personal survey indicating that many injuries occurred through no or improper use of poles.
Appreciate you taking the time to send the photos of your repair kit. Will definitely equip myself with those items.
I won't be leaving until May, so have plenty of time to prepare myself for the Camino. Like yourself I would like to be as well prepared physically as possible to give myself the best chance of compeleting the Camino. Wait and see, I guess.
 
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Peaceable Projects Inc. is a U.S.-based non-profit group that brings the vast resources of the wide world together with the ongoing needs of the people who live, work, and travel on the Camino de Santiago pilgrim trail network in Spain.
how to successfully prepare for your Camino
This book's focus is on reducing the risk of failure through being well prepared.

zzotte

Active Member
Past OR future Camino
2012 Camino Frances, 2014 Lourdes to SDC, 2016 Camino del Norte
Pete, hydration it's important and so it's magnesium and stretch stretch stretch but honestly I think you feet needs broken in give yourself sometime ( provide that your feet are medically sound)

Zzotte
 

Lucy Longpath

Lucy Longpath
Past OR future Camino
Frances (2015), Puy Way (2016), North Wales Pilgrims Way (2017), Camino Vezelay(2018) &(2019)
If possible allow a lot of time for your camino so that you can choose to walk less than 20km on some days and also take rest days. Book to stay at Orisson on your first day so you will only need to walk 8km. The walk over the Pyrenees is the hardest part of the Camino Frances. You can reduce any chances of problems with your feet by walking shorter distances, and then if all goes well you can increase later on or maybe not. It is nice to enjoy a slower Camino anyway if you have the time.
 

REV

Member
Past OR future Camino
Camino Francés (2015 from Roncesvalles) Camino Portuguese (2015 from Tuí) Camino Inglés (2015 from Ferrol)
When looking at walking sticks, I suggest you take a look at PacerPoles. This year I walked the Camino Francés from Roncevalles, the Portuguese from Tuí, and the Inglés from Ferrol, and I loved my PacerPoles.

I do not think I would have completed the Caminos without them, because I had several long stretches with a problem with my left leg. Others in my family have also used them with similarly positive experiences. I tried them after reading a lengthy thread asking something like "Does anyone NOT like PacerPoles?" They are made in the UK, and there is a 30 day trial period. Learning to use them is relatively easy. The instructions and the videos are reasonably straight-forward. With their special, angled grips for the left and right hands it is difficult to use them improperly.
 

REV

Member
Past OR future Camino
Camino Francés (2015 from Roncesvalles) Camino Portuguese (2015 from Tuí) Camino Inglés (2015 from Ferrol)
In addition, there is a Camino First Aid PDF on this Forum that I found very useful. I put a copy on my iPhone.
<Camino First Aid 2014 iPhone.pdf>

I reviewed the First Aid guide before my Caminos, particularly the recommendations regarding foot care. On the Camino I used it to help me understand my leg problem, and others used it to help evaluate and nurse shin splint problems. There is lots of information. I am 70 and walked alone. After reading it and watching the video links I felt much better prepared to avoid (and to address) physical problems. I used it to prepare my First Aid Kit for the Camino, which I ended up using to help others. (On a separate Camino, my family used a similar First Aid Kit effectively when addressing various foot problems.)

Additionally, I borrowed from the library a FEET book: John Vonhof's "Fixing Your Feet: Prevention and Treatments for Athletes" (Feb 1, 2011). Although written for ultra marathoners and other athletes, I found the advice very useful, and it helped me develop a more realistic sense of what to expect and how to develop my own morning and evening foot rituals.

Finally, listen carefully (and constantly) to what your various body parts are telling you. I had an ongoing conversation with mine, and they controlled what and how much I did every day. By the way, I did virtually no advance conditioning (just a couple short hikes with my loaded pack) and used the first 100 miles or so to get into somewhat better shape.
 

Hobbyhorse

Member
Past OR future Camino
Camino Frances (Sept 2014)
My hope was to walk about 25km each day, however I've resigned myself to the fact that, that won't be possible, and reconciled myself that, that is just the way it is, and that I'll simply have to tolerate aching feet.

Hi Peter. Have a wonderful time preparing and a very 'buen camino'. I hope all the good advice above helps you keep the aching feet to a minimum. My two cents worth is in the same vein as Lucy Longpath. If you allow yourself lots of time your body will be able to tell you what it's ready for, and the answer may differ a lot over the course of your camino. If you are lucky enough to be able to allow lots of extra time before your return flight home, you might have less pain and more time to enjoy a 'walk in a relaxed manner' (coincidentally the name of a good Camino book, but on another aspect of preparedness).

Rev's approach sounds like he also sees a benefit in having no daily kilometer target.

There are so many more fun things we can be counting on the camino, if we have the time!

Enjoy it all!
 
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REV

Member
Past OR future Camino
Camino Francés (2015 from Roncesvalles) Camino Portuguese (2015 from Tuí) Camino Inglés (2015 from Ferrol)
My walking days ranged from 1 mile to 25 miles on the Camino Francés. I had no plans, goals, or expectations, other than finding café con leche each morning and (on the Camino Francés) heading westward. If I found café con leche and had taken steps westward, the day was a success. Sometimes I started late (awakened by a hospitalero telling me to leave). I passed no one, walked alone, and enjoyed the countryside, the flowers, the grain fields, the locals, and the local food/wines.

Time is a luxury. Having no targets of any kind is sweet. Most Peregrino injuries I encountered were the product of stage goals or kilometer goals or the RAH RAH encouragement of walking companions who (apparently) were not experiencing the same physical sensations. I walked 700-800 miles this year with no blisters on my feet. The only time I sensed a blister developing was a blister on my hand, apparently from my aggressive wringing of my laundry during the early stages of my Caminos.
 

REV

Member
Past OR future Camino
Camino Francés (2015 from Roncesvalles) Camino Portuguese (2015 from Tuí) Camino Inglés (2015 from Ferrol)
Although I did not use it, one Spanish hospitalero told me that the secret to a blister-less Camino was using Vicks-Vapo-Rub as a foot lubricant. I never found Vicks in Spain while walking my Caminos, but I could imagine it being a pleasant and effective lubricant. I used the much more expensive Trail Toes on my toes and Nivea on the rest of my feet. I suspect that my attention and conversations with my feet each morning may have been more effective than the lubricants. The morning ritual with my feet reminded me each day to be attentive to the messages my feet (and the other parts of my body) were sending me along the way. This attention frequently prompted me to remove my boots, smooth my socks, and retie my boots multiple times before I started walking.
 

C clearly

Moderator
Staff member
Past OR future Camino
Most years since 2012. Hoping now for 2022.
If I found café con leche and had taken steps westward, the day was a success.
This is an excellent attitude. I would just add a glass of vino tinto, to make it my standard for success on the camino. Don't be surprised if I use this as advice in the future!
 

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