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A newsletter from Ankle & Foot Care Centers.

April 2012 Edition:

Attend a Diabetes Support Group

Do you have diabetes? Our latest diabetes support group meeting occurred April 18 in Boardman, where attendees learned about the latest treatment options.

Ankle & Foot Care Centers’ Dr. M. Craig Beaudis, DPM, led the meeting, which also included group discussion and a question and answer session.

The sessions occur quarterly and are free and open to the public. Dates and locations of future sessions will be announced by the practice, or you can call 330.758.6226 x204 for information.

Copyright © April 2012 Ankle & Foot Care Centers

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May is Skin Cancer Awareness Month

How is skin cancer of the feet different from other bodily skin cancers?

We often view the sun’s harmful rays as the primary cause of skin cancer. And while this may be true of some bodily skin cancers, skin cancers of the feet are most often related to viruses, exposure to chemicals, chronic inflammation or irritation, or inherited traits.

For this reason, your podiatrist’s knowledge and clinical training is of extreme importance in the early detection of both benign and malignant skin tumors. If you detect any unusual lesions on your feet schedule a foot screening right away at your nearest Ankle & Foot Care Centers.

Early detection is your best defense against skin cancer.

What do all these skin lesions have in common? They are all cancer.

Copyright © April 2012 Ankle & Foot Care Centers

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Surgery Restores Neuropathy Patient's Feelings in Feet

Dr. Lawrence A. DiDomenico was among a panel of surgeons who presented about one of the fastest-growing procedures for addressing ankle arthritis at a national conference this month.

Following surgery to address her neuropathy, Marlene Fleming regained feeling in her feet and is able to walk without pain.

Marlene Fleming, an attorney who lived in Philadelphia, was diagnosed with diabetes about two years ago. A second dagger came two months later when she developed neuropathy in her feet.

Diabetic neuropathy, according to Marlene, is a degenerative disease of the nerves that often progresses into amputation, sometimes one toe at a time. It’s an awful condition, she says, that causes stinging and burning sensations, cramping and leg pain, and due to the minimal feeling in the feet you can’t even tell if you have socks on, let alone if you bruise a toe or slice your foot against something.

She saw a family physician in Philadelphia for the condition, but the treatment options didn’t provide much optimism.

Meanwhile, Marlene, now 65, relocated to Chester, W. Va., and began seeing a chiropractor for an issue she was having with her hip. While there, the chiropractor, Dr. Joe DiDomenico, learned about the neuropathy and suggested she see his brother, a Board certified podiatrist, Dr. Lawrence A. DiDomenico.

Marlene made the appointment at Ankle & Foot Care Centers’ East Liverpool office, and Dr. DiDomenico told her since her neuropathy was diagnosed so recently she was a candidate for a multiple nerve release surgical procedure, one that requires three incisions in the knee, ankle and foot, and releases the nerves in her feet from the nerve sheath that is being hardened by her diabetes.

Her family physician had never heard of this procedure, and Dr. DiDomenico said not many podiatric physicians were performing it. He told her the worst case scenario was he performs it and she still had neuropathy. But if it were successful, it could mean she no longer has neuropathy – the condition is reversed.

Needless to say, she agreed to the procedure, and it was a success.

“It’s amazing in that I’d have to come to East Liverpool to find someone to do this procedure,? Marlene said. “I was living in Philadelphia where every other building is a hospital, and I was never told this option was out there.?

Marlene had her left foot done in July of 2011, and then her right foot in September. She’s still going through physical therapy, but she’s regained feeling and is walking with minimal pain.

“Before the surgery, if a set of stairs didn’t have a handrail I couldn’t climb them, and I had to feel where I was putting my feet very carefully on each step. Now, I’m gaining strength in my legs and ankles and becoming able to walk normally.

“I’m blessed that I was able to find Dr. DiDomenico, and find him while this surgery was an option. I’m thrilled with how patient he was in explaining things. He’s thorough, giving me all the information I needed to help me understand the pros and cons, and make decisions.?

Copyright © April 2012 Ankle & Foot Care Centers

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Surgery Helps 'Foot Drop' Patient to Walk Normal Again

It was March 2011 and 26 year-old Cristina Garay was walking on her treadmill, not unlike the former softball player had done on a regular basis. But this time, something was different.

