Foot and Ankle Care

Sonya Ahmed, MD, foot and ankle surgeon, talks about how she developed an interest in her specialty and about what makes UC San Diego Health unique.

At UC San Diego Health, we embrace a multidisciplinary approach to caring for foot and ankle injuries. Our specialists include a surgeon, physical therapists, athletic trainer and nurse practitioner who have extensive training in the diagnosis and treatment of a wide range of foot and ankle problems, including cartilage and tendon injuries, osteoarthritis, fractures, sports-related injuries and other foot pain.

Prior to meeting with our surgeon, our expert physical therapists and certified nurse practitioner can provide services for conditions requiring immediate treatment including functional rehabilitation, gait retraining, bracing, injections, and shoe and orthotics advice. They can also help you determine whether you are a candidate for surgery, and what you can expect from surgery if you decide it's the right option for you.

Conditions We Treat

The foot and ankle is a complex structure of 26 bones connected by muscles, joints and soft tissues that allow us to stand upright, balance and perform activities like walking, jumping and running. Every day, the average person takes 8,000 to 10,000 steps, making the foot and ankle susceptible to stresses, pain and injury. Foot and ankle conditions we treat include:

Surgery and Other Treatment for Foot and Ankle Conditions

Many conditions can be treated through physical therapy, braces or non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medications.

Surgery can be a more effective therapy for a variety of injuries found commonly in high-caliber athletes who need to get back in the game quickly, patients who have experienced repeat or severe injuries or patients whose injuries do not heal following other treatment methods. Surgical treatments can offer more effective deformity correction, a decreased likelihood of relapse, and ultimately, a faster road to recovery. 

While surgery can be effective, it requires extensive rehabilitation and a period of immobilization during which no weight can be placed on the foot or ankle.

Our physicians provide the latest treatments for foot and ankle problems. As an academic health system, we are constantly developing new, more effective methods of evaluating and treating our patients. For example, a stress fracture in an athlete’s foot or ankle may not be able to heal for a year or more. A surgical technique used to compress the bone, combined with new therapies like bone marrow aspiration and bone grafting, can stimulate healing and unite the fractured bones more quickly.

Surgical treatments we offer include:

  • Open reduction and internal fixation of fractures within the foot or ankle
  • Repair or reconstruction of tendon tears
  • Ankle replacement due to severe arthritis
  • Bone fusions for painful chronic foot deformities
  • Bunion surgery
  • Stem cell aspiration
  • Bone regeneration
  • Cartilage tissue engineering

Appointments & Referrals


La Jolla


Our Specialists

Foot and Ankle Surgeon is Athlete at Heart

Ahmed Sonya

Dr. Sonya Ahmed is the chief of foot and ankle surgery in the Department of Orthopaedic Surgery at UC San Diego Health. See how this 1996 Olympic hopeful vaulted her way through medical school. Read article.

Online Resources