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 Immediate Past 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, 2019) 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
Trauma care, including foot, ankle, and lower leg only
Dr. Coetzee does not see patients for plantar fasciitis, tarsal tunnel, or chronic nerve pain.
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 & Awards
Voted “Top Doctor” in Minnesota Monthly (2016, 2018 – 2023)
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)
Dr. Coetzee is extraordinary! He has a unique combination of talents that are rarely found. Firstly, he is attentive, diligent, and kind. Then, he is skillful and an accomplished, academically inclined surgeon. He is also charming and a pleasure to be with. He is highly regarded by his surgeon and non-surgeon colleagues.
April 1, 2022
I suffered a traumatic achilles rupture. I was extremely fortunate to get on Dr. Coetzee’s surgery schedule on short notice. I couldn’t be happier with the care I received from everyone at TCO. The care coordinator, nursing staff, anesthesiologist, physician assistant and surgeon were the BEST! Thank you, from a retired nurse anesthetist.
February 14, 2022
Dr. Coetzee‘s team at TCO is the best of the best. From scheduling and consultation, to surgery and beyond, this team inspires confidence. They are caring, kind, cutting-edge medical experts who also value research and shape new procedures in their field. Pre-surgery information was outstanding and I had tremendous support from Lawrence Nilsson, PA-C during recovery, and when questions arose. I can’t say enough good things about this place and these people. I whole-heartedly recommend them!
September 16, 2021
After being in pain for a year from a prior surgery, I went to see Dr. Coetzee at TCO and he is unbelievable. He saved me years of pain and suffering after he performed my surgery. He is a very confident and awesome physician. Thank you so much!
October 1, 2020
I was very pleased with the prompt appointment and the diagnosis was thorough, which left me able to make my own choices. Surgery for both of my feet is scheduled and I will be very happy to walk without pain or stumbling. The people I encountered at TCO were professional but showed a sense of humor and concern. Dr. Coetzee was very clear in the diagnosis and I look forward to my next visit. Thank you to all.
September 18, 2020
After about four years of ankle pain, seeing various doctors, therapists, podiatrists etc., a friend told me I had to see Dr. Coetzee. The first thing he said when looking at my MRI, is that an ankle replacement would be the only thing that would help. Since I had never heard of an ankle replacement, I had a few concerns! I’m so glad I had it done! I couldn’t even wear a pair of shoes without pain. Three months out from surgery, I couldn’t be happier! The pain in my ankle is gone and I can wear shoes again! I can’t thank Dr. Coetzee and his team enough for the great care and outcome I had!
September 8, 2020
In high school, I was hit by a car and ended up breaking my leg. As the decades rolled on this affected my ankle, as I had zero cartilage left. I was in incredible pain for a few years and that’s when I was referred to Dr. Coetzee. I could barely walk and my whole body throbbed even though I took pain medication to sleep. I couldn’t sleep or live without constant pain. Luckily, Dr. Coetzee and his top notch P.A., Larry, informed me that I was a candidate for an ankle replacement.
I thought surely his P.A. must live at the hospital. He checked on me during the early morning hours and the late night hours. He corrected a nurse who had stuck an IV into my hand wrong. He made sure that insurance covered what I needed. He is a top notch P.A. Shortly after surgery, I realized that I was already in a lot less pain. After a short time post-op, I quit all pain meds. It was a very long recovery until I actually walked but I had a knee scooter which really helped me. We went on a trip 4 months later and I still needed a cane. However, after 8-9 months, I walked normally (I don’t run) and I could hike. One year later, I hiked Diamond Head in Oahu. We have many wonderful trips the past 6 years and my pain has been minimal.
Thank you for giving me my life back again and letting me enjoy my retirement years. Even senior citizen trips require walking and there is so much that I could not have participated in. I was at a point in my life that I really couldn’t imagine anything other than pain in my life. I am SO GRATEFUL! Unfortunately, I have just been diagnosed with an aggressive breast cancer but I am still walking at least 3 miles a day except on my chemo days. You have allowed me to enjoy the past 6 and a half years. Thank you SO MUCH!
