Tired, swollen and blistered feet are among the biggest challenges for the thousands of Central American migrants making their way through southern Mexico in hopes of starting new lives in the United States.

Three weeks of pounding the hot asphalt of highways every day takes a toll, especially for those plodding along in flimsy flip flops. Whenever possible, the migrants discard damaged footwear, replacing them with donated shoes found at stops along the way or with spare pairs they carry in backpacks.

In this Oct. 31, 2018 photo, flies cover one of the blisters on Honduran migrant Gerson Noel Rivas' toes as the U.S.-bound Central American migrant caravan makes a stop in Juchitan, Mexico, after a day of walking. Three weeks of pounding the hot asphalt of highways every day takes a toll, especially for those plodding along in flimsy flip flops. (AP Photo/Rodrigo Abd)
In this Oct. 31, 2018 photo, flies cover one of the blisters on Honduran migrant Gerson Noel Rivas’ toes as the U.S.-bound Central American migrant caravan makes a stop in Juchitan, Mexico, after a day of walking. Three weeks of pounding the hot asphalt of highways every day takes a toll, especially for those plodding along in flimsy flip flops. (AP Photo/Rodrigo Abd)

The most grueling days demand treks of more than 100 miles (160 kilometers). Migrants eager to find strength in numbers must keep that pace to remain with the group. And they do so in cheap shoes and sweat-drenched socks, which they eagerly peel off at the end of each day.

FILE - In this Oct. 29, 2018 file photo, a man who injured his leg by bumping into a pipe while walking in the dark holds on to the outside of a truck, as a caravan of Central Americans continues its slow march toward the U.S. border, in Tapanatepec, Mexico. The most grueling days demand treks of more than 100 miles (160 kilometers), as migrants eager to find strength in numbers must keep that pace to remain with the group. (AP Photo/Rebecca Blackwell, File)
FILE – In this Oct. 29, 2018 file photo, a man who injured his leg by bumping into a pipe while walking in the dark holds on to the outside of a truck, as a caravan of Central Americans continues its slow march toward the U.S. border, in Tapanatepec, Mexico. The most grueling days demand treks of more than 100 miles (160 kilometers), as migrants eager to find strength in numbers must keep that pace to remain with the group. (AP Photo/Rebecca Blackwell, File)

Blisters are a nasty foe for migrant feet, young and old alike. Red Cross personnel at waystations bandage swollen feet or apply antiseptic to broken blisters. Children wince as their wounds are treated. Flies gather on open sores. The risk of infection is high.

FILE - In this Oct. 26, 2018 file photo, a migrant with bandaged feet rests after walking all day with the U.S.-bound caravan, at a shelter in Arriaga, Chiapas state, Mexico.
FILE – In this Oct. 26, 2018 file photo, a migrant with bandaged feet rests after walking all day with the U.S.-bound caravan, at a shelter in Arriaga, Chiapas state, Mexico. “These are extreme conditions,” says Ignacio Escotto, a Mexican vascular surgeon who specializes in treating extremities. (AP Photo/Rodrigo Abd, File)

“These are extreme conditions,” says Ignacio Escotto, a Mexican vascular surgeon who specializes in treating extremities. Unrelenting contact with hot pavement will cause the feet to swell, he says, while dehydration and malnutrition wreak havoc on soft tissue. “At the end of the day, this articulation must be painful.”

FILE - In this Oct. 26, 2018 file photo, a mother comforts her son as blisters on his feet are treated by Mexican Red Cross volunteers, in Arriaga, Chiapas state, Mexico, as the U.S.-bound migrant caravan stops for the night. Many in the caravan have now covered more than 800 miles since setting out from Honduras on Oct. 13, hitching rides when possible, and face another more than 800-mile trek to the nearest U.S. border crossing. (AP Photo/Rebecca Blackwell, File)
FILE – In this Oct. 26, 2018 file photo, a mother comforts her son as blisters on his feet are treated by Mexican Red Cross volunteers, in Arriaga, Chiapas state, Mexico, as the U.S.-bound migrant caravan stops for the night. Many in the caravan have now covered more than 800 miles since setting out from Honduras on Oct. 13, hitching rides when possible, and face another more than 800-mile trek to the nearest U.S. border crossing. (AP Photo/Rebecca Blackwell, File)

Yet the migrants hobble through the pain, determined to reach the U.S. They grin and bear it as they limp along. Those who can no longer take it bow out of the caravan. The Mexican government says around 3,000 migrants have applied for refuge in Mexico in recent weeks and about 500 have asked for assistance to return to their countries of origin.

