Dr. Brandon Scharer’s grandfather was a chiropractor. Scharer’s father is a recently retired chiropractor.
Scharer wouldn’t fault you for assuming he, too, would pursue a career as a chiropractor. Instead, he forged his own path, leading him to a career as a foot and ankle surgeon. Today, he practices with Orthopedics & Sports Medicine BayCare Clinic in Green Bay.
Chiropractic medicine didn’t quite captivate him the way podiatry and foot and ankle surgery did.
“I was thinking of kind of doing what my dad did, and then I just wasn’t super interested,” he says.
Interested in podiatry, foot and ankle surgery
His interest in podiatry and foot and ankle surgery was sparked while shadowing a podiatrist while obtaining his undergraduate degree in biology at the University of Eau Claire.
“I shadowed him in clinic and surgery and then there’s another guy that joined their group and he did more of what I do … the rearfoot ankle, reconstructive stuff, and as soon as I saw both those guys and followed them … I had my blinders on, laser beam, and I haven’t looked back.”
Scharer received his podiatric degree from Des Moines University in Iowa and completed his residency in podiatric medicine and surgery at Wheaton Franciscan Healthcare St. Joseph in Milwaukee.
“I always gravitated more to heavily surgical practice,” he says. “I chose rotations where I knew they were heavily surgical and they had a lot of guys doing the kind of surgery I wanted to do which then led me to my residency program in Milwaukee which was, at the time, by far probably the highest surgical volume in the country.”
Scharer is fellowship trained in treatment of the foot and ankle and is board certified in foot surgery and reconstructive rearfoot and ankle surgery by the American Board of Podiatric Surgery.
He treats common and complex foot and ankle issues including arthritis, hammertoes, flat feet, torn ankle ligaments, heel spurs and plantar fasciitis. He also offers foot and ankle reconstructive surgery and total ankle replacement surgery.
“Patients come in typically with some type of pain or ailment and we start with an X-ray and talk to them and figure out kind of what’s been going on over the last however long this has been bothering them,” he says.
Conservative approach to treatment
Treatment often starts conservatively. “That may be a change of shoes or an insert in their shoe or something basic,” Scharer says.
But if it’s a condition that has caused sustained discomfort or resulted in chronic pain, surgery becomes an option.
Scharer says he’s seeing an increase in patients needing repair for surgical procedures done elsewhere.
“Early on, you’re seeing patients with common heel pain that you treat conservatively but as my practice has grown, now patients are coming in with surgeries that didn’t work out from other facilities, their ankle implants are falling apart, so, now it’s more patients coming in specifically for, ‘Hey I need this fixed or I need that fixed.’”
Thanks to his patient care philosophy, Scharer is happy to help.
“These patients are just frustrated,” he says. “You can tell that they haven’t gotten the results they wanted and so I just kind of put myself in their shoes and I’m like, ‘Man, if this all happened to me and I’m stuck in this predicament, what would I want?’
“So I try to just say, ‘I know what you’re going through because … we all go through things that didn’t turn out the way we wanted.’”
Scharer strives to return these, and all his patients, “back to anything normal in their life.”
“You see yourself more in other patients’ shoes and this could be you,” he says. “I’m doing my best to treat everyone as well as I can because hopefully karma works out for me in the future.”
Outside of the office
Away from work, Scharer, who is originally from Abbotsford – which is about two hours west of Green Bay – spends quality time with his wife, Christy, and their children.
“My kids are in sports so at this stage in my life it’s more about me hanging out with them and spending time with them, going to their sporting events, bringing them to soccer and basketball,” he says.
The family enjoys waterskiing and “typical Wisconsin stuff … being outside,” he says. “To be honest, it’s spending time with my family and hanging out with my kids before they get too old.”