March 6, 2020
I am so pleased and grateful to Dr. Coetzee and his team. As an extremely active person with a very serious injury, I knew that finding the right surgeon would be important to return me to the activities that I love and are important to me. I’m thrilled to be back to my sports, including long distance running, which I never thought I’d be able to do again. I felt Dr. Coetzee listened to my recovery goals and took me seriously as a patient, rather than just seeing a busted ankle. Thank you!
December 6, 2019
For almost 12 months, I was unable to work (and basically unable to walk) as a normal daily activity. The pain was excruciating! I went to podiatrists and physicians in 4 different clinics to receive painful injections and endure therapy to no avail. I was letting my family down. One lucky day, I was able to schedule with Dr. Coetzee. He recommended surgery, which we did, and one month later I was human. I was working and providing for my family! That was over a year ago now and I continue to beat the ground and am a providing family man, who can hold his head up with pride! Thank you for giving me my life back! I am fortunate to have been so blessed by his skills.
November 13, 2019
Hi Dr. Coetzee and team! I hope you all are doing well! I just wanted to give you all an update as I am back to running and working out hard! I don’t even think about my foot anymore when I go out for a run and am pretty much doing the same things I was before my surgery! I am so excited for the season ahead and just wanted to express my gratitude because I wouldn’t be where I am now without the help of all of you! I am sincerely grateful for all of your kindness and generosity, as it made a huge difference in my life. Thank you all again so much for comforting me during my surgery and reassuring me that it would all be OK! I am forever grateful for my experience at Twin Cities Orthopedics. With that, I am hoping to be running an indoor track meet at the University of Minnesota in the middle of February potentially, so if I do end up racing there, I will let you know! 🙂
Thanks again for all you do!
September 30, 2019
I am so excited to express to your staff how pleased I am with the remarkable service I received from everyone in your office on July 31st 2019. From the front desk people to the surgical nurses, to the doctor’s assistants (you, Lisa, of course played an integral part in all of this) to Dr. Larry and Dr. Coetzee himself. I am so impressed.
I had bunion surgery and from the moment I arrived the day of surgery until my grandson picked me up, every second I spent in the surgery center was absolutely pleasant. I wasn’t a bit concerned or worried about pain or the bad effects that anesthesia can cause. It went so fast I was amazed. I had a speedy recovery – walking in 3 days, driving in 5 days, jet-skiing in 11 days (not kidding) and motorcycle riding in 2 weeks. I am now back to work 5 weeks later, in retail, on my feet all day long. No pain or problems. I never could have expected such a wonderful experience. I healed quickly and barely have a scar.
Thank you all so very much for my wonderful experience with you. I will refer all my friends and family to you. Love you guys.
August 19, 2019
I was in a boot for months hoping that that would cure my extraordinary ankle pain before having an MRI done which showed, my foot Dr. reported, that my tendons were destroyed, so torn they looked like the ends of a mop. He agreed with the surgeon he sent me to that I should get used to life in a brace; there was no good surgical outcome for me. This when I was only 40! A friend told me about Dr. Coetzee and calling his office was definitely the right choice. He didn’t hesitate to sign me up for surgery – I was in shock but extremely grateful! Where the other Dr.’s saw only risk, Dr. Coetzee had complete confidence in his skills and experience, so I did too. That was March 2018. I had been living with unbearable pain for a year. The surgery and recovery were about as painless as I imagine you can get. I did my physical therapy and it took a little while but I walk painlessly now, for as long as I want. In fact, for the most part, I’ve forgotten that I ever had a perineal tendon repair – or, got my busted up ankle fixed. And that is possibly the best review I can give for Dr. Coetzee. Or maybe this; He gave me my life back when no one else would even give me hope. I said I’ve almost forgotten I had the surgery but I won’t completely. I’ll always be thankful that I’m not spending my days hobbling around in a brace, sitting most of my life out. I am forever thankful for Dr. Coetzee.
