Kristopher L. Downing, MD

Orthopedic Hand & Upper Extremity Surgeon located in La Jolla, CA & Chula Vista, CA

About Dr. Downing

Kristopher Downing, MD, is an orthopedic surgeon board-certified by the American Board of Orthopedic Surgery in both orthopedic surgery and hand surgery who treats patients that are of adolescent age and older. He is a fellow of the American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons (AAOS) and active member of the American Society for Surgery of the Hand (ASSH). He is a founding member of Synergy Orthopedic Specialists Medical Group. He is the founder of the practice of Upper Extremity Specialists—of Synergy Orthopedic Specialists Medical Group in La Jolla and Chula Vista, California. Dr. Downing specializes in surgical and nonsurgical orthopedic treatment for injuries and diseases that affect the entire upper extremity, including the shoulder, arm, elbow, forearm, wrist, and hand. A wide myriad of nonoperative care is offered including guided observation, durable medical equipment (braces, splints, slings), nutriceuticals, topical and oral medications (pharmaceuticals), therapy and its associated modalities (physical therapy, occupational therapy, certified hand therapy), chiropractic care, acupuncture, bracing/supports, injections (corticosteroids, viscosupplementation agents, reparative medicine agents such as platelet rich plasma and lipoaspirate). Reparative medicine options can also be used as an adjunct to surgical treatment options to augment surgical outcomes. 

Dr. Downing offers care in a variety of environments and works within multiple offices (in La Jolla, Del Mar, Kearny Mesa and Chula Vista) in various settings seeing patients under their private health plans, via cash payment with reasonable and customary fee schedules based on local fair market value, as an injured worker covered under worker’s compensation insurance and within medical-legal situations. He is on staff at multiple hospitals within Sharp, Scripps, Prime Healthcare and Tri-City health systems, working in both inpatient and outpatient capacities, providing elective, urgent and emergent general orthopedic as well as hand and upper extremity subspecialized care. He also works at many ambulatory surgery centers (ASCs) throughout San Diego County providing novel outpatient based surgical and reparative medicine care for a wide variety of orthopedic conditions. Common surgical procedures performed include: arthroscopic procedures (shoulder: rotator cuff tear repair/debridement, long head of biceps tendon repair/debridement/release, labral repair/debridement, stabilization procedures, chondroplasty/microfracture, subacromial decompression, distal clavicle excision, superior capsular reconstruction; elbow: partial synovectomy, loose bodies removal, tennis elbow debridement/release, capsular releases, osteocapsular arthroplasty), arthroplasty procedures (shoulder: anatomic total shoulder replacement with stemmed and “stemless” options, reverse total shoulder replacement with ongoing evolving use of evolving implant options, hemiarthroplasty in limited situations; elbow: partial and total elbow replacement; wrist: partial and total wrist replacement as well as fusions; thumb: basilar joint reconstruction; fingers: silicone and pyrocarbon small joint replacements as well as fusions), open elbow stabilization procedures (lateral ulnar collateral and/or medial ulnar collateral ligament repairs or reconstructions), tennis elbow and golfer elbow surgeries, nerve decompressions (endoscopic and open carpal tunnel release, endoscopic and open cubital tunnel release and other types of less common nerve decompressions), painful neuroma resections, nerve repairs, nerve reconstructions (using Axogen Avance cadaveric nerve allograft to rebuild irreparable nerve injuries), tendon transfers for unrecoverable nerve palsies/injuries, ganglion cyst and other mass/tumor removals, deQuervain’s release, trigger finger release, Dupuytren surgery (including partial fasicectomy, needle aponeurotomy as well as the Xiaflex in-office injectable option), tendon repairs/reconstructions/tenolyses (rotator cuff, proximal long head of biceps, distal biceps, extensor tendons of the hand and wrist, flexor tendons of the hand and wrist), local/regional/free flaps and other microsurgical work (usually coordinated with a co-surgeon plastic surgeon also trained in microsurgery/microvascular work), and the wide variety of surgical care related to trauma of the upper extremity (lacerations, crush injuries, amputations, broken bones/fractures/dislocations/malunions/non-unions of the collar bone/clavicle, AC joint, shoulder blade/scapula, shoulder joint, proximal humerus, humeral shaft, distal humerus, capitellum, trochlea, elbow joint, olecranon, coronoid process, radial head, radial neck, radial and/or ulnar shaft, distal radius, distal ulna, ulnar styloid, distal radioulnar joint (DRUJ), wrist joint, carpus [scaphoid, lunate, triquetrum, trapezium, trapezoid, capitate, hamate, pisiform], carpometacarpal joints and hand bones and joints [metacarpals, phalanges, metacarpophalangeal joints, interphalangeal joints, proximal interphalangeal joints, distal interphalangeal joints]).

