Matthew Dobbs, MD, FACS is director of the Dobbs Clubfoot Center at the Paley Institute in West Palm Beach, Florida. Prior to that he was the Dr. Asa C. and Mrs. Dorothy W. Jones Professor of Orthopedic Surgery and the Director of Strategic Planning at Washington University School of Medicine. He also co-directed an NIH funded musculoskeletal genetics research laboratory and was founder (2001) and director of the clubfoot clinic at Saint Louis Children’s from 2001-2020.
He has been named a top orthopedic surgeon by US News & World Report, Top Doctors, Castle Connelly, Consumers' Research Council, Orthopedics This Week, the International Association of Orthopedic Surgeons, and St. Louis Magazine. He has been featured in the Chicago Tribune, San Francisco Chronicle, and the LA Times. He is internationally recognized for his expertise and innovation in the field of pediatric foot and lower limb deformities as well as in the management of patients with cerebral palsy spasticity.
Dr. Dobbs trained under the guidance of Professor Ignacio Ponseti (Ponseti method). Since that time, he has introduced the Ponseti method for clubfoot management to surgeons in more than 50 countries. He has established a “train the trainers” program for clubfoot management where key thought leaders from different countries are identified and brought to him for intense training in the method so that they are then empowered to return home and train other surgeons in their own country. Patients travel to see Dr. Dobbs from all 50 states and from more than 65 countries over six continents (North and South America, Europe, Asia, Africa, and Australia).
Dr. Dobbs is Dedicated to Research and Teaching
Dr. Dobbs has lectured and taught in more than 60 countries and has run an international fellows training program for more than 15 years. He is current President of the United States Bone and Joint Initiative (USBJI), President of the International Federation of Pediatric Orthopedic Surgeons (IFPOS), President of SICOT Foundation, Director of the International Clubfoot Congress, Secretary of the Association of Bone and Joint Surgeons (ABJS), and Senior Editor for Clinical Orthopedics and Related Research (CORR). He served as the inaugural Research Academy Chair of SICOT and has served on the Board of Directors for the American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons (AAOS) and the Pediatric Orthopedic Society of North America (POSNA).
He has presented over 300 talks at major national and international scientific conferences, published over a 160 scientific peer-reviewed medical journal articles including publications in the New England Journal of Medicine and Nature Methods, written over 30 book chapters, and authored a textbook. He has been a visiting professor at institutions in over 60 countries. He is actively involved in the teaching of medical students, residents, fellows, and visiting national and international orthopedic surgeons.
Intensives Rehab Therapy Session
Dr. Dobbs offers Intensives Rehabilitation Therapy Sessions. Therapy will be individualized to the patient who, with their family, will be asked to identify functional goals which will be addressed to promote an improvement in skills and independence.
Group Sessions Limited to Maximum of 6 Children
For more information on this program or to register, please contact Rebecca Clinard
Academic and Other Credentials
- Dr. Dobbs has received numerous research awards including the Nicolas Andry Award, Hunterian Gold Medal for his work isolating the gene responsible for triphalangeal thumb, and the Kappa Delta Award (orthopedic surgery's nobel prize). He has received the best paper award at AAOS, SRS, POSNA, SICOT, and the European Federation of National Association of Orthopedics and Traumatology (EFORT). His humanitarian work at home and abroad has been recognized with the Humanitarian Award—Shujaa Award For Compassionate and Exceptional Care to The Immigrant Community in St. Louis and the Guardians of Childhood Award.
- He has published over 160 peer-reviewed articles, authored over 30 book chapters and authored a textbook.
- He was the Dr. Asa C. and Mrs. Dorothy W. Jones Professor of Orthopedic Surgery and the Director of Strategic Planning at Washington University School of Medicine. He also co-directed an NIH funded musculoskeletal genetics research laboratory and was founder (2001) and director of the clubfoot clinic at Saint Louis Children’s from 2001-2020.
- He received subspeciality training in pediatric orthopedics and pediatric spinal deformity at the Shriners Hospital for Children in Saint Louis in 2001. He was also awarded the SRS travelling fellowship.
Delivering Innovation Solutions
Dr. Dobbs is an innovator in minimally invasive surgery for congenital and developmental foot and lower extremity deformities as well as torticollis. (e.g. congenital vertical talus, congenital knee dislocation, nail-patella syndrome, congenital muscular torticollis, and lower extremity tendon lengthening in patients with cerebral palsy spasticity). His technique to treat congenital vertical talus, a severe rigid flatfoot deformity present at birth, for example, has revolutionized the treatment of vertical talus and is now being utilized successfully across the world.
Much like the Ponseti method for clubfoot treatment, the Dobbs method for vertical talus correction relies on gentle manipulation of the foot followed by serial casting, a small surgical procedure, and bracing to provide full correction and avoid more extensive surgery. By avoiding more extensive surgery, the child’s foot flexibility is maintained while the child grows. This leads to excellent correction and maintenance of foot flexibility long-term.
His multi-disciplinary approach to congenital muscular torticollis relies on careful and accurate diagnosis, followed by specific physical therapy, bracing, and botulinum toxin injections. The technique allows the avoidance of surgery in most young patients. He developed a serial casting technique for congenital knee dislocation which provides excellent correction without the complications of major surgical intervention.
He has partnered with a neurosurgeon to provide a unique approach to patients with cerebral palsy spasticity. After spasticity is removed through a neurological procedure called selective dorsal rhizotomy (SDR), Dr. Dobbs performs percutaneous tendon lengthening for lower extremity contractures. This management strategy allows early return to ambulation and improved gait and function long-term.
Dr. Dobbs also developed a brace to maintain clubfoot correction. The brace, which bears his name, is utilized in over 50 countries and has helped thousands of clubfoot patients avoid relapse and the need for further intervention.
- American Board of Orthopedic Surgery
Areas of Interest
- Pediatric and Adult Foot Deformity
- Pediatric Lower Extremity Deformity
- Vertical Talus
- Cavus foot
- Genetic Disorders
- Skeletal Dysplasia
- Leg Length Inequalities
- Clinical, Basic Science, and Translational Research
- Congenital patella dislocation
- Nail-Patella Syndrome
- Cerebral palsy spasticity
- Toe walking
- Tarsal Coalition
- Curly toes
- Hammer toes
- Hallux valgus
- Short metatarsals (brachymetatarsia)
- Tendon contractures
- Posteromedial tibial bow
- Foot drop
- Neuromuscular conditions (e.g., arthrogryposis, spina bifida, hereditary sensory motor neuropathies (HSMN), sacral agenesis)
Education & Training
University of Iowa College of Medicine, Iowa City, Iowa
University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics, Iowa City, Iowa
Pediatric Orthopedic Surgery & Pediatric Spine Surgery, Shriners Hospital for Children, St. Louis, MO
- President, United States Bone and Joint Initiative, Executive Board
- President, SICOT Foundation
- President, International Federation of Pediatric Orthopedic Surgeons (IFPOS)
- Secretary, Association of Bone and Joint Surgeons, Executive Board
- Treasurer, World Orthopedic Concern, Executive Board
- Research Academy Chair, International Society of Orthopedic Surgery and Traumatology (SICOT), Executive Board
- Chair, Grants Committee, Orthopedic Research and Education Foundation, Executive Board
- Clubfoot Research Forum, Board of Directors, Founding member
- Miraclefeet, Board of Directors, Medical Advisory Board, member
- University of Notre Dame: "Treating Clubfoot and Transforming Lives"