May 3, 2019
Being active and inspiring others to be active is my life! Before my injury, I was very active in cross-fit type competitions, running, lifting, paddle boarding, kickboxing, yoga, etc. If there was a way to challenge and move my body, I was all about giving it a try. I am an elite-level group fitness instructor and kickboxing coach at Lifetime Fitness. I have an active husband and 4 very active children! When we are not in a hockey rink, at a soccer field, football field or gymnastics gym, you can find us hiking, biking, paddle boarding, swimming and visiting obstacle and trampoline parks.
We, as a family, decided to skip trick or treating this Halloween and do something active! We went to a local trampoline to jump and play on the ninja warrior course. And that is where my life as I knew it came to a screeching halt! My kids and I were trying to make it up the warped wall, but I had a very hard fall that dislocated and broke my left ankle and (what I believed to have) jammed my right thumb. I was taken by ambulance to the local ER where they stabilized my ankle and told me to contact an orthopedic surgeon. Sheer panic set in. My whole personal and professional life revolves around me being active and inspiring others and now I was immobile!
I was extremely lucky to have Dr. Coetzee with TCO repair my ankle. The surgery was very successful! But I knew the road ahead of me was going to be a long, uphill climb! The weeks after my surgery I had a lot of bad days! A lot of my bad days were more mentally bad then physically painful. My entire way of life was completely flipped. Instead of me helping, inspiring and motivating others, I was stuck relying on others to help me with basic tasks. I felt like I missed out on a lot, especially during the holiday seasons. I was stuck on sideline watching everyone else play and enjoy life. When things were looking up, at my six week post-op appointment, my surgeon took a look at what we believed to be my jammed thumb and brought in a hand specialist. An MRI the following day confirmed my jammed thumb was actually 2 torn ligaments that required surgical repair! I couldn’t believe it! I was starting physical therapy and now headed back to the operating room. Once again, I knew I was in good hands having Dr. Koch with TCO repair my thumb. Another very successful surgery but this made my recovery more challenging! Regardless, I was bound and determined to get back to where I was before my crazy crash. I needed to prove to myself, my kids, my husband, my coworkers and my group fitness members, that even when we experience set backs – even a horrific injury – you can come back!!
I was extremely motivated and anxious to start and crush my physical therapy, and shortly thereafter, my occupational therapy! My mindset going into therapy was that this is my job for the next 16 weeks. I needed to dedicate 100% of myself during my therapy sessions, make a point to never miss a session and to do my daily exercises at home. My physical therapist, Meredith Butulis, was so amazing and motivating. She was very clear with my plan for therapy and she knew and understood my goals. I felt at every session we made progress so it made going to therapy very exciting! Meredith described my plan as a freight train, we are always pushing and driving forward but in a controlled pace. She was very clear that I could not push my ankle too much or it could reverse my progress. Slow and steady really does win the race! I also had to spend time in occupational therapy for my thumb. I was going to physical therapy for ankle twice a week and occupational therapy once a week. It consumed my life but again, I made it my job to get back!
After 15 long weeks, I graduated from therapy!! I was beyond excited to see how far I had come!! Now another battle was about to begin! I needed to get back to teaching group fitness! As a group fitness instructor, I perform most of the class with my members. Doing every movement with them! I took it slow. I started out by walking on the treadmill and using other cardio machines. I was lifting weights to strengthen my body. And of course still performing all my physical therapy stretches and exercises! And just like physical therapy, I felt that every time I stepped into the gym I was making progress. I had a goal of April 1st to teach my fist class!
April 1st came very fast but I was ready! It was the most amazing feeling to step into the group fitness studio and have the members welcome me back! They seemed equally excited to have me back! Most of them were shocked that I had come back so fast! I did have to modify some movements and do more coaching but I felt complete again teaching, motivating and inspiring others again! Since then, I have added several more classes to my schedule and am now full time again after 5 months of medical leave! I am teaching new formats and piloting a brand new group fitness format for Lifetime! I have also decided to become a certified personal trainer through Lifetime Academy so I can further help and motivate other people to achieve their goals! One of my biggest accomplishments was running with my children in their school family fun run! It felt great to run side by side with them and they all said “Mommy you are running again!”
