By Carol Kinsley

When your feet hurt, that pain seems to affect every aspect of life. Don’t suffer needlessly. Whether your pain results from a sports injury, accident, diabetes, arthritis, a bunion or an ingrown nail, you can get expert, compassionate care at Southern Delaware Foot & Ankle (SDFA).

With four locations in Sussex County, SDFA is a full-service medical and surgical practice with three physicians trained to provide extensive surgical options for patients. Proclaiming “big city expertise and old-fashioned caring,” these experts have a breadth of knowledge to treat the most challenging foot and ankle injuries. Surgery is avoided unless necessary.

Shown (l to r) are Dr. Allen Mirzaei, Dr. Bradley T. Lemon, and Dr. Christopher Heisey of Southern Delaware Foot and Ankle.

Dr. Bradley T. Lemon founded SDFA in 2000. Dr. Lemon graduated from Delmar High School where he was a multi-sport athlete. He earned his bachelor’s degree from James Madison University, then pursued his doctoral degree from the Temple School of Podiatric Medicine. He completed his surgical residency in Michigan at The Kern Hospital for Special Surgery, which offered the “first surgical podiatric residency program” and has produced a plethora of leaders in the field of podiatric medicine and surgery.  

Dr. Lemon is board-certified by the American Board of Foot and Ankle Surgery. He has also been affiliated with the American Diabetes Association and the American Professional Wound Care Association. Dr. Lemon has special interests in great toe joint arthritis, flat foot reconstruction, Achilles tendon pathology and hindfoot reconstruction.

Like other surgical specialties, foot and ankle surgery has evolved over time. The surgeons at SDFA have also evolved by participating in procedure-specific workshops, lectures and hands-on surgical skills seminars. Dr. Lemon said, “We offer advanced reconstructive procedures that are offered in Baltimore and Philadelphia. We want patients to know that they do not have to travel out of the area for advanced procedures such as ankle replacement and minimally invasive bunion correction.”

Dr. Christopher M. Heisey has a passion for the treatment of foot and ankle fractures. A marathon runner, he also enjoys treating disorders and injuries associated with running and other sports. 

Dr. Heisey said, “The most common cause of ankle arthritis is post-traumatic, meaning it develops over time after an injury like a fracture. Many nonsurgical and surgical treatment options exist for ankle arthritis. Historically, the gold standard surgical treatment for ankle arthritis has been ankle fusion. However, with technology and design advances, ankle replacements have become an excellent treatment option. Some surgeons now consider ankle replacement to be the new gold standard for patients with painful ankle arthritis.”

Dr. Heisey was the first to perform Total Ankle Replacements at TidalHealth Nanticoke. He noted, “Ankle replacements allow for improved motion and a quicker recovery than ankle fusions. We use patient-specific guides which are individually designed using a patient’s anatomy from a CT scan of their ankle. Patient-specific instruments allow for reproducible results with increased patient satisfaction. Combining the latest technology/products with our surgical expertise, Southern Delaware Foot and Ankle is proud to offer the highest level of care, such as the Total Ankle Replacement, right here on the Delmarva Peninsula.”

Dr. Heisey is board-certified by the American Board of Podiatric Medicine and board-qualified by the American Board of Foot and Ankle Surgery. He completed his undergraduate education at Elizabethtown College and medical school training at Temple University School of Podiatric Medicine. He completed his surgical residency at Jersey Shore University Medical Center (Hackensack Meridian Health) in Neptune, N.J. He developed a special interest in treatment of foot and ankle trauma, regularly treating ankle fractures, ankle sprains, Achilles tendon tears, rearfoot/midfoot fractures and metatarsal fractures.

Dr. Heisey was also among the first to offer minimally invasive bunion surgery in Delaware. 

Dr. Allen Mirzaei, the third physician member of the SDFA team, explained: “A bunion is often described as a bump alongside the big toe joint. In actuality, a bunion is a deformity where the big toe joint becomes unstable and rotates out of alignment, which can lead to pain and stiffness. Bunions may prevent you from performing your daily activities and can limit your footwear options.

“Traditional bunion surgery often requires large incisions which may lead to healing complications, stiffness and longer recovery time. The advances in surgical techniques allow for minimally invasive bunion surgery to be performed through very small skin incisions. The benefits of minimally invasive bunion surgery include less pain, faster recovery time, decreased soft tissue and nerve damage, and less visible scarring with a more cosmetically appealing result. Minimally invasive surgery can be incorporated in many different procedures in the foot and ankle.”

Dr. Mirzaei is board-certified by the American Board of Podiatric Medicine. A Fellow of the American College of Podiatric Medicine, he is board-qualified by the American Board of Foot and Ankle Surgery. Dr. Mirzaei has comprehensive training in all aspects of foot and ankle pathology including diabetic foot exams, wound care, ingrown nails, bunions, hammertoes, arthritis, tendinitis, flat feet, high arched feet and Charcot. His surgical training includes reconstructive surgery and traumas of the forefoot, midfoot, rearfoot and ankle, including arthroscopic and minimally invasive surgeries.

Dr. Mirzaei completed his undergraduate education at Rutgers University. He received his doctorate from Temple University School of Podiatric Medicine, then completed his Podiatric Medicine and Surgery Residency with the added credential in Reconstructive Rearfoot and Ankle Surgery from Drexel University College of Medicine/Hahnemann University Hospital, in Philadelphia, PA, where he was appointed the Chief Surgical and Chief Administrative resident.

With offices in Seaford, Millsboro, and Oak Orchard, SDFA strives to provide its patients with current advances in the treatment of common foot and ankle pathologies. “Our goal,” Dr. Lemon said, “is to provide expert quality care, provide education on the management of the condition, and provide a pathway to return to the quality of life you deserve.”

Same day appointments are available for urgent injuries. Most insurances are accepted. For addresses, phone numbers and hours of operation of the four offices, visit or call (302) 629-3000.