A board certified orthopedic surgeon, J. Chris Coetzee earned his medical degree from the University of Pretoria School of Medicine in South Africa. He completed his orthopedic residency at the University of Stellenbosch, located in Cape Town, South Africa, his trauma fellowship in Davos, Switzerland and a foot and ankle fellowship at the University of Washington and the Harborview Medical Center, in Seattle, WA, USA.
Dr. Coetzee sees patients at the TCO Eagan facility. He serves as a fellowship faculty member for the TCO/Fairview Foot & Ankle Fellowship program. He currently serves as President on the board for the American Orthopedic Foot & Ankle Society (AOFAS). He is an associate editor of the Foot and Ankle International Journal and also a member of the FAI Editorial Board, as well as reviewer to the Journal of Bone and Joint Surgery and several other orthopedic journals. He was the Chairman of the AOFAS Education committee from 2011 to 2013, overseeing all the educational activities of the American Orthopedic Foot and Ankle Society. In 2014, he was the chairman of the AOFAS Specialty day at the AAOS meeting as well as the annual summer meeting of the AOFAS. He is a member of the AAOS CME committee ensuring ongoing education for all orthopedic surgeons. He also served on the Instructional Course committee of the AAOS from 2014 – 2016. Dr. Coetzee is also one of the Official Team Physicians for the Minnesota Vikings and travels with the team.
His special orthopedic interests are foot and ankle reconstruction, trauma injuries and sports medicine. He is a world-renowned surgeon who has been asked to lecture and teach in more than 20 countries on all continents. He is a published author in numerous peer-reviewed journals on such topics as total ankle arthroplasties, talar osteochondral defects, lisfranc injuries and more. Current research interests include total ankle arthroplasties, ankle fusions and subtalar fusions. Dr. Coetzee was named one of the top 23 Foot and Ankle surgeons in the US by Orthopedics Today in 2012 and 2013, has been nominated as a “Top Doctor” by the Mpls.St.Paul Magazine in 2013 and every year since (2014, 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018) and in 2016 was selected by Castle Connolly as Top Doctor.
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Ankle Care, including Ankle Joint Revision and Ankle Joint Replacement
Board Certified, American Board of Orthopaedic Surgery
Fellowship in Trauma in Davos, Switzerland
Fellowship in Foot & Ankle Surgery at the University of Washington and the Harborview Medical Center, Seattle, WA
University of Stellenbosch, Cape Town, South Africa
University of Pretoria School of Medicine, Pretoria, South Africa
Hospital & Surgery Center Affiliations
Crosstown Surgery Center
Eagan Orthopedic Surgery Center
Fairview Southdale Hospital
University of Minnesota Medical Center – Fairview
AAOS – CME, Committee member (2009 – 2012)
American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons (2006 – Present)
American Journal of Bone and Joint Surgery, Reviewer (2002 – Present)
American Medical Association (1999 – Present)
American Orthopaedic Foot and Ankle Society (1995 – Present)
A.O. Alumni Association (1994 – Present)
AOFAS Education Committee, Committee member (2004 – 2010)
AOFAS Representative at National Orthopedic Leadership Conference (NOLC) in DC (2018)
Arthroscopy Association of North America (2004 – 2009)
Canadian Orthopaedic Association (2003 – 2009)
Current Orthopaedic and Related Research, Reviewer (2003 – Present)
Foot and Ankle International Journal, Assistant Editor/Consultant Reviewer (2000 – Present)
Minnesota Orthopaedic Society (1999 – 2006)
Orthopaedics, Reviewer (2003 – Present)
Royal College of Surgeons, Canada (1996 – 2006)
South African Orthopaedic Society (1993 – 2004)
South African Medical Association (1985 – 2004)
U of M Department of Orthopaedic Surgery, Associate Professor and Director, Foot and Ankle Services (2004 – 2006)
U of M Department of Orthopaedic Surgery, Assistant Professor (1994 – 2004)
Achievements and Awards
Voted “Best Doctor” in Minnesota Monthly (2016, 2018)
American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons: Foot and Ankle Evaluation Subcommittee Member (2009 – 2012)
Department Trophy: Most Outstanding Final Year Orthopaedic Resident, University of Stellenbosch (1992)
Top Foot & Ankle Surgeon: Named one of the top 23 foot and ankle surgeons in the US by Orthopedics This Week (2012, 2014)
Top Foot & Ankle Surgeon: Named one of the top 26 foot and ankle surgeons in North America by Orthopedics This Week (2013)
I broke my ankle about 35 years ago and have had arthritis and pain that limited my participation in sports.
