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Foot and Ankle Care

When you have a foot or ankle condition, the most basic activities — from walking through the grocery store to driving your car — can become a challenge.

Look to UC San Diego Health to treat your foot or ankle problem. We are repeatedly ranked among the nation's best in orthopedic care by U.S. News & World Report.

UC San Diego Health is the Official Health Care Provider of the San Diego Padres. We are also a designated Center of Excellence for orthopedic care by Optum, which means you'll receive expert, safe and cost-effective care.

When to See a Foot and Ankle Specialist

UC San Diego Health Ranked Nationally in Orthopedics

If you have foot or ankle pain that lasts more than a week, you should see a foot and ankle specialist. An early diagnosis and the right treatment can prevent you from doing serious or permanent damage to your foot or ankle.

Do I Need a Referral for Orthopedic Care?

You can make an appointment with one of our foot and ankle specialists directly without a referral. If you have an HMO, however, your insurance plan may require referral from your primary care physician.

Conditions Treated

Your UC San Diego Health team treats all types of foot and ankle conditions, such as:

  • Arthritis, including stiff big toe (hallux rigidus)
  • Achilles tendon injuries, including Haglund’s disease
  • Ankle sprains
  • Bunions
  • Fractures
  • Hammertoe
  • Heel pain
  • Lisfranc injuries
  • Morton's neuroma and other nerve disorders
  • Plantar fasciitis
  • Sesamoiditis

Evaluation and Diagnosis

At UC San Diego Health, you receive a complete work up of your foot or ankle condition. This includes a careful review of your health history, current symptoms, a physical exam, and X-rays. You may also be asked to bring in the shoes you wear. An MRI or bone scan may be performed if there are inconsistencies in your diagnosis, symptoms or response to treatment. Once you have a diagnosis, you and your doctor can discuss your treatment options and goals.

Comprehensive Care

Your UC San Diego Health care team includes a podiatrist, orthopedic surgeon, nurse practitioner and physician assistant. Together, they provide you with comprehensive care for your condition. If your foot or ankle condition is related to a sports injury, our athletic trainer can help you regain high-level function and performance with targeted exercise for your sport.

Nonsurgical Care

Many foot and ankle conditions respond well to nonsurgical treatment that may include:

  • Functional rehabilitation
  • Gait retraining
  • Bracing
  • Injections
  • Shoe and orthotics advice

See Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation for more information on our comprehensive nonsurgical care for orthopedic injuries and conditions.

Surgical Care

If you are still experiencing problems after conservative care, you and your orthopedic surgeon may discuss surgical options. We offer a full spectrum of surgical approaches to restore function, promote healing and reduce the risk of loss of motion and pain, including:

  • Ankle reconstruction and replacement 
  • Bone fusions for foot deformities
  • Bunion surgery
  • Nerve decompression and release surgeries
  • Open reduction and internal fixation surgeries for fractures
  • Repair or reconstruction of tendon tears, including tendon transfer surgery
  • Stem cell aspiration

More About Foot and Ankle Conditions

For more general information about foot and ankle conditions, visit our Health Library:

Orthopedics Appointments & Referrals

Foot and Ankle Specialists

Non-Surgical Orthopedic Care

Sports Medicine in Primary Care

Many foot and ankle conditions can be diagnosed and treated by one of our primary care physicians (PCPs) with expertise in sports medicine. 


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