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.

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