John S. Reach, Jr., MD, director of Yale Medicine’s Foot & Ankle service, is one of the few orthopaedic surgeons in the country who is skilled in performing every available type of ankle replacement surgery.
Dr. Reach specializes in using both surgical and nonsurgical approaches to treat injuries and conditions that affect the ankle, foot and lower leg. He is skilled in the use of simple and complex surgical procedures, as well as such nonsurgical approaches as injections for pain and swelling, braces, medications and orthotics. “The majority of patients who come to see me don’t get major surgery,” Dr. Reach says. “They can sometimes avoid the bigger surgery when I do a smaller procedure or something nonoperative.”
Depending on the complexity of their problem, others find surgery can make all the difference. “For example, if you can’t run and you’ve been running before, and you have pain in your ankle, we can replace your ankle, and you can get back to doing what you want to do,” Dr. Reach says.
An associate professor of orthopaedics and rehabilitation at Yale School of Medicine, Dr. Reach is considered a pioneer in using advanced musculoskeletal ultrasound imagery to help target injections to reduce pain and swelling. He does research in the area of transplantation of cartilage from other parts of the body to improve function in the knee or ankle.
Dr. Reach is also an inventor and implant designer, and serves as consultant for orthopaedic, imaging and insurance companies. “Because I can focus on this subspecialty, I’m up on the newest research. I know what’s coming,” he says. “If I don’t know something, it doesn’t exist yet.”