Did you ever notice that many successful entrepreneurs love to hike?

I never had a single blister on the Camino

Clare's blisters taken at Roncesvalles.

Clare's blisters taken at Roncesvalles.

Unlike so many other pilgrims, I am pleased to say that neither, me, Julie or Rachel got a single blister in the 92 miles that we covered on our first Camino.

Blisters were probably one of my top worries, so I read articles, watched YouTube videos and took advice from my brother (marathon runner) and another friend who has already walked the Camino.

Here is a list that some people advise (note: I did not do any of these)

  • Buy very expensive 1000 mile socks
  • Buy socks that have two layers to stop friction
  • Apply vaseline to your feet every day to stop moisture
  • Take a sewing kit to thread your blisters and let the fluid drain naturally
  • Lots of people were anti “Compeed” as they do not let your skin breathe, and apparently, you need to harden the skin.  Compeed makes the skin go soft underneath.

My thoughts on blisters?

In my training, I tried all types of socks.  I purchased expensive ones which gave me blisters, and cheap ones which also gave me blisters.  I have no idea where my mum got them from (Marks and Spencers I think), but she bought me some lovely thin walking socks and these worked a dream.

The best advice that worked well for me.

Backpacker (not pilgrim), Marcus from Germany gave some great advice.

Backpacker (not pilgrim), Marcus from Germany gave some great advice.

On our very first day (St Jean to the Orrison), we passed Marcus from Germany.  He was sitting quietly on the side of the path just taking in the scenery.  Marcus was not a pilgrim, but a German backpacker.  He had already been travelling for a few months and was heading in the opposite direction to us.  He had his boots off and was airing his feet and he shared with us the secret to never getting a blister.

[imagine a German accent]

“The minute you find a hotspot then stop and apply a plaster or Compeed on the area immediately.  Do not wait!  If you feel a niggle then deal with it as soon as you can”  His advice was the same for sore shoulders or anything that hurts.  Never persevere, always take the time to stop and deal with the pain before it escalates.

I did use Compeed twice on small hotspots and they never developed into a blister.  I also think that taking your boots off  (like Marcus did) every few hours and giving your feet a good airing is wise advice.  (and it feels good!).

Never get blisters again!

There was recently an article in the Daily Times where scientists have spent two years studying runners to find out the best way to prevent blisters.  The answer was simple, surgical tape is all you need!  They tested 128 runners who were running for 155 miles over 7 days.  For 98 of the 128 runners, no blisters formed where the tape had been applied, whereas 81 of the 128 got blisters in untaped areas. (read the full article here)

Blisters are horrible and I wouldn't wish them on my worse enemy.  Have you had any experience with blisters?  How did you deal with them?  I would love to hear from you.

  1. Tony on July 8, 2016 at 10:03 pm

    Julia,
    My wife, Ce and I have completed Camino Frances in 2014 and 15 and I go in Sep again this year. We love it and walk over 1,000 km a time, carrying our packs. Not bad for 65 and 69 yo Aussies who are ex Poms, one with new metal knees and me dragging along a CPAP machine?
    On blisters..happy to give away our secret!
    Ce was a nurse and hates the technique of leaving thread in a blister as it is a highway for infection!
    We stop immediately we get a hot spot and deal with it – best advice.
    We don’t like Compeed as they only work before the blister develops.
    Our tried and tested secret that you had the video on is a British Army skill I learned when we had no choice but to keep going even if our feet were raw.
    We take a small roll of white, shiney, German Leukoplast tape (available in all chemists and I’m sure Boots).
    It is easy to tear and we apply it to hot spots as well as blisters (that we drain carefully first), and even over the top of raw skin on broken blisters!
    We leave it on for days or weeks, it won’t come off in the shower. New skins forms underneath and the rape comes off easily then.
    Be careful putting you socks back on as, if you ruck it, it will make another blister.
    Naturally it is painful if you try to take it off raw skin, so don’t.
    It doesn’t look pretty but gets you lots of sympathy!
    It works well and we end up taping all our fellow Pilgrims along the Way!
    The tape is shiny, sticks well and conforms to all shapes -ankles, fingers, shoulders etc, it’s cheap and its light.
    I use thin, light nylon under socks with thicker strong X-Bionic outer socks.
    It appears that people who Vaseline there feet also have good results.
    Cheers from Downunder Tony



    • Tony on September 2, 2016 at 10:37 pm

      Julia,
      Hope you saw the post.
      Tony



  2. Julia Doherty on July 9, 2016 at 6:12 am

    Love it! And thank you so much for your comments. I hope many more people read this as so many are buying expensive socks that just don’t work!



  3. Fernando on July 19, 2016 at 7:58 pm

    After 481 miles of a successful Camino, I can tell you that used boots (I mean, never new), vaseline & anti blisters socks are the best combination to avoid blisters. I had none! Plus, every time you feel something like a sore is about to come, stop right there, boot & sock off and apply vaseline generously on the painful zone.

    And after the daily walk, a nice massage with regenerative creams containing A vitamin are also welcome!



    • Julia Doherty on July 20, 2016 at 6:47 am

      Hey Fernando, it’s great to hear from you. I am so pleased that you had no blisters, and thank you for your advice.