UVA’s Department of Orthopaedic Surgery now has three full-time, fellowship-trained orthopaedic foot and ankle specialists. The newest member of the team is orthopaedic surgeon M. Truitt Cooper, MD. “It is unique to have three full-time foot and ankle orthopaedists,” says Cooper. “It’s definitely an advantage. We work closely together, interacting and discussing cases daily. It’s a real team approach to complicated foot and ankle care.”
We spoke to Cooper about his clinical focus and how to know when your patients need to see a foot and ankle specialist.
When did you begin your tenure at UVA?
I started in April this year. Before that, I was in practice in Richmond for five years.
You attended medical school at UVA — how does it feel to be back?
I was excited for the opportunity to return to UVA. There are obvious benefits to being part of a large center like UVA; in addition to direct patient care, I’ll have the ability to teach and do research.
What will be your areas of focus in terms of research?
I am just getting started on research efforts here. In the past, I have been involved in studies dealing with forefoot deformities. Soon, we hope to begin working on studies related to cartilage problems in the ankle. I’m also specifically interested in ankle replacements. They’ve come a long way in the past five to 10 years. In the past, the only option for a lot of patients was an ankle fusion. Now, with improved techniques and technology, implants are becoming more common.
What are the most common conditions you treat?
My specialty is all types of foot problems, from the ankle to the toes, including: traumatic injury, arthritis, fractures, deformities, flat foot, bunions, Achilles tendon problems and diabetic foot conditions.
When should a patient be referred to a foot and ankle specialist?
If you are a primary care doctor and you see a patient who just isn’t getting better, then a referral may be necessary, or if you are an orthopaedist and you feel the patient may need to have more advanced treatment. We are happy to see anyone and we’re committed to arranging appointments for those patients with acute injury within a couple of days. For patients with chronic problems like tendonitis, we will work to accommodate them as soon as possible.
Where can patients be seen for foot and ankle problems?
We see patients daily at the UVA Musculoskeletal Center at Fontaine and at UVA Primary and Specialty Care Zion Crossroads three days a week on Mondays, Wednesdays and Thursdays.
Watch the video below to learn more about Truitt Cooper, MD.