Post Camino #21 – What the Doctor said…

Six weeks now after having finished my Camino, I still can’t walk properly.

I’m hobbling around like an old man.

(If you’ve read my past postings, I’ve previously defined as “old” anyone over the age of 60. I’m 59 yrs 10 mths and 2 wks, so technically I’m still a young buck…)

I have a deep seated reluctance to see doctors, believing the body heals itself, but yesterday I finally went to my GP.

My problems were two-fold: my knee is still very painful, and my left foot is numb, under the ball of the foot. And it’s not improving.

I walked 800+kms in 31days, and for 28 of those days I took 600mgs of Ibuprofen thrice daily. It reduced my pain and enabled me to complete the walk, but it also masked some warning signs.

So, what the doctor said…

With the knee, I have to get an MRI, and will probably need surgery. And with the foot, it seems I might have “nerve entrapment,” which happens when tissue around a nerve swells, or gets damaged, and it blocks nerve functions to the foot.

I had very bad tendonitis on that lower leg, and that’s what I think has caused it. I now have to go see a Neurologist and have tests, to see where this nerve entrapment resides.

So, the cost of walking the Camino….months of lingering pain and medical bills.

But, I have to get these injuries fixed up –

– so I can do it again!

45 thoughts on “Post Camino #21 – What the Doctor said…

  1. Chin up, Bill! I broke my foot and I haven’t even made it to the Camino yet!


  2. Hi Bill

    I was diagnosed a few years ago with a Morton’ Neuroma's_neuroma

    It was at first very debilitating and painful. I would loose the sensation in my 2 middle toes after walking just 40 or so minutes. I went to a podiatrist who diagnosed the Neuroma and ever since I have had a small pad (similar to a flat pebble) placed on my orthotics that I put in all my shoes (oddly except my birkenstocks because I have absolutely no pain in them). It took a little while to get use to it and it has splayed my 2 toes apart a bit, but I am able to walk distances again.
    I have been training up to 25km walks without pain but when I feel a twinge, I stop 5min and it tends to go away. It has been suggested to me by my podiatrist that I see a surgeon who could cut out the neuroma but to me I am managing it medically so far and I consider surgery a last resort.

    I have 10 months left of my training-yes I started early- but I like to work out the kinks and truly believe that I have started my Camino already.

    Good luck with the body!


    • Michelle, my goodness you must be tough! That sounds so uncomfortable!

      But good on you on the long prep. One of the great benefits of training is that it not only gives you core strength, it also gives you confidence. You know you can get thru it.

      Keep at it!



  3. Hi Bill, that is not good at all. I remember your blogposting during the meseta when you felt you had walked off your problems and camino magic happened. It probably did for then, because you needed to go on. Remember when I mentioned to you that upon my return to Canada, they put me in a cast… almost better to have a broken leg, then what you are dealing with. Bones heal much better and faster then ligaments and nerves. I wish you serenity to deal with the doctors you will have to partner with to get well. AND, young buck – this 60 year old youngster does not agree with your age definition ;-). Much Light and blessings Ingrid (who again can dance the salsa without any worries) Ha!


    • Dear Ingrid, I didn’t realise you we’re so OLD!!!


      Yes, it was very strange how over the Meseta my pain disappeared. But then about 2 days out from Santiago my knee really re-presented itself, and I got very scared that it was going to stop me.

      I actually took 2 x 600mg Ibuprofen on the last morning before breakfast, and then walked 39kms into the Cathedral.

      Is it any wonders now I have problems?


      But I’m like you Ingrid – I’m resilient and believe that these things are really minor in the whole scheme of things, and can be repaired with the right thought and action.

      I don’t dance the salsa but I skip the light fandango!

      xx b


  4. Hi Bill – thanks for letting us all know ‘What the doctor said’. Hooley dooley! Everything that lies ahead is going to make you even stronger than you were prior to your first Camino, which is a great thing and what a fantastic goal you’ve got to work towards.
    On the medical bills … my brother Glen always says the best year he had with HCF (for all the non-Aussies, HCF is one of our major health funds) was when his daughter Justine had dental braces fitted and the family was able to claim more than they paid into the Fund! Look at it this way and it’ll ease this particular part of the pain!
    Good luck with the MRI and rehab –
    Cheers – Jenny


    • Haha – that’s the first time I’ve seen “hooley dooley” on the Internet!


      Yes, I have this Portuguese Camino in my sights now, and want to be fit for that, probably sometime next year, depending on work.

      By the way, while I was walking, if anyone ever said Buen Camino to me, I’d answer back – G’day mate!



