In Search of Santiago

A personal journey along the Camino de Santiago

Navigation Menu
13th of May – Foot Care and Blisters on the Camino

13th of May – Foot Care and Blisters on the Camino

Rob The Traveller

Dealing with foot and blister problems while walking the Camino?

 

One of the major topics of conversation amongst pilgrims when walking, stopping for a cafe con leche or at dinner in the evening is of course, blisters.

Most people seem to suffer from them at one point and of course all have their own techniques for treating or avoiding them.

The techniques I gained are solely from research on the Camino de Santiago forum. These techniques seem to be the ones most commonly used by experienced pilgrims.

 

Firstly to avoid blisters.

Don’t shower in the morning. Shower at night. It’s important to keep your feet very dry on the day that you are walking.

It seems that blisters are caused by heat, moisture and friction, so we need to try and avoid those three as much as possible.

In terms of preparing for the walk, this is the approach that I use.

I use a lot of Vaseline on my feet, around the toes, the balls of my feet and my heels before putting on thin, synthetic liner socks followed by thicker wool socks.

It’s important to have socks that help wick moisture away from your feet.

Whilst walking, at every major break, perhaps every three hours, I take off my boots and socks to allow them to air.

On longer walks I even carry an extra pair of socks and swap socks at each break, so that I’ve always got a dry pair on my feet.

Some people have asked me how to use sheep’s wool. So I’ve added a picture of the packet of sheep’s wool, with instructions, that I bought from New Zealand.

 

Hikers Wool

Hikers Wool: The Blister Blitzer

 

Whilst walking to Burgos yesterday, we passed sheep in an enclosure where they had shed a lot of their wool on the wire fence.

So we spent a few minutes collecting raw sheep’s wool to use for the same purpose.

Once you have a blister, there are loads of different techniques that people will use.

The one that I have used was the traditional Spanish method of sanitising a needle and thread in alcohol and then using the needle to puncture the blister, releasing the fluid inside and leaving the thread in the blister to help dry the fluid out.

NOTE. this is no longer recommended due to the risk of infection...

But of course, you should seek your own advice from healthcare professionals, on the technique that you want to use!

Here is a recent video on blister treatments that most people are suggesting is much better:

https://www.blisterprevention.com.au/blister-blog/how-to-drain-a-blister

I hope this is of help.

 

P.S. I managed to walk for two weeks before getting my first small blister.

I think that one came about because of my longer 32-kilometer walk.

I did notice some pain around the heel, but I assumed it was just my normal Achilles heel problem.

Had I used hiker’s wool as soon as I felt that, perhaps the blister would have been avoided.

    11 Comments

  1. Hi! I am thoroughly enjoying your blog. High quality by the way. HUGE QUESTION: Are you able to obtain ICE at your stops? at least most if not all of them? I start my Camino Sept 5. I have severe plantar fasciitis but will do the best I can. I SHALL KEEP Walking as best I can. ICE will be so very helpful. Any input is greatly appreciated. Buen Camino! Melanie

    • Hi Melanie.

      I have only been refused ice once in 15 days walking so far.

      That was a rather unhappy barman in San Juan.

      This is the approach I take. …

      I ALWAYS buy something. Then as I am paying, hold up a small zip lock bag and ask for some ice. Pointing to my foot.

      Ice is pronounced yay lo. I think. …. seems to work.

      Be polite. Say Thank you a lot…. others will be asking behind you 🙂

      • Thank you kindly Sir. There is no doubt you have given me excellent advice 🙂 I have hope now 🙂

        • Did you walk your Camino yet Melanie? How did you go with the Plantar Faciitis?

  2. Hi Bob: My family and I will start the Camino Frances on June 13. I was wondering about the thin, synthetic liner socks – what are they exactly (another sock? And where do you get them? I’ve asked in some places and I get a confused look by the sales person.

    Also what do you do with the sheeps wool?

    This will be our first camino – We are traveling with our children 17,16, 8 — I am a bit concered about finding beds for all of as at the Albergues– any advise?

    • Hi Tatiana.

      Yes. Liner socks are a second pair. Any decent hiking store will advise you.

      Though to wear two pairs of socks you would normally buy larger size boots/shoes.

      Given you are departing very soon I imagine you already have your footwear and have them worn in.

      Sheep’s wool is used to prevent blisters. Instructions on the pic above.

      A June 13 start puts you in a busy period.

      So you’ll need to book ahead. Either at private albergues. Hostels or casa rural.

      • Thank you for your quick response. I bought my shoes (Merrell’s) about a month ago a bit larger and put a supper feet insert. I have been using them any chance I get. I bought some socks that are called smart wool that wick the moisture.
        In ref to Albergues – we were hoping to stay on the cheaper side as with 5 of us it can get expensive per night with the Casa Rurales and private accommodations. Maybe they have a family discount?

        Where are you today?

        Also how can I read your previous posts. I could only find from Burgos on or is that where you started ?

        • Smart wool are very popular.

          You should be able to scroll back through previous posts at the bottom of the page.

          I started in St Jean.

        • Though I’m not really an Albergue user I’ve not heard of group discounts at Albergues. They are super cheap as it is….

          I have a private room at one tonight. The shared accommodation is 7 euro each.

          I have walked with groups of people who often book ahead and book a complete room of 4 6 or 8 beds.
          That might work well for you?

  3. I just figured out how to check out where you are… That is pretty net. Do you do it through a GPS? With your phone?

    • Not so fancy. Google maps. One of the guys back at the office updates it each day…

Post a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Pin It on Pinterest

Share This