10 Replies to “Did you get medical care on your Camino?”

  1. I did get attention to a problem with my heel–it was certainly related to the same frictions, stresses, strains (and odd gait) as cause blisters; but the way I describe it, my heel delaminated–that is, the pad of the heel began separating from the foot until about an inch, inch and a half slice had appeared back to front. I had to hold the foot together with tape and treat with betadyne a couple of times a day, but all the emergency clinics, red cross and other services were kind with checks for infection, medications, assistance and advice. Never any hesitation, always helpful. The wound had healed within a month of the end of the Camino (we walked the full 500 miles from St. Jean to Santiago–but drove to Finesterre) and never left a scar.
    ADVICE: The trick, as I was told and practiced, was the 30-40 minute morning ritual bathing of the foot with medicated soap, liberal betadyne, applying a generous layer of paper surgical tape each morning forming almost a cast to hold the foot together, wearing an inner sock–as a result, we were often the last to leave the albergue. Along the way, despite causing considerable delay, we needed to stop almost every time we came to cool running water to bathe the foot for 20 minutes–part of the advice: bathe, re-dress, re-sock, march on. Microbes and discomfort never had a chance! It took devotion, being methodical, honest . . . and a very patient walking companion!

  2. Oh yes! My wife and I got quite ill. We debate the water in the rest stop after climbing the hill to Ocibreo or the octopus in Ocibrero. Anyway,with no Spanish we went to a clinic. They took quite good care and wouldn’t let us pay. My daughter had an alergetic response to flea bite ( do not play with the strays) and got the same attention. When I worked as a hospitalero, I needed to take a very sick pilgrim to an ER. She showed her EU ID and boom she was taken care of. Wish we could do that in the USA!

  3. I am an American who hiked the Camino in Sept-Oct 2011. I needed to see a doctor twice, once for tendinitis (shin splints) and the other for an infection in my gums. Both times I was treated with excellent care. Since I had the pilgrim’s passport, I only had to pay for the medication…I was very grateful for the generosity of the doctors along the way.

    1. I too had to go in a hospital for Tendinitis and feet inflammation and I received free service I went to the hospital during my Camino in 2005. At the pharmacy you must pay the medications but those were not expensive. Must of the time you’ll get free service if you let them know you’re a Pilgrim.

  4. I had en exellent service in the hospital in Santandar – i I am grateful for the treatment, when I had severe blisters.

  5. In 2003, my wife and I completed the 375 miles that remained from our first trek on the Camino in 2001. Because of nerve damage I suffered years earlier, blisters on one foot became infected with red streaks running up my leg and I began to run a high fever. We walked through Astorga the previous day, but had to return to the hospital there the following day.

    I was most impressed with the kindness and competence of the doctor who treated me, as she was keenly aware of the syndrome that describes my nerve damage (more so than many doctors here in the United States). The only thing that cost me were antibiotics from the pharmacy and wound dressings, but I certainly expected to pay for the wonderful and attentive care provided. After following her instructions to rest 2 days with my leg elevated, I returned to good health so that we were able to arrive in Compostela in time to reunite with pilgrims we had met prior to my trip to the hospital.

  6. I walked with cancer, straight after a major operation (1 months) and during my walk many I had a serous injury as I fell on a stone and hit my hip and my back. Was not able to continue my camino in small proportions. had an excellent treatment in Logrono and was deeply impressed with the kindness of the pastor in Logrono church who offered me his own bed as there were no beds at all in the albergue. The doctor who treated me forst adbviced to return home. She refused to take even a smallest gift and, considering my intention to continue, packed me some medicaments and sterile needles to make injections. Will never forget this valuable gesture as I had not so much money. And met a good pharmacist who lead me into a hiking store explaining the owner I need walking sticks which serve better than an other dose of painkiller for my hips. May God bless these people and all Camino pilgrims today on the way…

  7. I, also, had to visit a doctor – in Pamplona (2009). I had what turned out to be stress fractures on my left foot. The doctor diagnosed tendonitis. I went the rest of the way to Santiago on Ibuprofen and the foot compression “things.” I actually knew that it wasn’t tendonitis – but then I’m not a doc…. [Part 2 is that I had the same thing happen on the other foot around Portomarin’ and treated it myself…] I paid nothing for the treatment. My lawyer friend often tells me you get what you pay for….

  8. Started with a blister that lead to a sore foot that lead to a sore knee on the opposite leg. Last day was a taxi ride to Santiago and the emergency room. I was a little lost but people in the waiting room were so gracious and made sure I got to where I needed to go.
    Wasn’t charged anything when they knew I was a pilgrim.
    Note of caution….train before you leave and wear you rucksack with appropriate weight. I will before I return next year.

  9. I arrived in Santiago on Friday, Oct 4, 2013 after 36 days with the last 3 walking in the rain. I had a sore throat, runny nose, fever, and difficulty breathing. I researched online for a hospital emergency room, wrote down the name and address of the university hospital and then walked to the cathedral where I remembered seeing a taxi stand. I gave the driver the paper with the address since I spoke no Spanish and arrived 15 minutes later. No one spoken English at the university hospital but the doctor examined me and wrote out a prescription for me to have filled at a pharmacy. We communicated with sign language. I tried to pay but they didn’t take my money. A few days later I was almost back to normal.

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