ONS Spotlight on Foot and Ankle Surgeon Dr. Michael Clain

Featured Doctor

Get to know Foot and Ankle orthopaedic surgeon Dr. Michael Clain and learn what drives his personal approach in caring for patients. He is a board-certified orthopaedic surgeon who specializes in the foot and ankle. Dr. Clain sees patients at ONS in Greenwich, CT and Harrison, NY.

What is your philosophy to your practice?

I am committed to being laser focused on every patient that comes to see me, to give them my undivided attention.  I believe in being very honest with patients about their condition and what it will take to resolve their problem.  Most patients I see do not require surgery and can be treated with bracing, physical therapy, injections and other treatments.  When surgery is indicated, I make a major effort to ensure that my patients understand the surgery and particularly the recovery period.  I usually write down a timeline of milestones we expect to achieve. Setting reasonable expectations based on a patient’s condition, their general health and activity level is the best way to deliver a great result.  I try to remember the advice of an old mentor that you are only as good as your last patient; be upbeat, have a sense of humor and give everyone a full effort.

Outside of your work, what are your personal interests?

I have always enjoyed sports. Growing up in Zimbabwe until college, I played everything from rugby to cricket to soccer and squash. Now I play golf and tennis and stay as active as I can. This has given me great empathy for my patients as I understand how important it is for us all, physically and mentally, to be active and to do the things you love the most.   My wife and I love to travel the world and look forward to returning to that as vaccinations make it safe again.

What made you chose to become an orthopedic surgeon?

When I was in medical school, initially I was not sure what area of medicine I would end up practicing. As a fourth-year medical student at Columbia I spent a month on the Orthopaedic service. I found those doctors to be passionate and enthusiastic about their work.  Despite working very hard they seemed to be having fun!  What could be better! I really liked the combination of patients of all ages, the intellectual diagnostic challenges, and the ability to use one’s hands in the operating room. I was fortunate to have found the right spot for me.

What trends in your specialty area do you see emerging?

Arthroscopy and surgical pain management are two areas where we have seen great advances in recent years and where there will continue to be new and better ways of doing things.  Implant materials and their mechanics are also evolving and improving. However, even with new technological advances, it is important as a surgeon to adhere to fundamental principles as we integrate new ideas.

How do you stay current in your field?

I read a lot to stay up to date on everything that is happening in the world of foot and ankle conditions and surgery. The network I share with my colleagues across the country is invaluable, as are my relationships with my fellow ONS surgeons with whom I collaborate on a regular basis. Now that we are seeing the end of the Covid crisis, it will be good to go back to traveling to medical conferences to reconnect with the broader orthopaedics community face to face again.