FILE - In this Nov. 2, 2018 file photo, Central American migrants are reflected in water onto side of the road as they begin their morning trek in Donaji, Oaxaca state, Mexico. U.S.-bound migrants walk in cheap shoes and sweat-drenched socks, which they eagerly peel off at the end of each day. (AP Photo/Marco Ugarte, File)
FILE – In this Nov. 2, 2018 file photo, Central American migrants are reflected in water onto side of the road as they begin their morning trek in Donaji, Oaxaca state, Mexico. U.S.-bound migrants walk in cheap shoes and sweat-drenched socks, which they eagerly peel off at the end of each day. (AP Photo/Marco Ugarte, File)

On Sunday, 21-year-old Marisol Salamanca dug into a pile of donated shoes at a sports facility in Cordoba in search of a replacement for the sandals she has padded around in since leaving El Salvador several weeks earlier. “I keep tripping and hurting myself,” she said.

FILE - In this Oct. 25, 2018 file photo, oranges sit in the flip flops of members of a U.S.-bound caravan of Central American migrants as their owners take a dip in a river in Pijijiapan, Mexico. Inspired by their progress and outpouring of support from townspeople along the way, several smaller caravans of migrants have formed in Central America in recent weeks in an attempt to improve their odds of making it to the U.S. (AP Photo/Rodrigo Abd, File)
FILE – In this Oct. 25, 2018 file photo, oranges sit in the flip flops of members of a U.S.-bound caravan of Central American migrants as their owners take a dip in a river in Pijijiapan, Mexico. Inspired by their progress and outpouring of support from townspeople along the way, several smaller caravans of migrants have formed in Central America in recent weeks in an attempt to improve their odds of making it to the U.S. (AP Photo/Rodrigo Abd, File)

Darwin Hueso, a 39-year-old-farmer from Honduras, was also thrilled to find fresh shoes, even though they were a bit tight and formal. The soles of the work boots he has been wearing for more than 21 days are inflexible and tough.

FILE - In this Oct. 25, 2018 file photo, a Honduran couple, who received medical treatment for burned faces and injured feet, rest as a U.S.-bound caravan of Central American migrants stops for the night in Pijijiapan, Chiapas state, Mexico. Blisters are a nasty foe for migrant feet, young and old alike, as Red Cross personnel at way stations bandage swollen feet or apply antiseptic to broken blisters. (AP Photo/Rebecca Blackwell, File)
FILE – In this Oct. 25, 2018 file photo, a Honduran couple, who received medical treatment for burned faces and injured feet, rest as a U.S.-bound caravan of Central American migrants stops for the night in Pijijiapan, Chiapas state, Mexico. Blisters are a nasty foe for migrant feet, young and old alike, as Red Cross personnel at way stations bandage swollen feet or apply antiseptic to broken blisters. (AP Photo/Rebecca Blackwell, File)

Adan Lara Barahona, 62, a wiry rancher from Potrerillos, Honduras, dismissed the blisters on his feet as a minor nuisance. “They are drying out already,” he said, complaining instead of dizziness brought on by a severe respiratory infection.

FILE - In this Oct. 21, 2018 file photo, a Honduran migrant's blistered feet are covered in talcum powder during a stop in Tecun Uman, Guatemala. Migrants are hobbling through pain, determined to reach the U.S., while those who can no longer take it bow out of the caravan. (AP Photo/Oliver de Ros, File)
FILE – In this Oct. 21, 2018 file photo, a Honduran migrant’s blistered feet are covered in talcum powder during a stop in Tecun Uman, Guatemala. Migrants are hobbling through pain, determined to reach the U.S., while those who can no longer take it bow out of the caravan. (AP Photo/Oliver de Ros, File)

There’s no turning back for Lara Barahona, who says gangs killed his wife and two of his children seven months ago when he didn’t pay them protection money.