This could have been a devastating injury but with hard work, determination and an amazing team at TCO, I have been able to comeback!! I have a very positive outlook on my future. I don’t think my ankle or thumb will hold me back from anything I want to accomplish!! I am so thankful for my amazing team at TCO for giving the opportunity to be active again and live my life fully!
May 3, 2019
I won a trip for two to southeast Asia at my company’s holiday party. Finally experiencing Thailand, my bucket list destination for years. My childhood friend was my companion, planning most of the trip for us as I dealt with my husband’s unpredictably extraordinary health challenge, tying two jobs together to make our mortgage payment, and playing both Mom and Dad as our oldest navigated the college application process and scholarships to cover AP test scores. Stress mounted.
Meeting Lori in Seattle for a free-spirited adventure; after a 30-minute monologue, skimming the surface of all drama and challenge at home, we agreed to be present on our adventure of a lifetime and leave home at home.
On our last day, after riding the scooter caboose in Vietnam, touring temples in Siem Reap, and wandering the flower markets in Bangkok, I left for a two-day hike compressed into one day with a monk tour guide and a tourist from London sporting six-pack abs. Long before seeing the first hike highlight, I was amazed. The beauty of all the greens, the sound of the waterfalls, and the simple and yet so complex insight from our guide blew me away. Eventually, we stopped for lunch. Our pad thai to-go, wrapped in banana leaves, was set upon a place mat cut from the banana tree where the fresh bananas fell and a watermelon, pulled from our guide’s backpack, was cut. Waterfalls were the backdrop. Unbelievable.
Leaving there, the hike continued to amaze – we stopped to smell fresh tamarind and wild ginger and then we rounded a curve, 3 hours in to an 8 hour hike, where the path meandered into a vine covered jungle like I imagined in National Geographic.
Remembering Lori, who chose to stay back to meet a monk, while I was in the jungle on my own private tour, I felt compelled to video my path into this overgrown amazement. 11 seconds of video, included my fall, which is the beginning of my continuing Comeback Story.
My guide scurried into the jungle, returning with a bamboo stick for a crutch, and then encouraged me to a river of ice cold water to soak my ankle for 30 minutes before returning to the trail.
Had I had fewer than three years of daily meditation under my belt, I wonder how I would have gotten out of the jungle. Each step, following the loud pop and searing heat and pain, I summoned my inner mojo to figure out how to quickly get off my right foot and back to my left. No even footing at all as we continued to climb to the village which was the destination. We clearly weren’t calling in an airlift; oh wait, no cell service and no roads and no people.
We reached the village. Unbelievable and amazing. Completely worth it. Our descent to our transportation was unbelievable as the decline left little room for error and our guide managed his pace with the sun, hoping, I believe, we would get to the road in time. I went step by step, my chatter and enthusiasm ended.
Fell on November 7 in a jungle in Thailand
Hiked with a bamboo stick for 4 hours to get to transportation
Put foot on tray table in airplane from Chiang Mai to Taipei
Limped to eat dumplings in Taipei
Foot back on tray table from Taipei to Seattle
Wheelchair to curb where my brother met me with crutches
Overnight in Seattle
Crutches to Minneapolis
My children pick me up in Minneapolis and bring me to ER on November 11
ER says x-ray inconclusive and I am given a gel cast (I declined “the boot” for fear of my back going out)
ER recommends if I am not better, see an orthopedic
December 22 (yes gel brace and limping for 7 weeks), my amazing boss wonders how she can help me
“I want to go dog sledding but I want to know if I’ll mess up my ankle more”
“You can get an MRI as a walk-in”
Oh boy. Lucky me an ankle surgeon was in the TCO Urgent Care and ordered an MRI on Christmas Eve.