When I went to Twin Cities Orthopedics, Dr. Chris Coetzee told me I was a good candidate for ankle replacement. Within a few months of the surgery, I was given the OK to play again. I played nine holes and had two birdies in my return to the golf course! The next day, I played handball and won both matches. The guys said they thought I moved as well or better than before my ankle angioplasty. It really helps not to have the pain anymore.
I am thankful for Dr. Coetzee and his team who have made it possible for me to play sports and move through life without pain.
September 7, 2018
I broke my ankle on the playground in fourth grade. Little did I know trajectory at that time. I competed in gymnastics in high school. I learned how to play handball and golf. Some 40 years later, my ankle started to hurt.
Eventually, I visited a noted sport medicine doctor and was told that the early injury brought about an early onset of arthritis. Nothing I could do; maybe wear a brace. Five years later, I visited other specialists, and they all told me I could have my ankle fused and I’ll know when. Another five years, and I was limping so much everyone asked if I hurt myself. I worried I was throwing everything in my body off kilter.
I decided “it’s time” and made an appointment with Dr. Chris Coetzee to get my ankle evaluated for a fusion. After his review, he said I was a candidate for either. I looked at him confused and he explained he could either fuse my ankle or replace the joint. I asked and he explained that everything I had heard about ankle replacements not going well was old news. He said I would be able to run, play handball and golf as much as I liked. I turned to my wife and we decided to go for it. I never looked back!
I used to walk around looking at the ground. We would go on trips and I could describe the sidewalks and streets but not the buildings or landscapes. I was terrified I would stumble and hurt myself. Now, I can walk anywhere without this fear. Forward, backward, up hills and down hills. My first ankle was more than 10 years ago and my second almost three. I won both the single and doubles Minnesota State Handball Championships in my age division this year. Everyone says I am moving better and better all the time.
Dr. Coetzee and his team at TCO gave all of this back to me. If you are a candidate for an ankle joint replacement, you can’t do better than TCO.
This summer, at the World Handball Championship held in Minneapolis, four of Dr. Coetzee’s patients gathered for a photo – there are seven replacement ankles on the four handball players (from left), Arnie W., Sheldon S., Scott S. and Larry L.
September 7, 2018
Handball became my competitive game of choice in the Marine Corps, but by age 60, my body started showing its age. I had both hips replaced in four years, so my handball game started showing its age as well.
When my left ankle started giving me trouble, I went back to TCO and was informed that the arthritis from multiple sprains from various sports had caught up with me and it would have to be fused or replaced.
When Dr. Chris Coetzee said the replacement would take 35 minutes, I asked how an ankle replacement could be done in half the time of a hip. The answer was that no muscles or tendons had to be cut. This convinced me because the gluteus had to be cut in the hip replacements and regaining that muscle memory took some time.
After surgery on the ankle, I asked Dr. Coetzee how long it took and he said 35 minutes, including tightening the outside ligament. As promised, I was back playing handball in three months. It went so well that I did not hesitate to replace my right ankle within 18 months, once it was obvious that it had arthritis as well.
The second replacement took 10 minutes longer because the outside ligament on the right ankle was in worse shape than the left.
I’m now 72 and moving better on the handball court than I have in 10 years. I have even started to run again, a bit slower than before, but there is no pain!
June 19, 2018
What can I say, Dr. Coetzee is a miracle worker. In 2005 I fell 35 feet and landed on my feet and broke everything. After about a year of surgeries I saw no results. I decided to get a second opinion and it was the best decision I could have made. It has been ten years and I walk fine and never feel any pain. Dr. Coetzee is compassionate and truly cares for his patients. I would recommend him to anybody.
