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Proper Footwear for Hiking

Proper Footwear for Hiking

Proper Footwear for Hiking

PHOENIX - A lack of proper gear is one of the leading causes of injuries on Valley trails, firefighters say.

The Phoenix Fire Department says crews have been called to assist several hikers recently who sustained injuries that could have been prevented had people worn more appropriate clothing.

Proper Footwear for Hiking

"The shoes seem to be a big deal," said Phoenix firefighter David Baumgartner. "Like, shoes that only have foam soles. You definitely need good rubber, good shoes that conform to your feet."

Not doing so can lead to a variety of injuries, including twisted ankles, broken bones and general discomfort when walking. Baumgartner said he has seen hikers out wearing everything from flip-flops to dress shoes.

The fire department also asks hikers to bring plenty of water, pick trails that are appropriate for one's physical abilities and to wear loose-fitting clothing that protects from the sun.

Hiking safety tips to keep you and your family safe:

■ If you have medical conditions discuss them with your health care provider before departing.

■ Plan your hike.

■ Tell family member where you will be hiking and when you will return.

■ Wear proper clothing and have essentials. Examples below:

1. Light weight clothes

2. Light colored clothes

3. Proper shoes

4. Hat

5. Sunscreen

6. Sunglasses

7. Granola bar

8. Plenty of water

9. Cell phone

10. Tweezers (for removing stray cactus needles)

■ Carry plenty of water with you and drink constantly even if you do not feel thirsty.

■ Avoid caffeine or alcohol as these dehydrate the body.

■ Hike in groups of at least two.

■ Put slower hikers in front and pace the group to that person.

■ Stay on the trails to avoid injury.

■ Be aware of your surroundings.

■ Have fun!

There is no other agency in the United States that goes on as many mountain rescues as the Phoenix Fire Department. Piestewa Peak has over 100,000 visitors alone every year. Besides Piestewa Peak, there also are Camelback, North, Papago, Southand Lookout & Shadow mountains.

More Mountain Rescues Than Ever

More mountain rescues are being done than ever before.  On the average, two or three deaths are caused every year because people were not wise as they climbed mountain trails.

When you visit our mountain parks, remember these seven basic rules:

  1. If you have any doubt at all as to whether you should climb a trail or mountain, DON'T. The climb up can be difficult but the climb down is always more difficult.  See the trails rating guide and look for the icon on each trail's hiking map.
  2. Be sure to wear proper footwear. This would include hiking boots or high top sneakers; something with plenty of ankle support. Twisted ankles are the most common injury on mountain trails.
  3. During the summer, the sun is a major factor. Be sure to wear something that provides protection from the sun - cool, loose-fitting clothing with long sleeves. Wear a hat or sun visor and be sure to have plenty of water with you.
  4. Stay on the trail. This is where most people get in trouble. First, the trail is the safest place to be. Second, the mountain parks are protected areas. When a hiker leaves the trail, he or she is defacing the area and there are laws against this.
  5. Remember that the parks are closed from dusk to dawn. It is against the law to be in them during this time. When someone finds themselves in trouble on a mountain trail in the dark, rescuers put themselves at risk to help them. It is a high risk operation to find someone in the mountains at night, fly a helicopter near a mountain or rappel at night. Please be smart about what you're doing.
  6. Don't play at rappelling if you don't know what you're doing. Take lessons and do it the right way. Know your limitations.
  7. Make sure somebody knows where you are going and when you are scheduled to return.


Dr. Kris Dinucci