December 26, Dr. Brad Moser asked, “Doesn’t it hurt? You need surgery and Dr. Coetzee has taken your case.”
January 9 I meet, and fall in love, with Dr. Coetzee. He watches my video of my fall in the jungle in Thailand, offers me an option, approves me getting a pedicure (7 weeks of jungle in my toes), and instills confidence and kindness that still brings tears to my eyes.
January 11 surgery. Leave with an amazing cast!
11 days later, the cast comes off and I have an unbelievable nerve response.
Recovery. Is. Slow. And. It. Keeps. Snowing. And. It’s. Really. Cold. Schools. Keep. Closing. Longest. Winter. Ever.
Eventually. PT at Eden Prairie TCO – Meredith and Jake are amazing!
April 11, I was able to venture on a work trip to Dallas without my knee scooter or boot and even took a spin two-stepping.
April 27, I walked 5 miles (not all at once), and I am on my Comeback!
I spotted the advertisement for the Comeback deadline and had high hopes I would be doing something amazing by May 3 – almost 6 months after my fall – but it’s amazing that I find it amazing that I can stand on one leg and walk up and down the stairs.
It’s a journey.
Thank you TCO!
April 27, 2019
In April 2015, while on a tour of Northern Ireland with my daughter, I slipped while struggling to disembark from a tall jeep, in the driving rain of Belfast. When I fell five feet from the jeep’s metal stairs and tumbled to the ground, crooked left foot first, I knew it was bad because my daughter Julia implored me not to look. The angle of my foot was unnatural, the pain was excruciating, and the rain had turned to sleet as I waited for the ambulance to rescue me from the parking lot of the Titanic Experience (foreshadowing?). I spent 11 days in the Royal Victoria Hospital in Belfast, undergoing both an ex-fix and an internal fixation surgery for my trimalleolar fracture. A week later, I was flown home on a Medi-Vac plane with a suitcase full of blood thinners, in a cast up to my knee. After the cast, boot, and much PT—along with periodic shots of cortisone—I walked pretty well until last winter, when the cortisone stopped working. I hobbled into Dr. Chris Coetzee’s office in early February 2019, a brace on my left ankle and a cane in my hand, afraid I was facing the mobility-limiting ankle fixation that two other orthopedic surgeons had suggested. To my great relief and delight, Dr. Coetzee offered me instead an ankle replacement surgery a month later. Two days ago (April 23), I tossed aside my scooter, boot, and crutches, and I am now once again walking down the street where I live: Main Street, which runs alongside the Mississippi River. I predict I will be crossing the iconic Stone Arch Bridge by Memorial Day. Thanks to the magical team of Dr. Chris Coetzee, Larry Nilsson, P.A., and Lisa Long, scheduler extraordinaire.
April 3, 2019
I was a patient of Dr. Coetzee at Twin Cities Orthopedics. I have CMT (Charcot Marie Tooth Disease) which is a genetic muscle and bone disease. I injured my left ankle from a fall in September of 2017 and after months of limping around and extreme pain, I saw Dr. Coetzee and he performed surgery on June 6, 2018. He did an ankle fusion with a plate. After 5 months of recovery, I was still having a lot of pain in my foot, so Dr. Coetzee discovered that my plate was digging into my bone and new bone was beginning to grow over it. In November 2018, he removed the plate and screws from my ankle.
I am walking now with more mobility and able to do things that I couldn’t for almost a year. However, I continue to have swelling and pain in my ankle. On April 30, 2019 I saw Dr. Coetzee and looking at my Xrays he stated that my bones are healed nicely but with the swelling problem he said that I am having problems with my soft tissue, so he referred me to Susan Anderson, who is a therapist at TCO. She was wonderful and recommended some compression wraps and PT to reduce my pain and swelling and is very confident that I can overcome this problem. I am currently following this plan of treatment, my faith is strong and I believe I can improve my quality of life.
