Ankle & Foot Surgery

Dr. Barnes - Ankle & Foot Surgery Specialist

Although Dr. Barnes favors a conservative treatment approach to most foot & ankle ailments, there are some conditions that, in many cases and situations, are best treated surgically. These may include: foot and ankle fractures, deep foot infections, severe foot deformities, painful bunions & hammertoes, chronic ankle sprains / instability, tendon tears, and foor or ankle arthritis. At Step Ahead Foot & Ankle Clinic, patients are always given their options and are asked to play a role in their care, whether conservative or surgical.


Dr. Esther Barnes completed her surgical training at one of the most established Podiatric Medicine & Surgical Residency programs in the country, at Presbyterian - St. Luke's Medical Center in Denver, CO. It was during her residency training that she developed the skills to not only perform traditional forefoot surgical procedures (bunion & hammertoe repairs), but also reconstructive rearfoot and ankle surgery, including ankle arthroscopy. At the same time, she prides herself in intertwining her surgical training with her biomechanical background when treating her patients. Dr. Barnes is a diplomat of the American Board of Foot & Ankle Surgery, Certified in Foot and Reconstructive Rearfoot / Ankle Surgery, the highest achievement which can be obtained as a Podiatric Surgeon, and a Fellow of the American College of Foot and Ankle Surgeons.

The Difference between DPMS and MDs / DOs

To learn more about the Education, Training, and Certification of Foot & Ankle Surgeons, The Board Certification Difference and the Practice Difference (between Foot and Ankle Surgeons (DPMS) Board Certified in Foot Surgery and in Reconstructive Rearfoot / Ankle Surgery and Orthopedists (MD/DOs), click here (ACFAS Position Statement).

Minor Procedures in Clinic

At the Step Ahead Foot & Ankle Clinic, Drs. Barnes often perform minor surgical procedures, including ingrown toenail removals, permanent toenail removals, excision of warts, excision of foreign bodies, and minor toe tendon releases. Step Ahead is well equipped with a nice Procedure Room (with nice views) to make this normally uncomfortable experience less uncomfortable.

Surgeries in Hospitals / Surgery Centers

Larger procedures (bunion repairs, all rearfoot and ankle procedures, treatment of foot infections) are performed at either the Surgery Center at the HealthCenter (Kalispell, MT), the Kalispell Regional Medical Center (Kalispell, MT) or at North Valley Hospital (Whitefish, MT). Dr. Barnes maintains privieges with each of these surgical facilities. Not all foot surgeons do, and we encourage you to ask your surgeon whether he/she does maintain hospital privileges prior to seeking care and consultation. Also, we encourage you to seek care and consultation with a Board Certified Foot & Ankle Surgeon, as not all providers are Board Certified. Click here for the link to the American College of Foot & Ankle Surgeons Patient Resource page to learn if your physician is Board Certified (FACFAS after his / her name).

Dr. Barnes is not an employee of either hospital and as such recieves no incentive nor "kick-back" for performing surgies at any particular facility or referring patients to either facility for procedures or special imaging studies. As such, she is able to provide the care that's best for the patient, as she feels all surgeons should.                                                                                                                                                                   Foundation Contact Us

                                                         Office building

Do you need ankle or foot surgery? Call Step Ahead Foot & Clinic, P.C. in Kalispell, MT at (406) 755-2818 to learn more!

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Office Hours:
UPDATE 3/23/20: In attempt to maintain the safety of our patients, employees, and the community, the office is physically closed, other than for the care of patients with urgent concerns / emergenices only. Attempts will be made to return phone calls Monday through Thursday from 9AM to 1PM. Please use the "Request an Appointment" resource above to request an appointment. If an established patient, we encourage you to log into the Patient Portal and send a message to Dr. Barnes or the office with any questions or concerns. Thank you.

TeleHealth and Tele-Visits in the time of COVID-19

Step Ahead Foot & Ankle Clinic, PC has initiated a TeleHealth Service during the COVID-19 Pandemic for a number of reasons:

1.) Our top priority has always been, and continues to be, Patient, Employee, Community Health and Safety.

2.) With the primary goal of triaging, or prioritizing what's urgent and what's not, Dr. Barnes seeks to help patients with the foot concerns over the phone or computer. Caring for patients in this way, and arranging for visits in clinic if necessary (infections, ulcerations, injuries) and in a controlled environment, she hopes to do her part in allowing to the Urgent Cares and Emergencies Rooms help those with needs related to the virus. 

3.) Although Dr. Barnes obviously cannot physicially treat you or other patients over the phone or computer, she can hopefully see if your concern would be best treated physically, and arrange for this to be done. If she can help give you direction and advice over the computer or phone, she will do so. This particularly applies to you if you have foot pain, as many treatment options can be relayed in this way (stretches, shoe recommendations, orthotic recommendations). 

4.) During this time of anxiety, stress, and uncertainty, Dr. Barnes wants to do her part in helping you do the things you need to do (caring for a loved one, running outside for stress relief, or walking on a treadmill at home, for example) without foot pain interfering. She does't want you to have to wait months or an indefinite period of time for you to get back on your feet! "CLICK HERE TO REQUEST A TELEVISIT."