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Somebody help?!

aoife2018

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
2018
Hi there,
I left SJPDP over a month ago and I'm only half way. About a week into the Camino I started experiencing pain in the arches of my feet, tight and sore and burning. If I wobble on a rock or have to go up hill it's like walking on glass. I start the day ok and about ten km in I have to stop. Every day. I have thrown money at the problem. I have bought new lighter walking shoes, some walking sandals, some expensive insoles. I have tried everything and I am about ready to give up.
Has anybody got any suggestions or ideas? I'm so disappointed at the moment as I haven't enjoyed this Camino at all because of the pain, well the pain and the awful food.

Thanks
Aoife
 

Kitsambler

Jakobsweg Junkie
Camino(s) past & future
Le Puy 2010-11, Prague 2012, Nuremberg 2013, Einsiedeln 2015, Geneva 2017-18
It's very difficult to assess from thousands of miles away, but this sounds a lot like plantar fasciitis (inflammation of the ligaments in the arch of the foot). What's the arch support like in your shoes? Expensive insoles that are soft foam are not useful; you'll need something with firmer support. You can also tape your feet. Search on YouTube for plantar fasciitis taping examples and exercises.

A fracture in the small bones of the foot is also a possibility, in which case seeing a local medical clinic is in order.

Hope you're feeling better soon!
 

Dorpie

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Santiago to Finisterre to Muxia 2013
Camino Frances May 2015
Camino Frances July 2017
So sorry to hear this Aoife. Have you been to see a doctor at all? If there's one thing doctors along the camino are good at it's dealing with foot issues.

The one ray of light I can perhaps cast on the situation is that your sense of satisfaction if you do manage to complete your walk will be so much greater for having overcome adversity. I lost eight toenails and had horrific blisters on the soles of my feet on Camino 1, arriving in that square in Santiago made me feel I could take on the world.

Good luck,

Rob.
 

Frances Bat

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances SJPdP (June 2017)
Camino Frances Sarria (June 2018)
Camino Ingles (July 2018)
I've suffered from plantar fasciitis in the past - and it is very painful. Stretching exercises can also help - I looped a shoulder bag strap round the ball of my foot and gently pulled the top of my foot towards me, as I sat up on my bunk. I repeated it a few times each evening, and it stretched out the tendons and kept things under control. I also wore gel pads under my heels at one point. Good luck! I hope you find relief.
 

Chriswalker

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances (2005), Platta (partial 2013)
I once suffered from plantar fasciitis. The ONE stretch which quickly cured it after months of pain was this: pull your foot up toward your shin as far as you can, then gently stretch your toes in the same direction. It stretches that muscle that runs along the arch of the foot. It resolved the problem in a couple of days. I continue to do it daily and it has never returned. That muscle gets torn and then the scar tissue is less flexible so continued stretching is important. (The advice came from an online podiatrist and I'm forever grateful!)
 

David

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Moissac to Santiago Spring 2005 was the first foray.
So sorry for you but you haven't tried everything you know - it seems that you haven't stopped yet!!!
Take a break, a real break, and work on resting and massaging and flexing those feet.
You are too far away for anyone of us to really be able to help you - that you have the pain in both feet suggests that you don't have fractures - would be terribly unfair for that to happen on both feet at the same time!!
One of the main ways this pain you have can happen is not by what is underneath the foot as you walk but that the big toe is pushed across inwards because of the shape of footwear .. it causes over stretching of ligaments all the way along the foot and eventually the ligaments give up and become inflamed - but who knows? did you increase your daily mileage significantly?

Aoife, don't give up. You are brave, obviously, and pain brings us down but this doesn't mean we have to stop, to give up. Preferable is to stop for a couple of days, rest your feet, soak them, massage them, be kind to them, be kind to yourself.
Look, ask yourself what advice you would give another pilgrim - you would tell them to stop walking for a couple of days wouldn't you? Do that.

Then when you are healed carry on, short distances. - Although, you must be aware that there is a possibility that by carrying on as far as you have without resting that you have damaged yourself enough that recovery could now take quite a long time.

If that turns out to be the case, well, where are you now? Are you in a city? If so you could go to a big supermarket or somewhere like a Decathlon and buy the cheapest bike they have .. ride the rest of the way and give the bike away to a down and out or youngster in Santiago.

That you came on here for help shows us that you do not want to give up - so, don't give up, adapt, rest, heal.
If there is a gentle stream nearby immerse your feet in that for ten minutes or so three or so times a day - Oh! and go into a pharmacy and buy Arnica cream or gel and rub that in deeply three times a day.

Buen Camino! and let us know how you get on.
 
Last edited:

Scarlet Fez

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino de Frances Sept/Oct 2016
Camino Portuguese Oct 2017
Del Norde Start 2nd May 2018
I in the past have suffered similar pain after acouple of hours of walking. It's like walking barefoot on nails. Pretty convinced it's a combination of lack circulation due to the feet swelling and that added to some of the extreme temperatures I endured. When I felt is coming on, there was not point walking on through as it was so uncomfortable. Used to stop, shoes and socks off, massage my feet. Then I was good to go again for a couple more hours.
 