FILE - In this Oct. 29, 2018 file photo, members of a Central American migrant caravan get a free ride on a truck near Tapanatepec, Mexico. The Mexican government says around 3,000 migrants have applied for refuge in Mexico in recent weeks and about 500 have asked for assistance to return to their countries of origin. (AP Photo/Rebecca Blackwell, File)
FILE – In this Oct. 29, 2018 file photo, members of a Central American migrant caravan get a free ride on a truck near Tapanatepec, Mexico. The Mexican government says around 3,000 migrants have applied for refuge in Mexico in recent weeks and about 500 have asked for assistance to return to their countries of origin. (AP Photo/Rebecca Blackwell, File)

Many of the about 4,000 migrants in the caravan have now covered more than 800 miles since setting out from Honduras on Oct. 13, hitching rides on flatbed trucks when possible and they face another more than 800-mile trek to the nearest U.S. border crossing. Clamors have grown in recent days for buses to transport scores from the caravan to the Mexican capital, where the fatigued travelers hope to find respite and medical treatment. Those buses haven’t come.

FILE - In this Oct. 26, 2018 file photo, Mexican Red Cross volunteers treat the blistered and cut feet of Central American migrants as their U.S.-bound caravan stops for the night in Arriaga, Mexico. Clamors have grown for buses to transport scores from the caravan to the Mexican capital, where the fatigued travelers hope to find respite and medical treatment, but those buses haven't come. (AP Photo/Rebecca Blackwell, File)
FILE – In this Oct. 26, 2018 file photo, Mexican Red Cross volunteers treat the blistered and cut feet of Central American migrants as their U.S.-bound caravan stops for the night in Arriaga, Mexico. Clamors have grown for buses to transport scores from the caravan to the Mexican capital, where the fatigued travelers hope to find respite and medical treatment, but those buses haven’t come. (AP Photo/Rebecca Blackwell, File)

The group now finds itself in the Gulf state of Veracruz, traversing what some call the “route of death” because of the large number of migrants who have disappeared in the state in recent years. It is unclear what part of the U.S. border they will aim for eventually, but their latest overnight stay in Veracruz could be one of their last before they head to Mexico City, a potential launching spot for a broader array of destinations.

In this Nov. 4, 2018 photo, a girl chooses from donated shoes as members of a U.S.-bound Central American migrant caravan rest at a shelter in Cordoba, Veracruz state, Mexico. The group now finds itself in the Gulf state of Veracruz, traversing what some call the
In this Nov. 4, 2018 photo, a girl chooses from donated shoes as members of a U.S.-bound Central American migrant caravan rest at a shelter in Cordoba, Veracruz state, Mexico. The group now finds itself in the Gulf state of Veracruz, traversing what some call the “route of death” because of the large number of migrants who have disappeared in the state in recent years. (AP Photo/Rodrigo Abd)

Inspired by their progress and outpouring of support from townspeople along the way, several smaller caravans of migrants have formed in Central America in recent weeks in an attempt to improve their odds of making it to the U.S.

FILE - In this Nov. 3, 2018 file photo, a Central American migrant from the U.S.-bound caravan carries his shoes after a day of walking, in Acayucan, Veracruz state, Mexico. Whenever possible, the migrants discard damaged footwear, replacing them with donated shoes found at stops along the way or with spare pairs they carry in backpacks. (AP Photo/Marco Ugarte, File)
FILE – In this Nov. 3, 2018 file photo, a Central American migrant from the U.S.-bound caravan carries his shoes after a day of walking, in Acayucan, Veracruz state, Mexico. Whenever possible, the migrants discard damaged footwear, replacing them with donated shoes found at stops along the way or with spare pairs they carry in backpacks. (AP Photo/Marco Ugarte, File)

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FILE - In this Nov. 3, 2018 file photo, Central American migrants from a U.S.-bound caravan get a free ride in the trunk of a taxi in Acayucan, Veracruz state, Mexico. It is unclear what part of the U.S. border they will aim for eventually, but their latest overnight stay in Veracruz could be one of their last before they head to Mexico City, a potential launching spot for a broader array of destinations. (AP Photo/Marco Ugarte, File)
FILE – In this Nov. 3, 2018 file photo, Central American migrants from a U.S.-bound caravan get a free ride in the trunk of a taxi in Acayucan, Veracruz state, Mexico. It is unclear what part of the U.S. border they will aim for eventually, but their latest overnight stay in Veracruz could be one of their last before they head to Mexico City, a potential launching spot for a broader array of destinations. (AP Photo/Marco Ugarte, File)

Source: The Associated Press

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