She started feeling pain in her legs, and it got progressively worse as she continued walking, until ultimately she couldn’t even walk anymore.

A trip to the emergency room yielded a diagnosis of a strain. The next day it was even worse, so she went to another ER. “A strain,? they also told her. After a family doctor visit, you guessed it, “it’s a strain.? She stayed off it for the prescribed three weeks, but it kept getting worse.

A local podiatrist told her she had “foot drop,? a type of nerve damage that can cause muscle weakness or paralysis, and he referred me to Dr. Lawrence A. DiDomenico at Ankle & Foot Care Centers.

The first step in her treatment involved electrical shock therapy, followed by a surgical procedure that involved nerve decompression performed by Dr. DiDomenico and colleague Dr. Kwame Williams.

“Before the procedure I couldn’t walk heel-toe like normal. I would literally have to lift up my leg with my hand and move it forward,? Cristina said. “The doctors said the tissue and nerves were tight and they had to release them. After the procedure I’m back to about 85 percent of normal, and I continue to get better.?

Dr. DiDomenico gave Cristina a 50-50 chance of walking normal again after first assessing her condition, and he and Dr. Williams are thrilled with Cristina’s post-op progress.

“They’re shocked and rather pleased with how well I’m doing, and I’m happy, too. I’m even back on the treadmill now as part of my therapy.

“I love Dr. DiDomenico. I get goose bumps just talking about him. He went above and beyond, and for that I’m truly grateful.? Cristina said.

Copyright © April 2012 Ankle & Foot Care Centers

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From Ukraine to Boardman: Dr. Gatalyak's Journey to Podiatry

Growing up in Cleveland, Ohio, Dr. Nikolay Gatalyak would regularly accompany his Ukraine-native grandmother to her doctor appointments so he could help translate the patient-physician communication.

Dr. Gatalyak moved to the United States with his parents when he was 10, and they settled in an area of Cleveland where they were surrounded by extended family, including his grandmother, who lived with them.

“As I look back on it, taking my grandmother to her appointments when I was younger definitely influenced my decision to pursue a career in medicine,? Dr. Gatalyak said. “Many of my fondest memories involve growing up in a close family and with lots of relatives around, and I was proud to be led down this path and pursue a career in podiatry.?

Fast forward to today and Dr. Gatalyak is a board qualified foot and ankle podiatric surgeon finishing a post-residency fellowship with Ankle & Foot Care Centers.

“I landed in the Mahoning Valley after being accepted into a year-long fellowship program with Dr. Lawrence DiDomenico to study Charcot and reconstructive surgery,? he said. “It’s difficult to imagine better professionals to train under than the podiatric physicians in this practice.?

Dr. Gatalyak, whose practice will include general podiatry, diabetic foot care, reconstructive surgery and trauma, formally begins in July.

He graduated from Baldwin-Wallace College and the Ohio College of Podiatric Medicine. Dr. Gatalyak did his residency at Mercy St. Vincent Medical Center in Toledo, Ohio.

Dr. Gatalyak currently resides in Boardman with his wife Vera. In his free time, he enjoys staying active with sports and spending time with friends and family. He played soccer in high school, and he now enjoys biking, volleyball, skiing and a good match of table tennis.

Copyright © April 2012 Ankle & Foot Care Centers

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Understanding Heel Pain: A Podiatrist Patient's Most Common Symptom

Do you feel a stabbing pain in your heel with your first steps out of bed in the morning? You’re not alone! Every day, thousands of Americans suffer from this condition. Plantar fasciitis, more commonly known as heel pain, is by far the most common complaint patients bring to podiatric physicians.

Aching heels can truly affect your lifestyle and disrupt essential activities and prevent you, to a large extent, from playing sports or simply going for a walk. An accurate and expedient diagnosis of the cause of your symptoms will help you receive the appropriate treatment.

