Monday 13 October 2014

Tendinitis - My new hiking companion

This was day 9 of our almost one month long Camino de Santiago adventure. Click on the Camino de Santiago label to see all related posts.

In the morning when I climbed down from my bunk bed I almost lost my balance. My leg still hurt like hell. I knew it would probably get a bit better after the first few steps, but I did not know how much better. It really did. A little bit.
Despite all that I was already determined to try walking and see how it went. I was not going down without a fight!

Tendinitis (also tendonitis) is an inflammation of a tendon, which attaches the muscle to the bone. Usually it appears after muscles already got adapted to harder workout, because tendons need more time for adaptation. With use of anti-inflammatory medications and conservative treatment (mostly rest) the condition usually starts getting better after 2-3 days.
We did not have those 2-3 days of rest planned and if we went for it, it meant we would have to turn to alternative means of transportation in order to get to Santiago in time for our flight home. We obviously did not want that to happen.

We had a simple breakfast in the albergue. Although this time it was an all-you-can-eat type of breakfast we figured out that breakfasts in albergues were usually not worth the price. It was much better to stop somewhere along the way and have a proper bocadillo (that's a sandwich) for more or less the same price.

After breakfast M. helped me put a compression bandage on my sore leg. Up until that point she had been using both our bandages under socks to prevent direct contact of socks with her skin. By then cheap cotton socks from the Chinese shop were thoroughly tested and seemed to be working fine.

When we started walking it definitely felt a little better when compared to the previous day. So we kept walking. Slowly. This time M. had to seriously slow down so that I could keep up with her. I learned that stopping and taking a break is much worse compared to keeping a slow and steady pace.
Obviously we had to stop for food at some point and used the opportunity for another ice massage. It helped ease the pain for a while and it also brought down the small swelling.

We walked through some charming old villages and after a while endless wheat fields were replaced by young pine tree forest. A strong smell of pine trees mixed with blooming yellow bushes called Spanish broom was in the air. The views were great but the smells were even better. If only I could appreciate the beauty. I mainly focused on walking - it is interesting how much effort one has to put into a simple task like walking in extreme situations like this.

A section of the way we walked together with Mr. Sever (a typical Slovenian surname) and his wife. We learned they were a retired couple from the States, with ancestors in Slovenia. They did not know much more than that.
It was great talking to them - it helped me take the pain off my mind for a while and kilometres just flew by during that time.

Despite some Votaren anti-inflammatory gel and a pill of Ibuprofen (a pain reliever with anti-inflammatory effects) the pain got worse with every kilometre and we decided to call it a day a bit earlier than planned.

We stopped at Agés after walking 27 kilometres from Belorado. Our initial plan was to do a few more kilometres but regarding the situation we were more than happy with the achieved result.

Agés seemed like a cute little village from the distance, but I was just too tired to go exploring before dinner. We stayed at the Albergue municipal de Agés. In addition to many new acquaintances we also recognized some familiar faces. The rest of the evening was spent over a glass (or three) of wine, exchanging experiences with fellow pilgrims.

We also seized the opportunity to share a washing machine with a Hungarian guy. Even though we did not have many dirty clothes it was nice to skip manual laundry work for a day.

Clicking on any one of above photos will reveal them all in a much more flattering resolution.


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