FOOT & ANKLE research

Research conducted by the Foot & Ankle Institute starts with one goal: improve our patient outcomes while increasing the treatments available for our patients.

The physicians at OrthoCarolina’s Foot & Ankle Institute are among the nation’s leading experts in the treatment of foot and ankle problems. Patients travel from around the country to receive advanced care from our physicians, who are all fellowship-trained.

OCRI staff and Foot & Ankle surgeons spearhead clinical research through a fast and innovative research approach. The team studies a wide spectrum of cases ranging from bunions to high energy trauma injuries like calcaneus fractures. The aim is to improve the outcomes of surgical procedures including total ankle arthroplasty, cheilectomy, and fibular sesamoidectomy.


“It makes you feel good that you’re helping other people and that you can be a part of something progressing some kind of medical advancement.”



By participating in Foot & Ankle research studies, volunteer participants can make a real impact in the outcomes of future foot and ankle orthopedic patients.

  • Perform approximately 6500 Foot and Ankle procedures and 2000 surgeries each year
  • Perform 86 Total Ankle Procedures annually
  • Largest volume of elite athlete surgeries at approximately 100 annually
  • Authored and published more than 232 peer-reviewed scientific articles on foot and ankle surgery and more than 68 book chapters
  • Editors in chief of peer review journals/textbooks
  • Speak at national and international scientific meetings on foot and ankle surgery
  • Actively involved in surgeon education world-wide; develop training techniques and manuals
  • Local education includes premier fellowship in the country and Atrium residency program
  • Actively involved in the development of multiple implants including TAR, Charcot, plates, screws, staples and braces

Putting her best foot forward

Sue Dockstader and Dr. Bruce Cohen discuss a new Achilles repair technique that uses a small incision and allows surgeons to perform the procedure with less pain and less wound healing problems.  In this particular study, they’re finding that patients are returning to activities sooner than using older techniques.