July 21, 2017
I thought Dr. Coetzee would enjoy seeing these pictures and hearing that Mary just completed her first Olympic distance triathlon. She loved it.We think of Dr. C often and will be forever grateful for him. Of course his skill is well known, but equally important is his complete lack of arrogance and ego, and his kind, caring, and patient nature. Such a rare combination. He is one in a million. So, please pass this along to him. I hope it brings a smile. – Coleen ( Mary’s Mother )
May 19, 2017
I was a patient of Dr.Coetzee’s about five years ago, when I got into a terrible dirt bike accident and broke my ankle in many places. It was a very frightening time in my life, and I knew that my foot would never be the same. Dr. Coetzee was truly the most amazing surgeon I could have hoped for. He did an amazing job, and to this day I am able to live a normal life, I even started my first job as a Registered Nurse in March! I want to thank him so much for all he did for me. He is truly a wonderful and intelligent human being.
January 5, 2017
Dr. Coetzee did a total ankle replacement for me 3 years ago. It has been life changing. Before surgery, I had so much pain it kept me from leading a normal life. Walking was a challenge as well as climbing stairs and just day to day activities. It has been 3 years since my surgery and I am pain free! I highly recommend Dr. Coetzee and his staff!
October 31, 2016
In 2000, both of my ankles were broken. I was told the severity of the injury to my right ankle would most likely not be able to be repaired. I demanded the best doctor in the world to repair my ankles because I was a single mother with 2 young children, living in a multi-level house. I told my doctor that if it meant leaving the country to get my ankles fixed, I would do so. With that, my doctor found Dr. Coetzee located in S. Africa at the time and requested that we coordinate an effort to repair my ankles. Dr. Coetzee left South Africa to come here to fix my ankles. It is now 16 years later and I still tell this story of such a wonderful, skilled surgeon who saved me from walking with a cane for the rest of my life or worse. This man is THE BEST! My now adult daughters are equally appreciative of such a gift from him. They got their mother back after a one year recovery and childhood of not having to have their mother dependent on them for help. Thank you again Dr. Coetzee.
August 17, 2016
I just wanted to make sure that I fully expressed my appreciation for all of the people at Twin Cities Orthopedics. They ALL went above and beyond my expectations in order to help me with my unique and untimely injury. And ALL truly means each and every one. From the very first interaction it was as if I had gone to another level of patient care that I had never experienced before.
When I came by to drop off the imaging CD from my ER visit, the very personable and exceptionally nice woman at reception took extra time to upload the CD so that I could keep the disk for backup. She also took the time to hand carry it to the imaging department as her computer terminal was not confirming the upload. Lisa Long went the extra mile to fit me into Dr. Coetzee’s schedule so that he could perform the surgery before he went out of town. And then she went another extra mile to fit me in on a reschedule when insurance referral issues delayed the first surgery opportunity. Mary Wolf and Kristine Odegard both put in a herculean effort to get my insurance’s referral approved in two days, when it usually takes the system ten to fourteen. Larry Nilsson, Dr. Coetzee’s Physician Assistant with Jackie Fritz took out the stitches and advised me with care. And every interaction was personable, kind and not hurried or dismissive in any way. Each of these feats alone puts Twin Cities Orthopedics in the incredible category, but for them to all happen in coordination to attend to a patient’s urgent need is a health care synergy that is head and shoulders above any other medical interaction I have had in my 57 years – and my penchant for extreme sports has given me many interactions from which to claim my assessment to be authoritative. And of course, the personable and positive attitude of one of the very small handful of the very best foot and ankle doctors in the world – Dr. Coetzee – gave comfort and confidence that the best possible outcome for this unfortunate injury is in the cards. There just could not have been a better clinic to go to as Twin Cities Orthopedics and Dr. Coetzee are simply in a stand-alone, superlative category of patient care.
