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Rock Positano Adjunct Assistant Professor of Orthopaedics

Dr. Rock G. Positano has been on staff at HSS since 1991 and is nationally known for his non-surgical approach for the treatment of foot disorders. He serves in the capacity of Director of the Non-surgical Foot and Ankle Service at Hospital for Special Surgery. Dr. Positano was featured on the front page of the New York Times (Dec. 7, 2003) in an article concerning the dangers of cosmetic foot surgery. He recently authored and edited an orthopedic/medical textbook with Dr. Chitranjan Ranawat entitled Disorders of the Heel, Rearfoot and Ankle which was cited in the prestigious Journal of Bone and Joint Surgery as a recommended book of interest for clinicians. His thesis on Foot Health was approved with "Honors" and "With Distinction" by the faculty of Yale University School of Medicine.

The Non-surgical Foot and Ankle Service is dedicated to evaluating the majority of foot and ankle problems that often can be treated successfully without surgery. It is a unique service dedicated to providing non-surgical treatment for foot and ankle problems and is the very first in the greater New York area located at a major teaching hospital dedicated to orthopedic/musculoskeletal care and research.

Sports-related injuries include heel and achilles pain, ankle sprains, shin splints, bunion pain, metatarsal pain, neuroma, sesamoid bone, stress fractures, overuse injuries, tendon problems, and all musculoskeletal injuries involving the foot and ankle.

The service is nationally renowned for its expertise in the design and fabrication of prescription foot orthotics used to treat many orthopedic foot and ankle problems. In addition, foot orthotics are prescribed to treat biomechanically related problems involving the knee, hip, and lower back, as these conditions are often responsive to the stability and improved mechanics that these devices provide.

Sport-specific orthotics designed to both improve athletic performance and reduction of sports-related injury are also prescribed for running, tennis, squash, golf, basketball, alpine and cross-country skiing, cycling, spinning, soccer, lacrosse, hockey and figure skates, in-line skating, and hiking.

In addition, prescription foot orthotics are made for a variety of women and men's dress and casual shoes including pumps, loafers, flats, lace and specialty theatrical performance devices.

The service treats fractures of the foot/ankle and has a direct affiliation and access to the Sports Medicine and Shoulder Service, the Orthopedic Trauma Service (OTS) at Hospital for Special Surgery and New York-Presbyterian Hospital/Weill Cornell Medical Center, and the Limb Lengthening and Deformity Service.

The Non-surgical Foot and Ankle Service provides access to state of the art diagnostic testing that includes diagnostic ultrasound, computerized motion and gait analysis, bone densitometry, MRI, CAT scan, X-rays, and bone scans.

In situations where the foot/ankle problem is not responsive to conservative/non-surgical care, or when surgical intervention is necessary, referral is made to the appropriate surgical specialist.

Dr. Rock G. Positano, the Director and Founder of the Non-surgical Foot and Ankle Service, is a weekly health columnist for the New York Post and a Sports Medicine Consultant (Foot and Ankle) for The Associated Press. He was also prominently featured in a front page Sunday New York Times article (December 7, 2003) concerning the dangers of cosmetic foot surgery.

Brown Affiliations

scholarly work

Textbook of Musculoskeletal Physiatry (in press)

Foot and Ankle Sports Medicine (in press)

Clinics in Podiatric Medicine and Surgery- Nail Disorders

Clinics in Podiatric Medicine and Surgery- Occupational Medicine

Clinics in Podiatric Medicine and Surgery- Applied Biomechanics

Medical Clinics of North America- Environmental Medicine

Atlas of Foot and Ankle Sonography

Disorders of the Heel, Rearfoot, and Ankle

research statement

1) Office of the Chief Medical Examiner, City of New York. Research on Sudden Infant Death Syndrome, 1975–1979. Research advisor: Dr. Dominick J. DiMaio, Chief Medical Examiner, New York City.

2) Office of the Comptroller, City of New York. Research reports on occupational exposure to lead, formaldehyde and Halon 1301. Dioxin report prepared with specific regard to proposed Brooklyn Navy Yard Conversion Plant, 1983–1984.

3) Office of the Comptroller, City of New York. Research reports on malpractice claims in the city hospitals, 1983-1984.

4) New York University Medical Center, Institute of Environmental Medicine. Resuspension of dust from work clothing as an inhalation exposure, 1982-1984.

5) New York University Medical Center, Institute of Environmental Medicine. Research on the effects of microwaves on hemoglobin, 1984. Research advisor: Dr. Robert Liburdy.

6) New York University Medical Center and the New College of Podiatric Medicine. Research conducted to develop the field of occupational podiatric medicine, 1985 through present.

7) Orthopaedic Institute of New York and the New York College of Podiatric Medicine. Development of a foot measuring device to measure foot size changes during pregnancy, 1985-1987.

8) Institute for Economic Analysis, New York University and the New York College of Podiatric Medicine. Research conducted with Nobel Laureate Economist Dr. Wassily Leontief and Dr. Faye Duchin to evaluate podiatric medicine as a model for the input-output theory of economic analysis, 1986 to present.

9) Lawrence Berkeley Laboratory and the New York College of Podiatric Medicine. Effect of pulsating electromagnetic fields on soft tissue wound healing, 1984 to present.

10) New York College of Podiatric Medicine. Research conducted to initiate and establish the field of forensic podiatric medicine. Such a new discipline will assist authorities in the identification of mass disaster victims when current conventional methods are not able to be utilized.
11) Yale University School of Medicine. Development of a preventative and occupational podiatric medicine protocol for the corporate and medical center setting. Research advisors: Dr. Arthur Upton and Dr. Eric Mood (Yale).