  5. Hello again Bill: I am sorry to hear that your injuries will require medical intervention. Your blog kept my spirits up when I was trying to recover from a leg injury my second day outside Roncevalles. After a two week rest, I finally accepted the sad fact that my Camino was over for this try. When I got back to Arizona the orthopedic doctor ran tests and told me that I fractured my leg in two places. The fact that I walked on it to Pamplona made the surgeon decide to NOT operate on the leg. Perhaps your surgeon will reach a similar conclusion. Treatment is still not fun: I will be on crutches for 90 days, but I avoided the scalpel! My goal is to get healthy and get back to my Camino ASAP. I wish you good health and the speediest recovery. May you return to the Camino on two good legs when the call comes again! Best of everything to you!


    • Hi Julie, I think it’s amazing you walked so far on a fractured leg! You must have so much grit!

      And now, whilst it’s no doubt awkward and at times dispiriting that you’re on crutches, you must feel a certain sense of pride knowing that your injury isn’t from falling down some stairs, but from walking a pilgrimage on a broken leg!

      Yes, I’ll get this fixed up, because like you I want to get back out there again!

      Thank you for you well wishes, and back to you too for a quick recovery!



  6. The good news is that you can “see” and “hear” better than ever….remember, you are surrounded with a global energy from all of us, and the Camino energy from those who walked before and after you! Please keep us all in the loop as to your recovery. You continue to inspire me, and I don’t use that word lightly anymore.


    • Dear Julie – lovely of you to say that!

      Thank you!

      Yes, I think it was the energy of the Camino that got me through the walk, and it will be that same energy that fixes up these temporary setbacks.

      If I have this so called nerve entrapment, what that means is that there’s a blockage of energy flow through my body.

      The best way to fix that is with yoga.

      Yoga gets the those energy lines flowing and functioning properly.

      So that’s what I’m going to do – get back into my regular daily one and a half hour yoga, and I’m sure that will fix up both the knee and the foot!

      I will do this before I consider any medical intervention, like surgery on my knee, and goodness knows what on my foot.

      I believe that yoga is a powerful healing tool.



      • I love the concept of acupuncture . Have you considered it !i was walking the Camino behind you and read your blog whenever I had the chance .


      • Bill…I read your blog today at work and I was actually quite worried for the rest of the day about you. ……..After having a surgery go horrible wrong and working in the medical industry where I see 1000 of people have had surgery. I have to say…I’m not a fan or surgery at all. I (and this is just my viewpoint) have seldom seen anyone have success from surgery and often they are worse off than before.

        However, I am delighted to read this post above that says you are looking into yoga. YAY!!!!

        Like I mentioned a few weeks ago…I have been having great success with an Osteopath for my niggley knee. My body just seems to respond to that kind of treatment and massage.

        Like Mary, I also tried acupuncture for a back injury. I had already spent 9 mths in physio and after three treatments of acupuncture…it just seemed to remove whatever blockage was there.

        So Bill…I echo what you and Steve have said before….. The body knows how to heel itself………trust that.

        Thank you for keeping us in the loop with this. I had wanted to ask…but didn’t want to intrude :o)


      • Hi Mary, thank you, acupuncture is a really good thought!

        And thanks for reading the blog. Soon I’ll run put of things to post about!



      • Bill, I am not so sure you will run out of things to post about. You are keeping right with it, Mate, as you Aussies say. I kind of like that. In Texas, we would say Y’all, and blended we could say G’day, y”all. Back to the serious business of injuries, I have several tears and deformities in my body, but I have never had surgery even when recommended. I found that by going back to the gym and starting over with ridiculously light weights and slowly building up, I was able to overcome all maladies and tears back to what I would say is 95% functionality. I may look a little deformed, but that could be looked at as character. Steve


        • If you’re back to 95% functionality then you’re only 5% deformed, so I’d say that’s within acceptable limits…




        • Haha – sometimes, but this blog has thrown up some comments and posts by others that have left me, at times, completely gobsmacked.


      • Hi Abbey – I replied to your lovely post yesterday, but I’m not sure that WordPress registered it.

        But just to say thank you for your concern – and yes, I think yoga will probably clear up the energy flowlines through my body.

        I, like you, have an aversion to surgery, only because I do believe (like Steve) that the body has what I call a “self-righting mechanism,” a bit like yachts that get tossed around in storms at sea.

        I think the body too has a natural inclination to be healthy, and all you have to do is facilitate that. Yoga, I believe, is a way of doing that.

