Each foot is made up of 26 bones, 30 joints and more than 100 muscles, tendons and ligaments. These generally work smoothly together to allow us to walk thousands of steps every day, play sports and carry out complex tasks. However, failure of any one of these structures to work normally can lead to pain and difficulty in performing work, sport or even day to day activities.

Our team

Our Foot and Ankle team is a multi-professional group consisting of orthopaedic surgeons, podiatrists, orthotists, physiotherapists and nurses with the expertise to diagnose and treat the broad variety of conditions that can affect the foot and ankle at all ages.

Podiatrists specialise in the non-operative treatment of foot and ankle conditions.  Our team of podiatrists have gained additional training and skills to be able to provide treatment for a range of musculoskeletal conditions of the foot and ankle, including orthotic management, steroid injections and ultrasound scans.  Our podiatrists are usually the first port of call in the management of ankle pain, plantar fasciitis, Morton’s neuroma, great toe and lesser toe conditions. 

Our team also gains from the input of two advanced practice physiotherapists who help both with the initial management of foot and ankle conditions but also with the rehabilitation after surgery.  We pride ourselves in the close working relationship between the various disciplines.   We also work closely with other medical specialists including rheumatologists, diabetic physicians and vascular surgeons.

Our work

We perform hundreds of operations each year. As you would expect with the complexity of the foot and ankle there are dozens of different operations that we perform. These may be for the treatment of painful arthritis, deformity, nerve, ligament or tendon problems. Some of the operations are very routine and performed weekly, others are very uncommon and only for rare conditions. We choose our treatment options on the best evidence available. The operations range from simple toe straightening to more complex deformity correction and ankle replacements.  However, all the operations are performed with the same level of skill and care, always aiming for the best outcome for the patient.

We work in close partnership with the University of Edinburgh and with the Division of Podiatry at Queen Margaret University Edinburgh.  As well as collaborating on research, we offer clinical placements and contribute to the delivery of the undergraduate and postgraduate programmes.  The HCPC accredited training programme for surgical podiatrists is delivered jointly by RIE and QMU.

Edinburgh Orthopaedics has always been at the forefront of innovation and the Foot and Ankle Service is no exception. Edinburgh was the first orthopaedic unit in Scotland to have a multidisciplinary foot and ankle team, the first to appoint a specialised Foot and Ankle consultant, the first to appoint a surgical podiatrist and the first to train a surgical podiatrist.  In 2009 we started a multidisciplinary meeting for all those involved in the treatment of foot and ankle problems, which was probably the first of its kind in the UK. It has grown into Foot and Ankle Scotland – with an annual meeting attracting more than 100 delegates from all over Scotland.