The brief descriptions below are designed to familiarize you with our staff's training, professional credentials and work experience.
Esther S. Barnes, DPM, FACFAS, FAPWCABoard-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.
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.
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."