July 7, 2016
In 2006 my left foot had totally collapsed. I had seen 4 podiatrists & 1 orthopedic foot specialist, all with different outcomes – a surgery recommendation that just did not sound right to me, a brace, and custom orthotics which didn’t help at all. Then my primary physician recommended Dr. Coetzee. I was able to get an appointment in 4 months (I lucked out!) and scheduled my foot reconstruction 2 months later. He was worth the wait! Then in 2014, my right foot needed plate and of course Dr. Coetzee was my doctor. I do a lot of dancing and I am back to doing it all – Latin, Ballroom, Swing – with no limitations whatsoever. Not only is he the best, but he is compassionate and he listens. Thank you Dr. Coetzee.
May 27, 2016
At age 56, having spent nearly 10 years hobbled by an ugly ankle brace, a fellow beekeeper recommended Dr. Coetzee. I tend to avoid doctors, surgery & even needles like the plague, but Dr. Coetzee convinced me this relatively simple procedure was necessary. He even gave me good odds for success (and no downside) which I appreciated. He graciously managed to fit me in this past winter & even permitted my daughter to hold my hand during early sedation. Using a new technique instead of a bone graft from my hip, was another, less-invasive bonus. The surgery was a total success! I now have no fear of triggering the issue on future hiking trips.
May 10, 2016
Dr. Coetzee repaired my broken ankle in February. He and his team did a remarkable job! Once I was able to permanently remove the fashionable air cast, I progressed to physical therapy with Craig Ringsven. How fortunate for me to have both Dr. Coetzee and Craig on my team! Craig was phenomenal. While I understand “this is what they are trained to do”, Craig would modify a particular technique to adapt to my strength at the time, following surgery. His demeanor is kind; he gets along well with his co-workers. Anyone looking for an all-around wonderful Physical Therapist, ask to be scheduled with Craig Ringsven! You will be glad you did! Thank you, Twin Cities Orthopedics!
April 5, 2016
My surgery was months ago and I am so pleased with how well my feet have healed! My bunion pain is gone, I can hike and I no longer have foot or leg pain. I can even wear shoes that used to cause extreme pain due to the bunions. The scars have healed really well, and the added bonus is that my feet look really nice. Swimming twice a week has really helped my recovery process. With my feet back to normal now, I tend to forget that I even had surgery. I wish I had heard of Dr. Coetzee years ago. He knows what he is doing!
March 27, 2016
I don’t know how to even begin to thank you for all you have done for my father and for my family. You are an amazing team that has made all the difference in my father’s future and his quality of life. It is Easter Sunday and I am watching him walk down the driveway like the father I haven’t seen in well over a year. Words cannot describe the happiness that I see as I watch him today. He has his independence back and he is getting stronger daily. He is an incredible man and I thank you for the additional moments and memories I get to have with him because of all of you.
It has been a very long journey, and I cannot begin to tell you how much I appreciate all of your ongoing efforts throughout the process. From taking on his case so quickly, to the first visit, the surgery, the complications, the follow up visits and now the final outcome. You have all made such a difference and I don’t know how to truly thank you for what you have done. I can only tell you that you are truly special and you do something that is wonderful, you make a difference in people’s lives every day. Please know that while you do this daily, you are not the “norm” that we see all too often in healthcare these days. You are a very special team that combines an incredible skill set with professionalism, excellent care, and true compassion. That combination is very unique.
Thank you for everything you have done over the past 4 months! We never could have come this far without all of you…
After a lengthy struggle in getting my foot pain diagnosed as fractured sesamoid bones and being told by my provider that I had to live with the pain for the rest of my life (I was in my 50’s) at the time, I was left discouraged until I met Dr. Coetzee who made a written recommendation to my healthcare providers (At that time, my insurance didn’t cover Dr. Coetzee). I was able to get the authorization, surgery and care from Dr. Coetzee for several breaks with complete recovery and return to activities. The care from the initial phone call for an appointment, the efficient way his staff deals with pre and post surgery needs (meds, temp disability tags, medical equipment, etc) and Dr. Coetzee’s personal and professional assessment and style in providing excellent care put together an amazing package of treatment and recovery to resume my life as I wanted. Walking, skiing, outdoor activities and all things that require being able to be on my feet is a quality of life issue for me. I can’t state strongly enough how important it is to get a good diagnosis and treatment for foot conditions. My journey with broken sesamoid bones and being in Dr. Coetzee’s amazing care has been life changing, allowing me to be active and pain free. I am in my 60’s, always been active and my vocation and avocation requires being on my feet a lot. Had I not gotten the care from Dr. Coetzee I believe I would be significantly limited in continuing my active lifestyle.