Dr. Downing completed his bachelor of science (BS) degree in 2001 within a 7-year Biomedical Sciences program at the University of California, Riverside (UCR), which included concurrent enrollment at UCR and UCLA in the fourth year of education, before earning his Doctor of Medicine (MD) in 2004 at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA). He completed his surgical internship at Harbor-UCLA Medical Center in Torrance, California and his orthopedic surgery residency at the University of Pennsylvania (UPenn) Health System hospitals in Philadelphia.  UPenn has the distinction of having the first freestanding orthopedic surgery department in the United States. Dr. Downing also participated in the rigorous Joseph H. Boyes hand and upper extremity fellowship training program at the University of Southern California (USC) in Los Angeles. USC has the distinction of having the first hand surgery fellowship training program in the United States. After 13 years of post high school education and training, Dr. Downing began independent private practice orthopedic surgery related services in 2010 at age 30.

Besides his unique qualifications to practice upper extremity orthopaedics (as well as general orthopedics), Dr. Downing is a kind, meticulous and patient-focused surgeon. His training, experience, drive and genuine obvious concern for his patients’ welfare aid him in garnering the best possible outcomes for his patients. He gives each patient the time and attention they need, explaining procedures and answering questions relevant to the risks, benefits and alternatives to proposed procedures to ensure that they feel confident under his care. His passion for clinical medicine and truly serving patients’ needs exudes at each patient visit. In addition, he services his patients by remaining up-to-date with his practice which mirrors trends in orthopedic literature and overall evidence-based medicine as well as elevated standards of care trending in orthopedic surgical practices within the United States and internationally, ensuring to his patients his ongoing education and high quality value-based outcomes strived towards as he provides their care. 

Dr. Downing’s native language is English but he understands the unique needs of his Spanish speaking population and continues to work on his Spanish, que continúa mejorando diariamente. He also has Spanish speaking staff to aid in translation as needed. The uniquely metropolitan binational communities of Tijuana and San Diego with juxtaposition on the US-Mexican border has created a diverse industrious burgeoning cultural environment begging for qualified orthopedic surgeons to care for this American, Mexican-American, American expat, and Mexican patient population.

Dr. Downing grew up in San Jose and northwestern Alabama. The majority of his education and adult life has been spent in Riverside, CA, Los Angeles, CA and Philadelphia, PA. Throughout high school and college, he played competitive soccer and participated in musical pursuits related to his abilities on the saxophone and piano. He was also an avid competitive video gamer for much of his adolescent and young adult life. He also competitively engaged in street skateboarding, which translated into the eventual love of snowboarding and surfing—all of which are board sports. He treats many patients with board sports related injuries that expectedly are results of falls onto outstretched and subsequently injured upper extremities. The patient population in San Diego is inherently very active and injury prone given the beautiful weather enjoyed in this part of the world and the high volume of outdoor and otherwise physical fitness related activities. 

Dr. Downing also has a growing family, currently with a wife and two children that he enjoys having consume much of his free time. Also, like his father and younger brother who are both carpenters, Dr. Downing is a human carpenter (doing work on bones and joints and tendons) and also does plumbing (blood vessels related work) and electrical (nerve related work).

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,  Office of Kristopher  L. Downing, MD

Kristopher Downing, MD, is an orthopedic surgeon board-certified by the American Board of Orthopedic Surgery in both orthopedic surgery and hand surgery who treats patients that are of adolescent age and older. He is a fellow of the American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons (AAOS) and active member of the American Society for Surgery of the Hand (ASSH). He is a founding member of Synergy Orthopedic Specialists Medical Group. He is the founder of the practice of Upper Extremity Specialists—of Synergy Orthopedic Specialists Medical Group in La Jolla and Chula Vista, California. Dr. Downing specializes in surgical and nonsurgical orthopedic treatment for injuries and diseases that affect the entire upper extremity, including the shoulder, arm, elbow, forearm, wrist, and hand. A wide myriad of nonoperative care is offered including guided observation, durable medical equipment (braces, splints, slings), nutriceuticals, topical and oral medications (pharmaceuticals), therapy and its associated modalities (physical therapy, occupational therapy, certified hand therapy), chiropractic care, acupuncture, bracing/supports, injections (corticosteroids, viscosupplementation agents, reparative medicine agents such as platelet rich plasma and lipoaspirate). Reparative medicine options can also be used as an adjunct to surgical treatment options to augment surgical outcomes. 

Dr. Downing offers care in a variety of environments and works within multiple offices (in La Jolla, Del Mar, Kearny Mesa and Chula Vista) in various settings seeing patients under their private health plans, via cash payment with reasonable and customary fee schedules based on local fair market value, as an injured worker covered under worker’s compensation insurance and within medical-legal situations. He is on staff at multiple hospitals within Sharp, Scripps, Prime Healthcare and Tri-City health systems, working in both inpatient and outpatient capacities, providing elective, urgent and emergent general orthopedic as well as hand and upper extremity subspecialized care. He also works at many ambulatory surgery centers (ASCs) throughout San Diego County providing novel outpatient based surgical and reparative medicine care for a wide variety of orthopedic conditions. Common surgical procedures performed include: arthroscopic procedures (shoulder: rotator cuff tear repair/debridement, long head of biceps tendon repair/debridement/release, labral repair/debridement, stabilization procedures, chondroplasty/microfracture, subacromial decompression, distal clavicle excision, superior capsular reconstruction; elbow: partial synovectomy, loose bodies removal, tennis elbow debridement/release, capsular releases, osteocapsular arthroplasty), arthroplasty procedures (shoulder: anatomic total shoulder replacement with stemmed and “stemless” options, reverse total shoulder replacement with ongoing evolving use of evolving implant options, hemiarthroplasty in limited situations; elbow: partial and total elbow replacement; wrist: partial and total wrist replacement as well as fusions; thumb: basilar joint reconstruction; fingers: silicone and pyrocarbon small joint replacements as well as fusions), open elbow stabilization procedures (lateral ulnar collateral and/or medial ulnar collateral ligament repairs or reconstructions), tennis elbow and golfer elbow surgeries, nerve decompressions (endoscopic and open carpal tunnel release, endoscopic and open cubital tunnel release and other types of less common nerve decompressions), painful neuroma resections, nerve repairs, nerve reconstructions (using Axogen Avance cadaveric nerve allograft to rebuild irreparable nerve injuries), tendon transfers for unrecoverable nerve palsies/injuries, ganglion cyst and other mass/tumor removals, deQuervain’s release, trigger finger release, Dupuytren surgery (including partial fasicectomy, needle aponeurotomy as well as the Xiaflex in-office injectable option), tendon repairs/reconstructions/tenolyses (rotator cuff, proximal long head of biceps, distal biceps, extensor tendons of the hand and wrist, flexor tendons of the hand and wrist), local/regional/free flaps and other microsurgical work (usually coordinated with a co-surgeon plastic surgeon also trained in microsurgery/microvascular work), and the wide variety of surgical care related to trauma of the upper extremity (lacerations, crush injuries, amputations, broken bones/fractures/dislocations/malunions/non-unions of the collar bone/clavicle, AC joint, shoulder blade/scapula, shoulder joint, proximal humerus, humeral shaft, distal humerus, capitellum, trochlea, elbow joint, olecranon, coronoid process, radial head, radial neck, radial and/or ulnar shaft, distal radius, distal ulna, ulnar styloid, distal radioulnar joint (DRUJ), wrist joint, carpus [scaphoid, lunate, triquetrum, trapezium, trapezoid, capitate, hamate, pisiform], carpometacarpal joints and hand bones and joints [metacarpals, phalanges, metacarpophalangeal joints, interphalangeal joints, proximal interphalangeal joints, distal interphalangeal joints]).

Dr. Downing completed his bachelor of science (BS) degree in 2001 within a 7-year Biomedical Sciences program at the University of California, Riverside (UCR), which included concurrent enrollment at UCR and UCLA in the fourth year of education, before earning his Doctor of Medicine (MD) in 2004 at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA). He completed his surgical internship at Harbor-UCLA Medical Center in Torrance, California and his orthopedic surgery residency at the University of Pennsylvania (UPenn) Health System hospitals in Philadelphia.  UPenn has the distinction of having the first freestanding orthopedic surgery department in the United States. Dr. Downing also participated in the rigorous Joseph H. Boyes hand and upper extremity fellowship training program at the University of Southern California (USC) in Los Angeles. USC has the distinction of having the first hand surgery fellowship training program in the United States. After 13 years of post high school education and training, Dr. Downing began independent private practice orthopedic surgery related services in 2010 at age 30.

Besides his unique qualifications to practice upper extremity orthopaedics (as well as general orthopedics), Dr. Downing is a kind, meticulous and patient-focused surgeon. His training, experience, drive and genuine obvious concern for his patients’ welfare aid him in garnering the best possible outcomes for his patients. He gives each patient the time and attention they need, explaining procedures and answering questions relevant to the risks, benefits and alternatives to proposed procedures to ensure that they feel confident under his care. His passion for clinical medicine and truly serving patients’ needs exudes at each patient visit. In addition, he services his patients by remaining up-to-date with his practice which mirrors trends in orthopedic literature and overall evidence-based medicine as well as elevated standards of care trending in orthopedic surgical practices within the United States and internationally, ensuring to his patients his ongoing education and high quality value-based outcomes strived towards as he provides their care. 

Dr. Downing’s native language is English but he understands the unique needs of his Spanish speaking population and continues to work on his Spanish, que continúa mejorando diariamente. He also has Spanish speaking staff to aid in translation as needed. The uniquely metropolitan binational communities of Tijuana and San Diego with juxtaposition on the US-Mexican border has created a diverse industrious burgeoning cultural environment begging for qualified orthopedic surgeons to care for this American, Mexican-American, American expat, and Mexican patient population.

Dr. Downing grew up in San Jose and northwestern Alabama. The majority of his education and adult life has been spent in Riverside, CA, Los Angeles, CA and Philadelphia, PA. Throughout high school and college, he played competitive soccer and participated in musical pursuits related to his abilities on the saxophone and piano. He was also an avid competitive video gamer for much of his adolescent and young adult life. He also competitively engaged in street skateboarding, which translated into the eventual love of snowboarding and surfing—all of which are board sports. He treats many patients with board sports related injuries that expectedly are results of falls onto outstretched and subsequently injured upper extremities. The patient population in San Diego is inherently very active and injury prone given the beautiful weather enjoyed in this part of the world and the high volume of outdoor and otherwise physical fitness related activities. 

Dr. Downing also has a growing family, currently with a wife and two children that he enjoys having consume much of his free time. Also, like his father and younger brother who are both carpenters, Dr. Downing is a human carpenter (doing work on bones and joints and tendons) and also does plumbing (blood vessels related work) and electrical (nerve related work).


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