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Tendon Problems in Training


Veteran Member
Time of past OR future Camino
V Frances; V Podensis; V Francigena; V Portugues; V Francigena del Sud; Jakobsweg. Jaffa - Jerusalem
Over the last few weeks I have walked over 100km with my pack, mainly 20 -25 km at a time, wearing my well-worn leather trekking boots.

And I have just developed Achilles tendon soreness for the first time in my life :( . I have never been a runner or jogger. Also, I am no longer a beardless youth whose body can do whatever is demanded of it. This posting is relevant for the more venerable pilgrims among us.

I have never walked for long distances on paved roads/footpaths before. This kind of walking can trigger "over-use" injuries because the gait is constant and the pace is quicker (in my case) than trekking over broken ground. Long mountain treks have never triggered tendon injuries for me.

The first point is to emphasise the value of loaded training walks as time and opportunity allow.

The second point is to treat tendon injuries quickly, since they will probably get worse if you try to "walk them off" (the natural reaction). The first soreness seems too trivial and wimpish to get treatment for, so we want to press on regardless - this is the Manly Way to hospital :) .

FWIW, here is what my physio has advised for me. To prevent aggravating the soreness into a "show stopper" before my May 18 Camino I have to stop my hardening walks :cry: , and also wear "heel lifting" pads in my everyday shoes. The pads take the tension off the Achilles tendon and allow unstressed recovery :D . Anti-inflammatories (ibuprofen) also help. Aspirin is not advised as it may promote blood leakage in the damaged area, which may retard healing.

Cold water or ice are good in the early stages of an injury to bring down immediate inflammation and swelling. However, in the following days, heat is better to promote healing.

Another point is to strengthen the Achilles tendons by "heel raising" exercises as part of one's preparation (but only if not injured).

After much consideration, I am also changing my heavy Scarpa trekking boots for lighter, ergonomically better walking shoes that better correct over-pronation (which I never knew I had!) of the problem ankle.

OK, there is an issue of not having enough time to wear them in before my camino. Plus, I don't really like the relative lack of upper ankle support, but that may not be such an issue given that a large part of my Camino will be on roads or hard paths. But changing footwear is a concern for me so late in my preparation.

These are just my experiences and thoughts - certainly not stone-engraved Mosaic law! If they resonate with others and are of some help or comfort, my happiness will be enhanced in greater measure.


Bob M
Camino Way markers in Bronze
The one from Galicia (the round) and the one from Castilla & Leon. Individually numbered and made by the same people that make the ones you see on your walk. Discount is taken at check out, only by using this link.
Shoe Selection Website

Further to my earlier post, I chose Brooks footwear. It was one of the brands my physio recommended.

Here is their website, which might be helpful to others in a general sense (ie what factors are important and what the end result shoes look like).

I need to emphasise that there are many shoe brands that perform excellently and I doubt if Brooks offer any special advantages. In fact, they weigh only 700gm and look pretty flimsy to me after being used to 1400gm leather monster boots. Still, they have an 800km life!

So please use the website as simply an interesting way to investigate the impact of various factors (gender, physique, arch, pronation, terrain).


Bob M

13 sleeps to go!
I have also read somewhere that tendon problems can be caused by not drinking enough. I did experience some pains in that area last year and increased my water intake. The pain went away !
That's a BIG difference in weight between the boots and the Brooks. I had originally bought a pair of Raichle boots with the high ankle supports but decided against them and bought a lighter pair of Columnia trailmeister-without ankly support. I walked the VDLP in them and found them excellent. Others that I met invariable had very heavy boots which were not needed-the VDLP is not like trekking in Nepal (although the way some were decked out you would'nt know it). Consider that for each step you are lifting an extra half kilo.Multiple that by several hundred thousand steps to work out the extra weight. We are all aware of weight in our backpacks but I haven't heard anyone raise the issue of heavy boots.
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