Caring for your feet is fundamental for pilgrims, so you should pay great attention to it. It is important to maintain a preventive attitude: apply Vaseline daily before setting out on your journey to prevent blisters from appearing. Wash them often and massage them with an anti-fatigue cream to refresh them. The most sensitive and susceptible areas to damage are the soles of the feet, heels and the spaces between the toes.
To avoid bruising, pay attention to your socks, which should preferably be cotton and seamless. If you use hiking boots, you can put on another pair of wool socks in addition to the cotton ones. It is very important to keep these clothes clean and to wash them frequently as much as possible.
Bear in mind that the characteristics of the walk or the state of the weather sometimes make it necessary to relieve tiredness and tension in the lower extremities, especially the feet. You can therefore take advantage of short breaks (no more than 5-10 minutes) to unlace your shoes and rest with your feet up or cool your feet in fountains or streams where you can wash them. But if it is important to cool your feet, it is even more important to dry them carefully, preferably in the air, as excess moisture can lead to the appearance of mycosis, a fungal colonisation commonly known as “athlete’s foot”.
When treating blistered feet, it is essential never to remove the skin, as this will serve as protection and help to heal and regenerate the weak area. You must be equipped with hypodermic syringes, which you will use to prick the blisters in one or two places to encourage complete drainage. Once drained, you will place a gel bandage of a size adapted to the size of the blister and a plaster over it. These treatments should be removed before washing the feet. Once your feet are dry, you can apply a new bandage. You will also repeat the treatment the next day before walking again. If the blister reforms, puncture it again to extract the fluid. Alternatively, to achieve the same effect, you can more sparsely use a fire-sterilised needle and a thread with which to pierce the blister from side to side, leaving the two ends on the outside overnight, and then remove the thread in the morning, disinfecting everything before starting again.
If cracks appear between the toes, which can sometimes produce itchiness and pain, it will probably be the aforementioned mycosis. Correct hygiene and meticulous drying are essential to treat it. A pharmacist should also be consulted, who will recommend the use of antifungal drugs with a nebuliser or spray. The use of ointments or creams is not recommended for this case, because they could make the area more moist and encourage the proliferation of fungi, thus substantially worsening the problem. The operation must be repeated after each wash, before starting the day and at the end of it.
So don’t forget a small first-aid kit with everything you need to care for your feet and protect your skin see the appropriate section