Michael D. VanPelt, D.P.M., FACFAS, is an Associate Professor in the Department of Orthopaedic Surgery at UT Southwestern Medical Center. He specializes in surgical treatment of foot and ankle sports injuries in adolescent and adult athletes, as well as foot and ankle trauma and reconstruction.

Dr. VanPelt earned his doctoral degree in podiatric medicine at the Dr. William M. Scholl College of Podiatric Medicine, Rosalind Franklin University of Medicine and Science. He completed a residency in podiatric medicine and surgery at the University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio and received advanced training through a podiatric sports medicine fellowship at Barry University in Miami, Florida.

Certified by the American Board of Foot and Ankle Surgery in foot surgery and reconstructive rearfoot ankle surgery, he joined the UT Southwestern faculty in 2007.

Dr. VanPelt is a Fellow of the American College of Foot and Ankle Surgery and a past president of the Dallas County Podiatric Medical Society. He currently is on the board of directors of the Texas Podiatric Medical Association, serving as Chairman of its continuing medical education committee.

He also serves on the board of directors of the American Board of Foot and Ankle Surgeons and its computer-based patient simulation reconstructive rearfoot and ankle review committee. In addition, he is a member of the American Academy of Podiatric Sports Medicine.

Dr. VanPelt has delivered scores of presentations, contributed to the book Sports Medicine and Arthroscopy of the Foot and Ankle, and published several academic articles related to his areas of expertise.

In 2011, he earned the Texas Podiatric Medical Association’s Young Practitioner Award.

Meet Michael VanPelt

Foot and Ankle Surgeon

During a game, a soccer player in Dallas hears a pop and feels a sudden pain in the back of his ankle – the athletic trainer tells him it looks like an Achilles tendon rupture. Across town, a football player suffers a broken ankle. And a few blocks away, a runner in a new pair of minimalist shoes begins to feel an unfamiliar pain in her feet. She has to cut her run short. Those athletes should make their way to Michael VanPelt, D.P.M. An Associate Professor of Orthopaedic Surgery at UT Southwestern Medical Center and a go-to consultant for the UT Southwestern Sports Medicine Program, Dr. VanPelt is a podiatrist and foot and ankle surgeon specializing in injuries to the foot and ankle – especially athletic injuries. 

"I enjoy taking care of athletes. I’m a pretty big guy – 6 feet, 2 inches, and 265 pounds. I played sports growing up from first grade, from soccer to basketball, track, and football, and I know the kinds of injuries athletes experience."

He is board certified in both foot surgery and reconstructive ankle surgery, and he completed a podiatric sports medicine fellowship at Barry University in Miami, Florida. There he served as the podiatrist for the Miami Heat and the University of Miami men’s and women’s basketball team, and as team physician for Barry University athletics.

Runners get hurt too. Dr. VanPelt often sees runners with stress fractures to their sesamoids, a pair of small round bones at the base of the big toe. Overuse injuries can also strike runners who use minimalist shoes or go barefoot.

“Barefoot running is not for the novice runner – it should be for experienced runners who have a routine and regimen already,” Dr. VanPelt says. “In the U.S., everybody grows up in shoes. If all of a sudden you want to go back to barefoot again, it's not that easy.”

It takes time for athletes to recover from foot or ankle injuries, Dr. VanPelt says, and when patients return to play, they might not be at 100 percent. But once they’ve completed rehab and returned to play, they can start working their way back to their best.

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Education & Training
  • Fellowship - Barry University School of Graduate Medical Sciences (2006-2007), Podiatric Sports Medicine & Surgery
  • Residency - University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio (2003-2006), Podiatric Medicine & Surgery
  • Medical School - Rosalind Franklin University of Medicine & Science (1999-2003)
Professional Associations & Affiliations
  • Fellow of American College of Foot and Ankle Surgery
  • American College Of Foot And Ankle Surgeons
  • American College of Podiatric Sports Medicine
  • American College of Sports Medicine
  • American Podiatric Medical Association
  • Dallas Podiatric Medical Society
  • Texas Podiatric Medical Association
Honors & Awards
  • D Magazine Best Doctor 2022
  • Outstanding Educator Award 2019, Department of Prosthetics-Orthotics
  • Young Practitioner Award 2011, Texas Podiatric Medical Association, Annual Meeting
  • Dr. Harold Feder Orthopaedic Award 2001, The Scholl College Podiatric Medicine Finch University Health Science
  • Award Outstanding Contribution & Scholarly Research Area of Science/Technology 1998, University of Arkansas Pine Bluff School of Arts Science
Books & Publications
  • Use of Advanced Imaging of Calcaneal Fractures to improve surgical reconstruction of the calcaneus
  • Ankle and Foot Trauma
  • Ankle and Foot Reconstruction and Revision Surgery
  • Ankle and Foot Sports Injuries

Clinical Focus

  • Foot & Ankle Conditions
  • Foot & Ankle Surgical Treatments
  • Foot & Ankle Conservative Treatments
  • Diabetic Foot
  • Sports Medicine for Sprains, Strains & Trauma
  • Sprains, Strains & Trauma

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Q&A by Michael VanPelt

Michael VanPelt, D.P.M.

Dr. VanPelt talks about his approach to patient care.