Staff

The brief descriptions below are designed to familiarize you with our staff's training, professional credentials and work experience.


Esther S. Barnes, DPM, FACFAS, FAPWCA

Board-Certified Podiatric Physician & Surgeon
Step Ahead Foot & Ankle Clinic, P.C.

Doctor of Podiatric Medicine / Diplomate, American Board of Foot & Ankle Surgery

 

Originally from a small town in Pennsylvania (Susquehanna), Dr. Esther Barnes developed an interest in the foot and the biomechanics of the foot as it relates to the rest of the body when she was a young girl. As a a runner, she was very involved with cross country and track. She suffered from many foot and knee injuries in high school that led her to be fitted with orthotics, and in turn, she became interested in the role appropriate foot biomechanics and alignment has in the prevention and treatment of injuries.

Esther went on to earn a B.S. degree in Biomedical Engineering, with a specialization in Biomechanics, from Northwestern University. She decided she preferred a career more directly involved in patient care over a career in Engineering and went on to earn her Doctorate of Podiatric Medicine (DPM) from Temple University, where she graduated first in her class. Dr. Barnes then attended a prestigious surgical podiatric residency program in Denver, CO (Presbyterian - St. Luke's Medical Center). 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. Although Dr. Barnes enjoys surgery and is well-trained in the surgical treatment of foot & ankle ailments, she still prefers a more conservative approach. She enjoys combining her Biomechanical background and her passion for Biomechanics with her recent surgical training to offer a multi-faceted approach to the treatment and prevention of foot and ankle pain. Dr. Barnes is a Diplomat of the American Board of Podiatric Surgery, Certified in both Foot and Reconconstructive Rearfoot & Ankle Surgery, as well as a Fellow of the American Professional Wound Care Association. She is currently the President of the Montana Podiatric Medical Association.

"My greatest enjoyment in being a Foot & Ankle Specialist is using my biomechanical background to help alleviate people’s foot pain, both surgically and non-surgically. Although I enjoy performing surgery, and take great pride in my surgical experience, skills, and training, there is nothing I find more rewarding than  avoiding surgery with exceptional conservative care (orthotics, footwear) and preventing surgery by addressing any underlying Biomechanical concerns, when possible.”

Dr. Barnes enjoys most outdoor activities including hiking, backpacking, camping mountain & road cycline (cycling to and from work), reading, downhill & cross country skiing (skate skiing), spending time with & skijoring her dogs (siberian huskies Niko, Zoe, & Axel), and being involved with the community. She also enjoys carpentry and home remodeling with her husband, Joe. She particularly enjoys building birdhouses.

Feel free to review Dr. Barnes’s Curriculum Vitae for a more detailed description of her experience & training.


Joseph Brega

Pedorthist / Shoe-fitting & Gait Analysis Specialist / Practice Manager

Born and raised in a small ski town in Victoria, Australia, Joe feels at home in northwest Montana. He enjoys helping his wife (Dr. Barnes) in her endeavors and has developed a skill and passion for foot care that nicely compliments that of Dr. Barnes. Having worked with his hands in some form or fashion his entire life (bicycle mechanic / telephone technician), he finds enjoyment in manufacturing foot orthotics and modifying shoes. Joe is the office "jack of all trades." He successfully combines his athletic talent and passion with the skills he’s developed in his Pedorthics training (Foot Solutions, Atlanta GA) in his role as a Shoe-fitting & Gait Analysis Specialist. Joe ensures that Dr. Barnes's patients' feet are matched to footwear designed to maximize their foot function and comfort.

Joe has been an instrumental part of the business since it opened it's doors in January, 2012. From modifying orthotics, to fitting people with shoes, to running telephone wires, and now more recently from billing and collections, to contract negotiations with insurances and all duties managerial, it has amazed us all how much Joe has learned and took on since 2012.  His accent and his witty sense of humor are both characteristics that make many people routine customers, but it is genuine sense of caring and drive to help people that makes them feel most welcome.

Like his wife, Joe enjoys most outdoor activities including hiking, road & mountain biking, downhill & cross country skiing, camping, and spending time with their two Siberian huskies, Niko & Zoe. He also enjoys carpentry and home remodeling, with his wife, playing the guitar, snowmobiling and, most importantly, working on his bicycles.

 

 

 

Contact Us

Office Hours
Monday:8:30 AM - 5:00 PM
Tuesday:8:30 AM - 5:00 PM
Wednesday:8:30 AM - 5:00 PM
Thursday:8:30 AM - 5:00 PM
Friday:8:30 AM - 3:00 PM
Saturday:Closed
Sunday:Closed