by Brad Hayman, DPM, Complete Foot & Ankle Care
Arizona is a great state for outdoor activity, particularly hiking. In the local area, the City of Prescott, state and federal lands offer miles of scenic trails and maps to assist in hikes at all levels of ability.
Shoes, boots and orthotic inserts are important to protect and maintain good foot health while enjoying outdoor activities. While shoes and boots are mainly for protection of feet while walking, they also serve the function of support to minimize the risk from foot pain and injury.
When venturing out to explore Arizona’s trails it is important to take precautions against such things as dehydration, injury, getting lost or contact with wild animals, snakes, cactus or other desert creatures.
Being prepared is important while hiking.
A backpack with water, electrolytes, cellphone, first-aid kit, GPS and even a satellite phone can be a lifesaver when navigating the desert and/or national forest.
Certain boot brands are well suited for hiking such as Hoka and Altra. A proper fit is critical including wearing high quality cotton socks and protective inserts or orthotics. Orthotics can be over-the-counter or a custom fit devices most often prescribed and fitted by a podiatrist.
Assessing one’s physical ability is important. If hiking is a new activity starting slow is advisable on relatively level ground. As conditioning and experience improves more challenging trails can be hiked safely.
Finally, as with many activities, it is always a good idea to hike with another person or group. If something does happen help can take quite awhile to get to you, particularly in more remote areas of Arizona.
Have fun, be safe and enjoy our amazing state.