There are several causes of heel pain. The most common include:

  • Plantar Fasciitis – Inflammation of the band of fibrous connective tissue (fascia) running along the bottom (plantar) surface of the foot, from the heel to the ball of the foot. Both heel pain and heel spurs are frequently associated with plantar fasciitis.
  • Heel Spurs – A bony growth on the underside of the heel bone. The spur, visible by X-ray, appears as a protrusion that can extend forward as much as half an inch. Heel spurs can result from strain on the ball of the foot and repeated tearing away of the lining or membrane that covers the heel bone. Contrary to popular belief, heel spurs are generally not the cause of pain – the pain you may feel is from inflammation of the plantar fascia.
  • Excessive Pronation – Excessive inward motion can create an abnormal amount of stretching and pulling on the ligaments and tendons that attach to the bottom back part of the heel bone. Excessive pronation may also contribute to injury to the hip, knee, and lower back.
  • Achilles Tendinitis – Pain at the back of the heel is associated with Achilles tendinitis, which is inflammation of the Achilles tendon as it runs behind the ankle and inserts on the back surface of the heel bone.

Seeking medical attention from your podiatric physician is the first line of defense in treating heel pain. However, there are several steps you can take to avoid heel pain in the first place:

  • Wear shoes that fit well and have shock-absorbent soles, rigid shanks (the part of the shoe that supports the foot and helps give a shoe its structure), and a supportive heel counter (the rear-most part of the shoe, at the back of the heel above the sole).
  • Wear the proper shoes for each activity.
  • Do not wear shoes with excessive wear on heels or soles.
  • Begin exercises slowly. Consult with your podiatric physician before beginning a new exercise program.
  • Wear athletic shoes with good shock support in the heels.
  • Purchase shoes that fit.
  • Avoid activities that may put constant strain on the foot.
  • Avoid going barefoot on all surfaces.
  • If obese, lose weight.

A variety of treatment solutions are available to provide short and long-term pain relief. Begin treating heel pain by avoiding all sorts of pressure or tension on the inflamed area, giving your feet ample rest. Applying ice and heat packs in alternating fashion will greatly accelerate the process of healing. Another option is the use of custom insoles created by your podiatric physician. If all non-invasive treatment solutions do not work, surgery is probably the best next option.

If you are unsure of the cause of your symptoms, if pain is severe, or if you have the following symptoms, call a podiatric physician immediately:

  • Inability to bend your foot downward.
  • Inability to rise your toes.
  • Inability to walk comfortably on the affected side.
  • Swelling or discoloration of the back of the foot.
  • Heel pain that occurs at night or while resting.
  • Heel pain that persists beyond a few days.

Heel pain does not always subside quickly after medical attention is received. Unfortunately, it may take several months before the pain is actually gone. In most cases, heel pain can be treated at home under a podiatric physician’s supervision.

Copyright © April 2012 American Podiatric Medical Association and Ankle & Foot Care Centers

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From The Kitchen: Hummus Dip

Yield: 2 cups

If someone was suffering a heart attack right before your eyes, would you know what to do? Of course you would spring into action and call 911. The typical ambulance response time is 8-12 minutes, with brain damage setting in four minutes after the heart has stopped.

2 (15-ounce) cans chickpeas, drained and rinsed
1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil, or more as needed, plus more for garnish
1/2 lemon, juiced
2 tablespoons roughly chopped fresh parsley leaves, plus more for garnish
2 cloves garlic, peeled
1 1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon dark Asian sesame oil
1/2 to 1 teaspoon ground cumin
12 to 15 grinds black pepper
1/4 cup water
Paprika, for garnish

Preparation time: 10 minutes

  1. In a blender combine all the ingredients except the parsley and paprika to be used for garnish. Blend on low speed until smooth. You'll have to stop the blender often to push down the ingredients. If the mixture is too dry and you're having trouble blending it, add a few more tablespoons of olive oil to help things along.
  2. Scrape the hummus onto a plate. Sprinkle the paprika over the top, drizzle lightly with olive oil, scatter some parsley on top, and serve. You can make the hummus up to a couple of hours before you serve it. Cover the top with plastic wrap and leave it at room temperature.

Per serving: Calories, 351; Fat 13 g (Saturated 2 g); Cholesterol 66 mg; Sodium 254 mg; Carbohydrate 26 g; Fiber 6 g; Protein 34 g

Copyright © 2012 Food Network Magazine

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