In September of last year I had the privilege of helping my friend David carry out first aid for pilgrims on the Camino Francés.
David is a veteran first-aider who has given first aid, pastoral care and support to pilgrims on the Camino for the past nine years – all on a voluntary basis. His twice-yearly first aid Caminos are funded partly from the profits of his eBay store in the UK – Pilgrim Supplies – with the balance of the cost being funded from his own savings.
Over the years David has treated many hundreds of pilgrims with blistered feet. A significant number of pilgrims could have prevented developing blisters simply by tying their boot and shoe laces correctly – to keep maximum room at the toe of the boot or shoe, as well as keep the rest of the foot firm.
Last year we found that a significant number of pilgrims presenting to us with blistered toes, caused by tying boot and shoe laces too tightly, were helped greatly by a method David has used successfully for many years. Step by step instructions are as follows:
- Untie the laces
- Ball one’s fist into the toe box of the boot or shoe to create maximum room for the toes
- Loosely lace the boot/shoe up to the THIRD eyelet and then tie a half- hitch – a simple knot – at the third eyelet to secure the loosely tied laces
- Complete lacing of the boot/shoe as is normally done (see photo).
- When putting the boot or shoe back on, once the boot or shoe is placed on the foot, kick the heel into the heel end of the boot, tie up firmly so that the rear of the boot is held securely, and, with the half knots at the third eyelets, the front of the boot never tightens up but stays loose, allowing the toes to move freely.
One’s feet will then remain firm in the boot or shoe, thus minimising the chance of blisters. The extra room in the toe box will reduce the chance of blisters on the toes from boots or shoes that have been too tightly laced.