Meet Dr. Dane WukichFoot and Ankle Specialist in Dallas, Texas
- Holder of the:
- Dr. Charles F. Gregory Distinguished Chair in Orthopaedic Surgery
Dane Wukich, M.D., is a nationally renowned foot and ankle clinician and researcher, who is recognized internationally for his work in limb salvage, management of diabetes-related complications, and education.
As a practicing physician and the Chair of UT Southwestern’s Department of Orthopaedic Surgery, Dr. Wukich uses his expertise to help people regain functionality after injury or illness.
Serving Those Who Serve
Dr. Wukich attributes much of his surgical skill to his military service as an army doctor.
He served as a chief of orthopaedic surgery for the 5th Mobile Army Surgical Hospital (MASH) in Operations Desert Storm and Desert Shield, and later cared for the paratroopers of the 82nd Airborne Division at Ft. Bragg. From early in his career, Dr. Wukich cared for soldiers with traumatic injuries to the foot and ankle. Because he also took care of retired veterans and the families of active-duty soldiers, he also gained extensive experience treating diabetes-related complications in the foot.
Dr. Wukich says foot and ankle surgery, perhaps more than most orthopaedic subspecialties, requires collaboration with experts in many fields of medicine.
“As a result of taking care of people with diabetes, I often work with endocrinologists, vascular surgeons, plastic surgeons, podiatrists, and other specialists. Because of my interest in spastic foot and ankle deformities in patients with traumatic brain injury and stroke, I interact with specialists from physical medicine and rehabilitation, neurology and physical therapy.”
And as department chair, he has the added benefit of working closely with faculty members across every orthopaedic specialty at UT Southwestern.
“It’s exciting to get to look at the big picture of orthopaedics every day – my own specialty as well as the upper extremities, back, hips, knees.” He says his ongoing work with other specialists broadens and shapes his perspective, both as a physician and as a leader.
Dr. Wukich left his hometown of Pittsburgh to lead the Department of Orthopaedic Surgery at UT Southwestern because he saw it as a center of excellence that was ready to leap to the next level.
“I was particularly attracted to UT Southwestern because of the enthusiasm of the administration, the orthopaedic faculty, the residents, and the alumni. All the great building blocks were here to create a world-class department in a great city.”
Function is the Key to Health
Orthopaedics is devoted to restoring function and mobility, which Dr. Wukich notes is critical to a patient’s overall health. He is proud to lead an orthopaedic department that is comprehensive in its ability to address any functional problems in the body.
“At UT Southwestern we can take care of any part of your body, head to toe,” he says. “As a specialty, orthopaedic surgery also provides care for every age group.”
As a foot and ankle surgeon, Dr. Wukich treats patients with foot and ankle injuries related to trauma or to overuse, as well as people with foot complications related to the growing epidemic of diabetes. He also works with people who have lower extremity-related problems that are secondary to stroke and traumatic brain injury.
Many of his patients with overuse injuries are over age 50.
“The term athlete no longer just applies to the 20-somethings,” he notes. “It may be the 60-year-old tennis player, the 70-year-old trying out for a triathlon. Or it could be that 80-year-old couple who choose dance for their aerobic activity.”
As our population ages, Dr. Wukich says we will see more and more age-related orthopaedic problems.
“Arthritis goes along with being older. Overuse issues go along with being older,” he says. “And we know that when people maintain their activity level, it benefits their overall health. Our goal is to allow people to be able to participate in the activities they like to do, and to stay active and healthy as they mature and age,” he says.
The spirit of service is at the heart of Dr. Wukich’s approach to medicine.
“What I’m most proud of as a physician is my military service as an army surgeon,” he says. “It’s been meaningful to come to a place like Texas where there’s such wonderful support for our veterans.”
Although he has retired from the army, Dr. Wukich still sees his role as one of service to his country.
“UT Southwestern is committed to creating the best orthopaedic care possible, not only for the citizens of North Texas, but also for the entire United States."