Camino(s) past & future
Frances(2006) portugues(2013)San Salvador (2017)
Ok, Aoife. First thing, well done on asking for help. I can’t add to what has been suggested, so what do you think of the various ideas? Strikes me that if you take a couple of days off in a place where you can go to a clinic, and beg borrow or steal a translator, and you do some of the exercises ( I speak from experience, I had plantar whatever it is but following the exercise routine from a physiotherapist got it in hand) then you can gradually make the best of it till you get a better grip on your mental as well as physical challenges. Second thing, I am so sorry for your trouble, seriously. The last thing anyone would want. I do hope you make it through this patch, and eventually hobble in to the square in Santiago!
 

Jackieduda

Member
Camino(s) past & future
CF September (2018)
Hi there,
I left SJPDP over a month ago and I'm only half way. About a week into the Camino I started experiencing pain in the arches of my feet, tight and sore and burning. If I wobble on a rock or have to go up hill it's like walking on glass. I start the day ok and about ten km in I have to stop. Every day. I have thrown money at the problem. I have bought new lighter walking shoes, some walking sandals, some expensive insoles. I have tried everything and I am about ready to give up.
Has anybody got any suggestions or ideas? I'm so disappointed at the moment as I haven't enjoyed this Camino at all because of the pain, well the pain and the awful food.

Thanks
Aoife
Believe it or not, i “cured” my plantar fasciatis by taking large doses of vitamin b12...cannot recall where i got that tip, but it worked and i dont think it will hurt you to try it.
 

Forestgirl

Member
Camino(s) past & future
2016 Frances
2017 Portuguese, Muxia y Fisterra,
Ingles, Primativo
2018 Frances, Primativo
I once suffered from plantar fasciitis. The ONE stretch which quickly cured it after months of pain was this: pull your foot up toward your shin as far as you can, then gently stretch your toes in the same direction. It stretches that muscle that runs along the arch of the foot. It resolved the problem in a couple of days. I continue to do it daily and it has never returned. That muscle gets torn and then the scar tissue is less flexible so continued stretching is important. (The advice came from an online podiatrist and I'm forever grateful!)
Absolutely. I stretch this way several times daily to keep the feet happy and my legs moving.
 

t2andreo

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
C/F: 2013, 2014
C/M: 2016
C/P: 2015, 2017
C/I: 2018
Voluntario: 2014 to 2018

Pam Scott

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino de Santiago compostella 2015
I once suffered from this. My physio daughter told me to stand on the edge of a step/stair and alternate standing on tip toes on each foot stretching your foot as much as possible count to 30. Once you have done this a couple of times on both sides reverse the process pushing down hard on the heel, again alternating the feet. One other excersice is to bend your toes up against the step so almost at right angles to your foot which is flat on the ground again alternating up to the count of 30. Don't force this one too hard. It worked a treat for me. I hope it is some help to you. Sounds like you have already been given some good ideas.
 

easygoing

Camino Sharon
Camino(s) past & future
I have walked the Camino Francis 7 times, twice in 2017 and 2018. (2019)
Hi there,
I left SJPDP over a month ago and I'm only half way. About a week into the Camino I started experiencing pain in the arches of my feet, tight and sore and burning. If I wobble on a rock or have to go up hill it's like walking on glass. I start the day ok and about ten km in I have to stop. Every day. I have thrown money at the problem. I have bought new lighter walking shoes, some walking sandals, some expensive insoles. I have tried everything and I am about ready to give up.
Has anybody got any suggestions or ideas? I'm so disappointed at the moment as I haven't enjoyed this Camino at all because of the pain, well the pain and the awful food.

Thanks
Aoife
There is great advice posted already for your feet and have have to stretch my feet every day even at home. However, give the food another chance. Spanish food is real and fresh and some old guy is always in the back peeling the potatoes. You just need to make a change from ordering the pilgrim menu which is their version of fast food and tailored to the pilgrim. Ask a Spanish person where and what they would eat. I was lucky enough to make a Spanish friend who took me award winning restaurants and simple bars off the Camino where I found beautiful delicious food. Another idea is to join other pilgrims and cook some of your meals. Your feet will not heal without fruits and veggies which are sadly missing from the pilgrim menu. And if all else fails to increase your enjoyment you can brag to others--I am a true pilgrim because I continued my journey suffering like the thousands before me, yet I kept faith knowing the joy I will feel when I enter the cathedral .
 

J F Gregory

Portugal Central - October 2019
Camino(s) past & future
Frances (March-April,2016) finished, (October 2019) Portuguese Central Route.
Insole, get good ones I use Super feet. Have you tried lacing your shoes differently? Skip a cross lace above the place on top where it hurts. I have the same issues and it took several attempts at re-lacing patterns to find the right one that kept the foot comfortable. If you have access to internet look up boot lacing on YouTube.
 