Having a disabling and degenerative muscle disease since I was a child is a very humbling and a huge character building experience. Many of my family members have this disease and has affected some worse than others. I, unfortunately, have many of the “bad” symptoms. Learning to deal with people mocking you on the way you walk, stumbling and falling down often, the pain and limited activities that I can and cannot do, has taught me to embrace the things that make me happy. I enjoy spending time with my grandchildren and doing activities like fishing, 4-wheeling, camping, bonfires, and watching baseball games, which are all very satisfying for me, and I want to make to best of my life while I still can.
I am so thankful for Dr. Coetzee and his staff for their knowledge and experience and for giving me the chance to enjoy my life! Thank you.
March 22, 2019
Before my Lisfranc injury in March 2018, I had just gotten my 1 year “all-clear” scan results from battling cancer in 2016-17. I was getting my strength back after the chemo and radiation, and set aggressive goals for the coming year — to compete in my first 70.3 (Half-Ironman) triathlon and my first marathon in 2018. In pursuit of those goals, I was on the way downstairs to the locker room at the gym on 3/30/18, eager to do my daily lunchtime workout, when I missed a step and injured my left foot. I soon learned from the ER doctor how serious the injury was and that my running and triathlon dreams may be over. The thought of being sidelined again (after my cancer comeback) was devastating.
But thankfully, I found Dr. Coetzee at TCO and he assured me that he could repair the foot. His confidence and caring manner were so comforting, and his expertise in foot surgery is second to none. The surgery was a complete success, and got me back on the road much sooner than anyone expected. Within 1 month I was swimming, in 2 months I was cycling, and in 3 months I was starting to run again! In September (5 months post-surgery), I competed in the Stillwater Square Lake 70.3 triathlon (1 mile swim, 56 mile bike, and 13 mile run). Then on October 7th (just 6 months post-surgery, with 2 plates and 10 screws still in my foot), I completed Twin Cities Marathon! Not only did I finish it, I ran the entire distance without even walking for a water break.
It’s been one year now since my injury and surgery. I am completely back to my old self…able to work full-time, take care of my family, plant my garden, ride my motorcycle, and train for the biggest challenge of all… my first full 140.6 Ironman in Wisconsin. I am grateful to Dr. Coetzee (and his wonderful staff Lisa Long and Larry Nilsson) for making me whole again!
P.S. My husband Pete is also training for Ironman Wisconsin. This winter, Dr. Coetzee repaired Morton’s Neuromas on BOTH of Pete’s feet (which had limited his training for the past decade). Nothing can stop us now! Thank you, thank you, thank you!
March 7, 2019
The last exercise during my weekly Saturday ballet class involved grand jétés, nothing new for us. We heard a loud pop and I turned my head back during the jump to see what made that sound. My leg had collapsed during the landing as I injured my achilles tendon. The ballet instructor, herself a chiropractor, immediately recommended Dr. Coetzee and added that she knows several dancers who have been his patients and were very satisfied with his work. I had my surgery and I am relieved to be added to that list of happy patients with Dr. Coetzee. My ankle was strong enough to hike Monte Leone in Switzerland. I am also back to yoga and ballet (bar only – no jumping) and am looking forward to cross country skiing. A big thank you to Dr. Coetzee!
February 13, 2019
I inherited bunions at 63 years old and was no longer sleeping at night, due to the pain of walking on them all day. I consulted with Dr. Coetzee and showed him a picture of my mom’s non-corrected bunions (to show him where I was headed). There wasn’t much more discussion and a surgery date was set. Upon my return home, my grown kids felt I would not get a good results and I might be better off living with my current feet. Three weeks later, I had a bilateral bunionectomy, as well as a bunionette surgery and a hammer toe corrected. My surgery was really pretty painless. I slept better the first night after surgery than I had slept for years. I am now 10 weeks post op, in my normal shoes, almost finished with my PT, and pretty much walking normally. I look at my new feet and can’t believe they are mine. They might not look gorgeous to you, but they are beautiful to me. I thank my friend for recommending Dr. Coetzee!
September 7, 2018
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.'”