Historically foot surgery was done by all orthopaedic surgeons and was commonly practiced in the era when orthopaedic surgeons were doing repair of polio ravaged patients. François P Fouché, the founder of the SAOA, trained under the famous Lambrinuti in London who is well known in foot surgery circles because of his operation for claw toes.
Fouché, one of the founders of the SAOA was well respected for his foot and ankle reconstruction. Foot surgery then fell into a decline but interest was again generated in the 1970’s by eminent Foot and Ankle Surgeons from the USA. The first of these was NJ Ginnestras followed by Roger Mann and later Ken Johnson. During the 1990’s interest in foot surgery continued to mount until the formation of the SA Foot Surgeons Association was considered at a meeting of 17 interested surgeons in the SAOA Congress in Cape Town in 1997.
They decided to proceed with the founding of an association. A constitution was drawn up and the association formally founded at the SAOA meeting in Bloemfontein the following year. Jos van Niekerk was the founder president. Since its foundation the association has held a congress every second year, mostly with invited eminent orthopaedic foot & ankle surgeons from Europe and North America to be a teaching faculty. The association continues to grow and produce good quality papers for presentation at our congresses and for publication.
– Jos van Niekerk