August 25, 2015
On August 20,2004, I was hit head on by an impaired driver. I sustained many injuries, but one of the worst was my right ankle. Another “Orthopedic specialist” botched my recovery with terrible advice and literally no treatment. I was left with a crippled and horrendously painful and debilitated ankle. My ability to function at age 43 was minimal. Then I found Dr. Coetzee! In August, 2005, he performed a miraculous surgery, which quite literally gave me my life back!! At age 53, I am still riding and competing with my horses, and break colts and give riding lessons and train for the public. I can never thank him enough for giving me the ability to walk again! Thank You Dr. Coetzee!
January 8, 2015
Four years ago, in November 2010, I fell off a ladder and fractured both of my ankles. The emergency room doctor told me my ankles were severely broken or more specifically they were “bi-lateral pilon” fractures. The doctor described the fractured ankles as “impressive” (or doctorese as terrible breaks but repairable). The doctor further explained that a pilon fracture is where the break is caused by vertical pressure similar to stepping on a pop can from the top and causing the bones to be crushed. But, my original orthopedic surgeon “patched” me up with 4 plates and 30 screws and restored my ability to walk again. But the loss of the cartilage in my ankle joints caused me to hobble through life. In addition the loss of the range of motion in my ankle restricted the distances and the pace that I could travel.
Prior to my accident, I was active with a keen sense of adventure. My wife and I love to travel and have a special love for the area north of Ely, MN known as the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness (BWCAW). Although following the accident, my mantra was “Staying home is not an option…”, but I now had physical limits to what I could achieve.
As it turned out, the brother of a dear friend recently had ankle replacement surgery performed by Dr. Coetzee. She gave glowing reports of how his life had returned to normal following his surgery and how he resumed his passion for long distance bike rides. So, on July 5th, 2012, I hobbled into Twin Cities Orthopedics with my wife to meet with Dr. Coetzee. After what seemed like a “bazillion” questions, we agreed to schedule surgery to replace my right ankle in September 2012 followed by surgery to replace my left ankle in March 2013.
Day by day, step by step, PT by PT my ability to walk returned and the hobble was replaced with a normal gait! …and best of all, I could now resume my sense of adventure and travel. Although I understood that I still needed to make wise decisions about which adventures to choose.
To illustrate how far I have come, here is a photograph of me hiking the Path of the Gods trail (Sentiero Degli Dei) that is located on the Amalfi coast just east of Positano Italy with my wife and special friends. The section of the trail that we hiked was moderately rugged along a 4 mile path 1500 feet above the Bay of Salerno with sweeping views of the Amalfi coast. Jaw dropping beautiful! The island of Capri is visible 15 miles away. Experiencing this “bucket list” adventure was only possible with my new ankles.
Every day and every step is a blessing and a miracle…so much to be thankful for!
October 11, 2012
With the help of Chris Coetzee, MD and Brad Moser, MD, Marlys T. was able to climb the highest free standing mountain in the world, Mt. Kilimananjaro. She visited Twin Cities Orthopedics Edina for foot pain that was bothering her just weeks before the climb. Marlys explained that “after Dr. Moser gave me the ‘okay’ to climb, I only had ten days to prepare.” This involved training and shopping for gear. “Most people train for months” for such a climb, she said. “The extent of my training was a few times on the stair master and two six mile walks.” Marlys hiked the Machame trek, the second most difficult of six treks. “I did not have any pain in my body until the very last day after I descended when my knees ached slightly,” she said.
October 11, 2012
Sharon K. (pictured third from left) had foot reconstruction surgery performed by J. Chris Coetzee, MD Mb ChB (pictured second from left) and was extremely pleased with his results.“The surgery results are absolutely great. I will recommend Dr. Coetzee to anyone I know would need his expertise,” said Sharon. “Dr. Coetzee is a wonderful, kind man,” she said, and “I will see him again when the need arises.”
