A few years ago, Hollywood's most famous coastal phobia became reality for a junior Olympic athlete in Cocoa Beach when she was bitten by a shark. The bite damaged her Achilles tendon (the body's largest and strongest tendon, connecting the calf muscle to the heel bone and playing a crucial role in basic movements like walking, running, and jumping), putting her career in jeopardy. Luckily the doctors at Orlando Foot & Ankle Clinic, one of Central Florida's oldest and largest podiatry clinics, were able to repair the tendon with cutting-edge technology that's put the clinic on the map. "I used a placental stem cell graft on top of the Achilles for better healing and decreasing scar tissue," says Dr. Amber Shane, one of Orlando Foot and Ankle Clinic's premier surgeons. "It's been two and a half years now and she's been back to full competition for a while."

If you're going to become a shark's snack, Florida is the place to do it: Orlando's reputation as a medical hub with cutting-edge research facilities and advanced treatment technology is well-deserved. The city is the top U.S. destination for medical conferences, bringing brilliant doctors and researchers from across the country to Central Florida with new ideas to share. And large investments in the medical technology sector over the past two decades have built new medical schools, research facilities, and an entire medical city in Lake Nona. In 2016, the Lake Nona Medical City guaranteed that the hits will keep on coming by investing in a space called GuideWell Innovation CoRE, designed specifically to help health startups thrive.

This commitment to funding medical research and investing in hospitals, health startups, and new medical buildings gives Central Florida an edge in the health tech game. Floridians are lucky to have advanced medical care at facilities like Orlando Foot & Ankle right in their own backyard. "There are a very limited number of physicians doing [total ankle joint replacement] across the country. We are the predominant group [in Central Florida] that do these on a regular basis," states fellow Orlando Foot & Ankle surgeon Dr. Chris Reeves.

You don't have to be an Olympic athlete or someone in need of a total ankle replacement to benefit from the high-tech offerings at Orlando Foot & Ankle Clinic. "We see a lot of weekend athlete injuries," Dr. Reeves emphasizes. Even treatments for common problems, like hammer toes or foot fungus, have made great strides: clinic patients with these issues benefit from new internal implants and laser therapy, respectively.

Keeping in step with the medical technology evolving around them, the doctors at Orlando Foot & Ankle Clinic are committed to learning new techniques and giving Central Florida patients the best possible foot and ankle care. "Medicine is not stagnant," states Shane. "It's ever-evolving and changing, and you can't just go to the office every day and do the same thing."

Reeves and Shane are also faculty members of Florida Hospital's residency program, and they say that working with up-and-coming doctors keeps them on their toes. "When you're working with younger doctors you're keeping up with the literature and the research. You're teaching them things and they're teaching you things, so that's how we stay innovative," says Dr. Shane.

What's next on the horizon for a clinic that's committed to helping you put your best foot forward in a city that's a veritable health tech mecca? "Our practice in general has worked on being involved in research and medical studies," says Shane. Post-surgical pain control is another area where Orlando Foot & Ankle strives to shine. "We have access to topical pain medicine and things like that instead of more pills, which is one of the biggest new things on the horizon in medicine," adds Shane.

With current investments in health tech bearing fruit and more industry on the way, Orlando is making its mark on medical research and new treatments. Orlando Foot & Ankle Clinic is no exception: with 17 locations and 16 clinic doctors using state-of-the-art technology, they're the podiatry experts in your neighborhood that will keep you up and running.