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John Paul Elton, M.D.
Verified Patient Rating: 4.9 (21 patient reviews and ratings)
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Ankle, Foot, Orthopaedic Trauma

Dr. John Paul Elton believes that listening to his patients is the most important diagnostic tool at his disposal. The Harvard-trained foot and ankle specialist knows from experience that “where it hurts” is not always the actual cause of the complaint.

Dr. Elton’s fellowship training has given him the expertise to handle the full spectrum of foot and ankle disorders: from sports injuries and fractures to nerve and tendon disorders, deformities, and chronic pain. He emphasizes that most non-traumatic injuries can be resolved with non-operative treatment.

Philosophically, Dr. Elton will recommend surgical intervention only when other non-operatives treatments have failed. A good surgeon, in his opinion, is first and foremost a good doctor: listening to a patient to understand how the injury or illness fits into the larger context of the patient’s life.

Dr. Elton is excited about innovations in joint replacement and the implications this may have for the foot and ankle. As people are enjoying longer and healthier lives, the desire to stay active is fueling the research that will make ankle replacement a viable option for many patients.

After completing his orthopaedic surgery residency in San Antonio, Texas, and his fellowship training in Boston, Massachusetts, Dr. Elton is delighted to be back in Colorado where he completed his undergraduate and medical school education. Dr. Elton is an avid cyclist and enjoys skiing and snowboarding, as well as camping and hiking with his wife and three children.

Education & Training

  • Bachelor of Science in Chemical Engineering: University of Colorado Boulder, Boulder, CO
  • Doctor of Medicine: University of Colorado School of Medicine, Denver, CO
  • Orthopaedic Surgery Residency: The University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio, San Antonio, TX
  • Foot and Ankle Fellowship: Harvard, Brigham and Women’s Hospital, Boston, MA


  • Board Certification: American Board of Orthopaedic Surgery

Professional Associations

  • American Association of Orthopaedic Surgeons
  • American Orthopaedic Foot and Ankle Society

Hospital Affiliations

  • St. Anthony Summit Medical Center
  • Vail Valley Medical Center
  • Vail Valley Surgery Center
  • Peak One Surgery Center


  • WSMRF Subspecialty Award, Western Student Medical Research Forum, 2003
  • Outstanding Research Poster Presentation, UCHSC Student Research Forum, 2001
  • Henry J. Tumen Research Fellowship, Gastroenterology, Graduate Hospital, 2001
  • Undergraduate Research Grant, University of Colorado, 1997, 1998, 1999
  • University of Colorado Study Abroad Scholarship, 1996
  • College of Engineering Dean’s List, University of Colorado, Spring 1995, Fall 1996
  • Omega Chi Epsilon, Chemical Engineering Honor Society, 1995, 1999


Resident Research Project, UTHSCSA, San Antonio, Texas 
Analysis of Resident’s Ridge and the Functional Anatomy of the Anterior Cruciate Ligament, and anatomic study using arthroscopy and MRI data;
Study of the use of Nitinol staples for vertebral body fixation, a porcine cadaveric study of the pullout strength of vertebral instrumentation augmented with Nitinol staples.

Research Fellow, Graduate Hospital, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Clinical study of esophageal motility using esophageal manometry and multichannel intraluminal impedance.

Research Associate, Sulzer Orthopedics Inc., Wheat Ridge, Colorado
Coordinated clinical trials assessing efficacy of bone and meniscus allograft material. Development of in-vitro and in-vivo immunoassays, protein purification (Chromatography, Electrophoresis). Cell culture management and project development.

Brigham Women’s Hospital, Boston, Massachusetts
Technique for limited open achilles tendon repair with ring forceps in the foot and ankle in the Foot and Ankle International  (October 2010). 

The role of physical therapy after repair of achilles tendon ruptures.

How to Prevent Common Foot Ailments

Here in the mountains, we jam our feet into stiff ski boots, hammer them on trail runs and hikes, and squeeze them into tiny climbing shoes. What...

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Foot Position With Cleats

  • Fore/aft so that the ball of the foot is in line with the pedal spindle
  • Side to side so that the 2nd toe is in line with the...
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Foot Pain or Numbness

Foot pain or numbness is often the result of wearing soft-soled shoes. Special shoes designed for cycling have stiff soles that distribute...

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Cutting Edge Technique Fixes Ruptured Achilles Tendons

The Achilles tendon is a strong, fibrous band connecting the calf muscle to the heel. You will most likely know if you have ruptured your Achilles...

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Vail-Summit Orthopaedics’ Doctors Featured on Becker’

All of our doctors were recently featured in Becker’s “Orthopedic Specialist to Know” section. 

To read...

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VSO in the News

To remove or not to remove the hardware after othopaedic surgery? Summit Daily News reporter Phil Lindeman talks with Dr. Bill Sterett and Dr....

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Foot article in Vail Health Magazine with Dr. John Paul Elton

In the latest issue of Vail Health Magazine. VSO foot and ankle specialist Dr. John Paul Elton discusses common foot conditions and ways to...

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“Dr. Elton has proven to be an extremely effective orthopedist to help me treat my injury over the past 6 months. Additionally, he and his entire staff have been very caring and kind - making the whole process (especially surgery) feel a little less scary. ”
– Melissa H.
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