March 7, 2012
Seven months after Chris D. (pictured) had his left leg amputated, he is walking without a limp. Not only that, but he’s waterskiing and bicycling with his new prosthetic leg. “I rode my touring bike 50 miles this weekend,” he said.With the help of J. Chris Coetzee, M.D. Mb ChB of Twin Cities Orthopedics Edina and a lot of hard work, Chris said he is feeling great and plans on continuing to increase his level of physical activity. Chris said:”I struggled through life with significant to severe pain in my left foot and ankle due to a traumatic accident in 1992. In December 2010 – more than 18 years later – I decided to amputate my leg below the knee. I have complete medical coverage through the VA as a disabled veteran, but I would have no other surgeon perform such a life changing procedure than Dr. Chris Coetzee.I have been a patient of Chris Coetzee for almost 10 years and through three surgeries to correct problems with my left foot and ankle (including the most recent amputation). I’ve rarely met a physician – with such a busy practice – that has been so personally interested and completely involved in getting to know me as a person, my lifestyle and personal goals, and even my family so as to integrate all of my personal character traits, abilities, support systems, and individual goals into my treatment plan. Long before my decision to amputate, Chris Coetzee and Twin Cities Orthopedics dramatically increased my quality of life and physical ability through his careful listening, preparation, surgical skill, and careful follow-up. When my foot and ankle had finally completely deteriorated, more surgeries seemed like just another way to buy short chunks of time. For a more permanent solution, I wanted to talk about amputation as an option. But I had no idea what to expect. I was terrified to think about amputation, but so challenged in daily life I didn’t know how to keep going.Chris Coetzee was more like my friend than my doctor as we talked about the procedure, options, and rehabilitation. He got deeply and personally involved in the decision, and included my wife in the conversations as he has gotten to know her through the years. Chris never hesitated to answer even the most direct questions – was honest and positive, yet realistic – and was completely confident on his ability to achieve a successful result. That quiet confidence and personal investment in me as a person made all the difference as I made the final decision and was finally wheeled into the surgical suite. Chris was never too busy to talk to me as the procedure loomed and my nervousness increased. He even corresponded with me through E-mail regularly before – and after – my procedure. Everything we spoke about from recovery estimates to quality of life has come true. I was ready to leave the hospital 24 hours after my amputation. Amazing! Although at a desk, I was back to work 10 days after my procedure, fitted for my first prosthetic in just under 3 months, and hiking, mountain biking around 6 months post procedure – and waterskiing just after 7 months!. My rehabilitation and prosthetics teams have always been amazed at the quality and health of my residual limb and the speed of recovery and engagement back into an active lifestyle. I’ve been “sitting on the bench” for most of the last 18 years. Thanks to Dr. Coetzee, I am back in the game.The most impressive comment I have to recommend Dr. Chris Coetzee and the Twin Cities Orthopedics team is this; most people don’t know I’m an amputee unless I’m wearing shorts, or I tell them. I’ve met dozens of people that react with complete surprise – and sometimes shock – when they realize I’m an amputee. The most common comments are ‘I would never have known you were an amputee by seeing you walk and move around.’ Or, ‘You walk and move around just like a normal person!’ Thanks to Chris Coetzee, I can (and do) reply, ‘Thank you. I am a normal person.'”
March 7, 2012
“The last exercise during my weekly Saturday ballet class involved grand jétés, nothing new for us,” said Yvonne B. (pictured). “We heard a loud pop and I turned my head back during the jump to see what made that sound,” she said. Yvonne’s leg had collapsed during the landing as she had injured her achilles tendon.”The ballet instructor, herself a chiropractor, immediately recommended Dr. Coetzee and added she knows several dancers who have been his patients and were very satisfied with his work. Now I can be added to that list of happy patients,” said Yvonne after her achilles tendon surgery with J. Chris Coetzee, M.D. Mb ChB.My ankle was strong enough to hike onto Monte Leone in Switzerland first week of November. I am also back to Yoga and Ballet(bar only- no jumping) since the beginning of October and am looking forward to cross country skiing. A big thank you to Dr. Coetzee!”