Davie Blisters

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
It is eternity now, it always has been and it always will be. We are in the midst of it.
Great advice so far for a horrible condition. As a past sufferer I try to keep my feet supple by manipulating a tennis ball around my bare feet while in the office or sat watching TV etc. I find the exercise keeps my feet fully stretched. Also, bear in mind keeping unwanted Spanish food in you shoes is detrimental to foot health:)
 
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances 2019
I agree with other posters-- this sounds like plantar fasciitis tha is causing your discomfort and pain. I had an onset of this in my 40s and was treated by a podiatrist (foot doctor/specialist) who fitted me with custom orthotics. These are insoles that have little or no cushioning and, importantly, are pretty stiff so that they support the arch of your foot. I no longer wear the custom orthotics and instead just use off the shelf stiff foam orthotics that are inexpensive but keep me from getting the kind of pain you are describing. Another simple thing tha helps is an exercise where you stand on a stair, toes forward and with the back half of your foot hanging off the stair-- then you repeatedly raise and lower yourself, up and down slowly, stretching out the tendons in your foot. Do maybe 10 or 15 reps a couple of times a day. Good luck. I hope you feel better and have a buen Camino!
 

Rinspin

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
English June 21 2017
Hi there,
I left SJPDP over a month ago and I'm only half way. About a week into the Camino I started experiencing pain in the arches of my feet, tight and sore and burning. If I wobble on a rock or have to go up hill it's like walking on glass. I start the day ok and about ten km in I have to stop. Every day. I have thrown money at the problem. I have bought new lighter walking shoes, some walking sandals, some expensive insoles. I have tried everything and I am about ready to give up.
Has anybody got any suggestions or ideas? I'm so disappointed at the moment as I haven't enjoyed this Camino at all because of the pain, well the pain and the awful food.

Thanks
Aoife
I second the notion of plantar fasciitis. Get some KT tape and tape accordingly. Thee is a YouTube on how to. Best of luck!!
 

gittiharre

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
CF Austria Czech Le Puy Geneva RLS V. Jacobi V. Regia V. Baltica/Scandinavica Porto Muxia
I once suffered from plantar fasciitis. The ONE stretch which quickly cured it after months of pain was this: pull your foot up toward your shin as far as you can, then gently stretch your toes in the same direction. It stretches that muscle that runs along the arch of the foot. It resolved the problem in a couple of days. I continue to do it daily and it has never returned. That muscle gets torn and then the scar tissue is less flexible so continued stretching is important. (The advice came from an online podiatrist and I'm forever grateful!)
Yes! Did the same thing. Hobbled around with plantar fasciitis for ages. Also good to get a golf ball and roll sole of your foot all over it. Massage with natural anti-inflammatory balm....It hurts but breaks up the scar tissue. No quick fix though..if it is both feet it is more likely to be plantar fasciitis than stress fracture.
 

Wandershot

CarolG
Camino(s) past & future
2014 Camino Frances: Burgos to Santiago
I experience shreaking pains in my toes and ultimately realized that it was from my right calves. My solution was a good stretch in the AM and PM.
 

caminodeanna

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
CF - León 2017

Planning for León - Santiago May 2018
Lots of stretch and massage. Hot water bath every day. Eccentric heel raise exercises minimum 100/day is good for all kind a foot problem since you might need stretch and to exercise the achilles tendon.

 

aoife2018

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
2018
Guys, thank you so much for all of your advice and concern. I've started to tape my feet like suggested and have started doing stretches. I took a three day break in leon. Im cautiously optimistic at the moment. Been doing 15 a day with fewer tears .
 

Pilgrim9

Member
Camino(s) past & future
SJPdP-SdC (2017)
SdC-Muxia-Fisterra-SdC (2017)
Lisboa-SdC (2018)
Ferrol-SdC (2018)
...I started experiencing pain in the arches of my feet, tight and sore and burning. If I wobble on a rock or have to go up hill it's like walking on glass...
I am very sorry to hear that you are experiencing foot pain.

About five years ago I experienced debilitating symptoms similar to what you have described. Agonizingly painful, and it rendered me incapable of walking any significant distance.

My physician diagnosed my symptoms as plantar fasciitis (which he described as a repetitive series of micro-tears of the tendons/ligaments that hold the arch in shape), stated that although it is very painful, it can definitely be "fixed", and prescribed custom orthotics to provide much better, firmer, arch support. That solved my problem. The affliction went away gradually, but completely. I have been symptom-free for years now, even when walking with my pack for very long distances on hard surfaces, over rocky terrain, up hills, etc.

I eventually found footwear that provides excellent arch support, eliminating the need for the orthotics.

I agree with suggestions made by others here that you consult a physician about your symptoms.

I offer the sincere hope and wish that you will overcome this obstacle, and that your pilgrimage becomes a wholehearted success.
 

texano

Married to a Madrileña
Camino(s) past & future
2019 Camino Portugese
Try to find some Salonpas adhesive medicated pads and place them on the forward half of your heels. This should help alot!
 

Frances Bat

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances SJPdP (June 2017)
Camino Frances Sarria (June 2018)
Camino Ingles (July 2018)
Aoife - that sounds positive. I hope the break and your stretching help you manage the situation, and lift your spirits. You've walked such a long way already and with 15km a day you are back to a decent distance. Once you escape the surroundings of Leon you have such a beautiful way ahead of you. I wish you all the best on your journey.
 

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