        Also, feel free to intrude any time you like and ask whatever questions occur to you. It’s always great to hear from you. And also, that’s what this blog is all about!



    • Hey Julian, quite a few years ago my knee doctor told me to get onto a rowing machine at a gym. I hate gyms but I took his advice, and it did fix the knee for several years – until I hit the Pyrenees!

      It might be worth a go tho…



  7. Hi Abbey, firstly, thank you for your concern. That’s so very sweet of you.

    I’m not a big fan of surgery either. I was advised to have the inside of my patella shaved out quite a while ago, and I refused. Instead I took up cycling and strengthened my legs, which helped my knee.

    But I’ve done yoga most of my adult life, after I broke my spine in a car accident when I was young. I still have two metal plates screwed into my spine from that accident, and that’s where my knee problems stem from, because in the same accident I got a compound fracture of my leg. I ended up losing a bit of length off the leg, and that ended up impacting on my knee.

    So, I think stepping up my yoga practice is the go – and hopefully that will sort the numbness. As for the knee, I think an MRI is worth doing, then I’ll see what they say. But in the meantime, I’ll concentrate on those yoga poses that strengthen the quadriceps.

    I’ll regard the knife as the last resort, thanks Abbey!



  8. I am very lucky. After being diagnosed with nerve entrapment, i went to a massage therapist that understood this issue and fix it. No pills, doctord, MRI, etc. She knows how to manipulate the tissue around the nerve. i got inmediate improvement. The body then heals itself. Hope you find someone that can help you and get better soon for your next camino.


    • Ariam, that’s really good to know. Thank you.

      Was your nerve entrapment to do with your foot? And how long did it take to heal?



      • I have it on my left foot, back of the leg, and shoulder. I experince 60% improvement on the first session. It helps me with my posture, and with my Pilates,yoga and ballet. She said the body is all connected. From the head, she do a cranial massage to release the spinal fluid, then the back and the hips, this is very important, most of the leg and foot problems come from the hip. Im concentrating in my posture , making sure im not rolling my feet out and flexibility. The key is to strech every day. I have not started to walk yet and that is another set of muscles. I had the knee surgery(cleaning loose cartilages) at the beg of this year and my knee is sore most of the time. It has not stopped me from my activities. The key is to find someone that can strech your body and you to do your streching excercises. By the way, i am over 60 but i am not old!


  9. Bill, many years ago I had surgery on my left foot. [ 3 separate occasions] It has never been the same since. A broken pin remains in my foot, with some fragments already removed. Every day is a challenge and as a teacher who is on her feet most of the time, I am permanently in pain and can only wear flat shoes. [ When reading of Jill’s problem, I thought of myself as lucky because heels are not an issue] I am confident in my Asolo boots for my Camino.
    I am also one who has avoided knee surgery for several years now, and am inspired by your posting and that of others, to make sure I do as much as possible to strengthen my body before I set out. My surgeon suggested I walk to strengthen my muscles and surgery was a last resort. [refreshing words from one who earns a living from the scalpel]
    Time to get out and about on this very cold, damp afternoon and do some training.
    Thankyou all for sharing your advice. Does anyone have any suggestions for doing yoga alone as there are no classes near where I live?


    • Hi Anne – I do yoga alone all the time. There are some very good books if you are starting out –

      BKS IYENGAR’S books on yoga are a good start, but the book I started to with years ago was James Hewitt’s THE COMPLETE YOGA book.

      It’s a classic, and it’s the one I always come back to. Then it’s just a matter of discipline!! Every morning or evening, same time each day.

      Good luck!



    • Pick a time for your session and stick to it, no excuses. If you are familiar with yoga, work out a program -start at 15 minutes and work up to an hour.When I put my first program together, rather than looking at poses in a book and writing them down, I made an audio tape to follow so I didn’t lose flow or focus. If soft music helps you relax, use it, or some nature sounds.And don’t ever forget to stretch thoroughly before you begin, and when you are done as a cool down. I use yoga as a therapy for a degenerative muscle syndrome, and visualising the muscle stretching out as I elongated the pose helped me get much further, and keep my balance.It has been a great help, but you have to stay with it. If you can cool down in a hottub or whirlpool,all the better. Enjoy yourself!


      • Hi Abbey, your story of the following pilgrim is not surprising. As you say, you are pulling up the energies of all those who have been before you. And they are very persuasive for those who are energetically predisposed towards them.

        As you must be.



  10. Big Hug Bill…..!!!!! I had thought maybe I was a bit crazy to post that. Thank you for your kind and positive response. :o)


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