Nathan J. Kiewiet, MD

Story by Lynne Hayes

Leading the Charge – Resolving Foot and Ankle Issues

For all the punishment we put them through every day, our feet and ankles just don’t get the respect or attention they deserve. That is, until something goes wrong. Sprains, strains, fractures, arthritis, fallen arches, deformities…when severe pain hits your foot or ankle, even a short walk to the bathroom can be excruciating.

Here in the Kansas City area, we’re fortunate to have an Orthopedic Surgeon who focuses exclusively on resolving complex foot and ankle problems. Meet Dr. Nathan Kiewiet with Orthopedic Health of Kansas City.
As part of a 14-person team of Board-Certified, Fellowship-Trained Physicians and Surgeons, Dr. Kiewiet treats a wide range of foot and ankle issues. He has been cited by US News as one of the top nine best ankle replacement doctors in Kansas City, a ranking that also included the highest patient recommendation award.
“The foot is one of the most complex parts of a body,” explained Dr. Kiewiet, “with 33 joints, 26 bones, and more than a hundred muscles, tendons, and ligaments. People can be born with issues like flat feet for example and have no issues until adulthood. Or someone suffers a trauma to the foot and then develops arthritis. All of these things can cause real pain and an inability to walk. My goal is to restore functionality and help patients get back to a pain-free life.”

Where Patients are Treatment Partners

Dr. Kiewiet acknowledges that surgery may be needed in some cases, but for today’s orthopedic problems, orthotics, bracing, and physical therapy can achieve great results for others. A lot depends on the patient’s goals and desires.
“I consider myself a conservative surgeon. In other words, I try to exhaust non-surgical options before turning to an operation,” shared Dr. Kiewiet, who has been with the practice for 12 years. “That said, if my patient insists on that measure first, we will explore it. It’s all part of listening to and respecting what they want.”
Online patient reviews bear out Dr. Kiewiet’s mission to be a good listener. Among the recent comments, one patient mentioned that she “appreciated the doctor not talking down to me but listening to me and showing me such great respect!” Another patient noted that “Dr. Kiewiet has a good bedside manner and (is) very direct.”
“I do try to take the time to explain things in a way patients can understand,” he said. “Every person comes in with a different point of view, so I try to tailor my explanatory style to the individual’s personality. Some like to see diagrams; others just want to ask questions or reassurance. Everyone appreciates not feeling rushed.”

Leading the Charge for Ankle Replacements

In the 12 years he’s been with the practice, and throughout his fellowship, Dr. Kiewiet has every reason to project an attitude described by one patient as “a very calm demeanor like he has seen this a hundred times.”
He’s performed numerous total ankle replacements and replacement revisions, along with treating everything from toe deformities to post-traumatic reconstruction.

“People don’t often hear about ankle replacements,” Dr. Kiewiet noted. “Knee and hip replacements are so prevalent these days, but ankle replacements are increasing. The artificial ankle joint has a much more complex job to do – the ankle joint has a very intricate motion because it needs to flex up and down, side to side, and also rotate.”

“I chose this specialty during my residency when I saw how restoring proper motion to feet and ankles could have a profound effect on a patient’s life,” he added. “It’s more than relieving pain, it’s restoring functionality so a person can walk, dance or play sports again without giving those actions a second thought.”

A Practice with Unique Advantages

Being part of a team of skilled Orthopedic Surgeons each focusing on a different body part has provided some important collaborative advantages.

“Our patients are the winners here,” points out Dr. Kiewiet, “because our physician team collaborates in several ways. For example, I may see a patient with foot or ankle pain and learn they’re dealing with pain elsewhere in their body. In our practice, I can simply refer them to my colleagues right here in the office who can step in to consult on and/or treat that issue.”
Added Dr. Kiewiet, “If a patient is involved in a trauma with multiple fractures or injuries, the different specialists in our group, including trauma surgeons, can work together to provide the best possible outcome for the patient.” Another patient benefit of the practice is the efficient design of the care protocol.

“I have a support team dedicated to me, as do each of my colleagues,” said Dr. Kiewiet. “My nurse and physician’s assistant are both excellent assets to patient care because they handle initial workups and some of the follow-ups. In this way, patients are able to get appointments with me faster than at many practices. It’s a big advantage.”

Each Day Has Its Rewards

As demanding as his work is, Dr. Kiewiet said he has so many reasons to love what he does.
“I see patients daily who present with a foot or ankle issue from birth, or as a result of trauma, or even age,” he shared. “They talk about the pain or disability they’ve been living with for so long, and I’m honored to be able to help them overcome that.”
Knowing the impact I can have on their functional capabilities, helping to get them pain-free so they can get back to things they haven’t done in years, that’s what is so incredibly rewarding for me.”

For more information about Dr. Kiewiet and Orthopedic Health of Kansas City
call (816) 561-3003 or visit: