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A newsletter from Ankle & Foot Care Centers.

First Quarter 2015 Edition:

Salvation Army Distributes Shoes Collected by Ankle & Foot Care Centers

With the help of Ankle & Foot Care Centers, the Salvation Army recently distributed more than 500 pairs of new shoes to needy Valley families.

Ankle & Foot Care Centers, which operates 19 local foot care offices in northeast Ohio and western Pennsylvania, provided the footwear to the Salvation Army after collecting it during its annual holiday shoe drive from late November 2014 to early January 2015.

The new and nearly shoes were donated by patients, employees and physicians. The practice also collected new socks as part of this year’s event.

Salvation Army Distributes Shoes Collected by Ankle & Foot Care Centers

Ankle & Foot Care podiatrist Dr. Johnny Alayon spoke to local media about the importance of providing proper footwear to needy Valley families. Click on picture to watch the video.

“We believe that foot care is essential to enjoying a healthy and active lifestyle,” said Dr. Johnny Alayon, a foot and ankle surgeon with Ankle & Foot Care Centers. “In addition to treating foot and ankle problems, we also understand the importance of having proper footwear. Our goal with the shoe drive is to collect as many pairs of shoes as possible so the Salvation Army can distribute them to those in need.”

Since 1998, Ankle & Foot Care Centers has helped local shoppers donate thousands of pairs of shoes to local families who otherwise couldn’t afford proper footwear.

“We are very appreciative of Ankle & Foot Care’s generous donation again this year,” said Major Elijah Kahn, area coordinator for the Salvation Army. “We share a passion for serving the community and are proud to work with like-minded organizations. Thanks to Ankle & Foot, families in our community will have the footwear they need to keep their feet safe and warm this winter.”

Copyright © March 2015 Ankle & Foot Care Centers

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Corrected Club Foot Offers Brighter Outlook on Life

To say the past 10 years have been tough for Charles Pickens would be a huge understatement. He’s battled one health issue after the other and could easily have just given up on his quest for a pain-free life.

But thanks to a recent procedure with Ankle & Foot Care Center physician Dr. Lawrence DiDomenico, he’s starting to see the light at the end of what has been a dark tunnel.

“I’m hoping nothing else goes wrong,” said Pickens, who lives in Rogers, Ohio, not far from Ankle & Foot’s East Liverpool office. “It’s been a long road with a lot of things going on. But I’m starting to feel better.”

Charles' run of health issues began in the winter of 2002 when he came down with a serious cold. He was down for quite a while as he went through some treatments. After recovering from that, something even more serious tested his will in 2005 – colon cancer. He had an operation that year to overcome the cancer.

In 2009, he was in a car accident, which he says “didn’t help his foot.” He didn’t sustain any major issues in the accident, but it was just another health scare he had to conquer.

In addition to all these life events, Charles has suffered from the effects a club foot. A foot affected by this deformity looks like it has been rotated internally at the ankle. Without treatment, people with club feet often appear to walk on their ankles or on the sides of their feet.

He had worked on his feet off and on for about 25 years, which was painful. Charles said the last 10 years have been the worst due to the nature of his job, which included a lot of going up and down.

“It wasn’t quite as bad in the summer,” he explained. “But it the winter, the pain got to me pretty bad. I have arthritis on top of that, so I always knew when it was going to rain. It caused my knees to ache really bad, too.”

Charles had knee surgery at a doctor in Calcutta, Ohio, near his home in an effort to find some relief. During his stint in rehab after the surgery, someone recommended Dr. DiDomenico at Ankle & Foot to help with the club foot.

He had seen other podiatric physicians in the past, but the only treatment he had undergone was taking medicine. But he wanted a more permanent solution.

So in May 2013, Charles visited Dr. DiDomenico, who was originally going to perform a procedure to fix the ankle. But according to Charles, things were so bad that it wasn’t an option.

“He was going to give me a new ankle, but once he got in there, he couldn’t do it,” said Charles. “The bone had deteriorated so bad. So, he cut away all the dead bone and put a plate and screws in there to straighten my foot.

I’m pretty happy with what he did – he told me he was going to straighten my foot and he did. I used to have special shoes, but I still had to walk on the side of my foot. Now, I’m going to get some regular shoes.”

Charles is hoping to get his regular shoes soon and has been getting around with a walker as he recovers from surgery. The foot is healing up and he’s slowly making progress. But after all he’s been through in the past few years, he’s thrilled to be taking a step in the right direction.

“I’m feeling better than I have in the last 10 years,” said Charles. “I’ll be glad to get those regular shoes. I’ll have to learn to walk all over again, but Dr. DiDomenico did what he said he was going to do and I’m happy about that. It would have been great if I had known about him years ago.”

Copyright © March 2015 Ankle & Foot Care Centers

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Dr. Gatalyak Embraces Life Changing Role at Home and WorkDr. Nikolay Gatalyak

With his first child on the way later this year, life is about to change in a major way for Dr. Nikolay Gatalyak and his wife.

But while the change in his home life will be new to him, he’s grown accustomed to helping change patients’ lives for the better through his work at Ankle & Foot Care Centers.

“It’s been a great experience working with a great staff and helping patients deal with a variety of foot and ankle problems,” said Dr. Gatalyak, who joined Ankle & Foot in July 2012. “Podiatry offers a nice variety of work, from wound care to diabetic foot care to performing surgery. You can see something different each day.”

Dr. Gatalyak’s practice includes general podiatry, diabetic foot care, reconstructive surgery and trauma. He completed a fellowship focused on Charcot and reconstructive surgery under Dr. DiDomenico, managing partner at Ankle & Foot Care Centers.

He was born in Ukraine and moved to the United States with his family at age 10. He grew up in Cleveland and earned a degree in podiatric medicine from the Ohio College of Podiatric Medicine and an undergraduate degree from Baldwin-Wallace College in Cleveland. He completed his residency at Mercy St. Vincent Medical Center in Toledo, and he’s board qualified in foot and ankle surgery by the American Board of Podiatric Surgery.

Meet the Doc

One of his favorite things about working with Ankle & Foot Care is having access to state-of-the-art equipment and colleagues who serve as valuable resources when he’s treated an especially challenging patient case.

“Working with Dr. D during my fellowship was a great learning experience and now it’s a privilege to work with a staff of knowledgeable and talented foot and ankle surgeons,” said Dr. Gatalyak. “Whenever I need a second opinion about a treatment, I know that my patient is in great hands.”

When he’s not treating lower extremity issues in the office, Dr. Gatalyak, who resides in Boardman, enjoys spending time with his wife and preparing for his family’s new addition. He also participates in volleyball and is looking to resume bicycling once the weather improves.

Copyright © March 2015 Ankle & Foot Care Centers

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Community Relations Coordinator Enjoys Role as Liaison

Sheila Koontz has always been a people person and enjoyed working in an office atmosphere. So when she joined Ankle & Foot Care Centers in 2002, she felt right at home.

“I applied for a Medical Assistant position at Ankle & Foot Care Centers in 2002, but was hired as the Community Relations Coordinator because of my work experience at PharMor and Procter & Gamble,” said Sheila, who will celebrate her 13th anniversary at Ankle & Foot this May.

One day a week, Sheila serves as a liaison between the practice’s doctors and the area care facilities who need podiatrists to treat residents. She helps to ensure that those in need of foot and ankle care get it from Ankle & Foot’s well-trained physicians.

Employee Spotlight

“Our doctors are very skilled and innovative,” said Sheila. “The staff and physicians work closely to ensure the best possible care of any facilities in the area. I seek out facilities whose residents could benefit from the high quality foot care we can provide.”

Sheila also coordinates the practice’s role in community events, such as Step Out for Diabetes and other local causes Ankle & Foot Care Centers supports.

In addition to being the practice’s connection to the community, Sheila recently began working as a medical secretary two days a week at the Austintown office. In this role, she handles appointment scheduling, insurance verification, surgical scheduling and other front office work.

Sheila enjoys the flexibility of a three-day work schedule and the varied tasks she has between the two positions at Ankle & Foot. Most of all, she likes the work atmosphere.

“I really like the people here,” she said. “We are like family and I’ve made so many good friends. We help and support each other at work and in our personal lives. I’m very proud to work here.”

In her free time, Sheila enjoys gardening, listening to music, doing energy healing and spending time with friends and family. She resides in Austintown with Jack, her husband of 37 years. They have two daughters - Hillary works as an editor in Columbus and Lindsay is a graduate student at Ohio University.

Outreach Coordinator Embraces Job’s Challenges and Variety

Sheila (second from right) lives her Austintown with her husband, Jack. Pictured with them are daughters Lindsay (left) and Hillary.

Copyright © March 2015 Ankle & Foot Care Centers

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Show Your Feet Some Love By Wearing High Heels Sparingly

Valentine’s Day was a great excuse to get dressed up and go out for a nice dinner or drinks with those you care about. Whether celebrating the holiday with a significant other or a group of girlfriends, many women wear high heels on the Feb. 14.

Show Your Feet Some Love By Wearing High Heels Sparingly

According to a 2014 Today’s Podiatrist survey by the American Podiatric Medical Association (APMA), nearly half of all women (49 percent) wear high heels, even though the majority of heel wearers (71 percent) complain these shoes hurt their feet.

It’s no wonder that so many women experience pain from these shoes. Blisters and arch and heel pain are common culprits associated with high heel wear. Heels can also cause your Achilles tendon to shrink, putting you at greater risk of an injury when doing any activities while wearing flats, including exercise.

The APMA offers these solutions to some common problems associated with wearing high heels:

Problem: Burning sensation on the balls and toes of the feet.

Solution: Alleviate the burning sensation by adding a cushion insert. These products are specifically designed to reduce pressure on the balls of your feet. They also help improve body alignment, balance, and ankle stability.

Problem: Minimal arch support, which can cause foot fatigue.

Solution: Promote arch support by adding a shoe insert especially designed for high heels. These inserts promote arch support and help distribute weight evenly.

Problem: Painful blisters and abrasions on the outsides and heels of the feet.

Solution: Prevent the cause of blisters and abrasions by inserting a foot adhesive in those trouble spots. Adding an adhesive helps minimize the damage caused by friction.


If and when you do choose to wear high heels, keep these tips in mind:

  • Wear shoes with a heel height of two inches or less.
  • Look for a shoe with a generous toe box area.
  • Try to find a shoe with a slight heel or wedge to encourage your arch to lift.
  • Inspect for cushioning at the front.

Copyright © March 2015 Ankle & Foot Care Centers

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From The Kitchen: Perfect Turkey Burgers

From The KitchenIngredients

  • 1 large portabello mushroom cap
  • 1 tablespoon coarsely chopped shallot
  • 3 tablespoons lightly packed fresh parsley
  • 1 1/4 pounds 85% to 93% lean ground turkey
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for brushing
  • 1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 8 thin slices manchego or white cheddar cheese
  • 4 English muffins, split
  • Dijon mustard, mayonnaise and sliced avocado, for topping


Use a spoon to scrape out the gills from the underside of the mushroom cap. Cut the cap into 1-inch pieces and transfer to a food processor. Add the shallot and parsley and pulse until chopped.

Transfer the mushroom mixture to a large bowl. Add the turkey, olive oil, Worcestershire sauce, 1 teaspoon salt, and pepper to taste; gently mix with your hands until just combined. Divide into 4 balls, then lightly press into 4-inch-wide, 1-inch-thick patties. Put on a large plate, cover and refrigerate until firm, about 30 minutes.

Preheat a grill to medium. Brush the grates with olive oil. Grill the patties, undisturbed, until marked on the bottom, 4 to 5 minutes. Give the patties a quarter turn and cook until marked again, 4 to 5 more minutes. Flip the patties and grill until cooked through, 6 to 7 more minutes; top each with 2 slices cheese during the last 3 minutes of cooking and cover with a disposable aluminum pan to melt.

Toast the English muffins on the grill, then spread with mustard and mayonnaise. Serve the patties on the English muffins; top with avocado.

See what others think about this recipe, read some reviews here.

From The Kitchen: Perfect Turkey Burgers

Copyright © 2015 Food Network Magazine

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