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A newsletter from Ankle & Foot Care Centers.

January 2013 Edition:

Ankle & Foot Care Doctors Help Write New Textbook

Drs. Lawrence DiDomenico and Gregory Blasko, podiatric physicians at Ankle & Foot Care Centers, understand first-hand through their respective practices that saving a patient’s leg can actually mean saving his or her life.

Their passion for limb salvage led them to form a local chapter of the national organization SALSAL (Save A Leg, Save A Life). Locally, the group comprises approximately 35 medical professionals – so far – among diverse disciplines and organizations from across Columbiana, Mahoning and Trumbull counties.

The group welcomed SALSAL’s co-founder Dr. Desmond Bell as the keynote speaker at its January meeting. Dr. Bell developed SALSAL in 2005 with the objective to reduce the number of lower extremity amputations by 25% within the communities served by SALSAL chapters, as well as improve the quality of life for patients afflicted with wounds, complications of diabetes and peripheral artery disease.

“Technology now exists that allows us to improve wound healing and make limb salvage much more possible,” said Dr. DiDomenico. “If medical professionals aren’t aware of these advances many times patients are only offered amputation as a treatment option, which is no longer acceptable.

“SALSAL enables the medical community at-large to meet, share our collective experience and knowledge, and stay up-to-date on treatment plans that can reduce lower-leg amputations.”

Foot and ankle surgeons at Ankle and Foot Care Centers are already using many of these new technology and treatment options to improve outcomes for their patients.

“It’s not just the trauma of losing a lower limb,” Dr. Blasko said. “Research shows that after amputation a patient’s survival rate three years later is just 50 percent. We’re encouraged by the initial interest among the local community to join the Mahoning Valley SALSAL chapter, and we’re confident we’ll make great strides in the treatment and awareness of diabetes and peripheral artery disease.”

Copyright © December 2012 Ankle & Foot Care Centers

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Medical Mission Trip to Africa Opens Doctor’s Eyes

In this season of giving Ankle & Foot Care Centers podiatric physician Dr. Michelle Anania reflected on a medical mission trip she took earlier this year to a remote part of West Africa.

The two-week visit to Togo, West Africa in July was coordinated by a fledgling non-profit called Mentor Leaders and a local physician, Dr. Steve Swain, who practices out of Northside Hospital in Youngstown. Dr. Anania’s charge was to assess the foot and ankle care needs of the population, namely the children.

Medical Mission Trip to Africa Opens Doctor’s Eyes
Dr. Anania assessed the need for foot and ankle medical care during a two-week mission trip to Togo, West Africa.

“The trip was to a small, remote and very poor village in the northeast corner of the country,” Dr. Anania said. “There’s little to no access to clean water, no plumbing or electricity, and the life expectancy is merely 30 years.

“Despite those challenges, it was a very humbling and phenomenal experience for me. It’s a beautiful country and the kids there are wonderful. They were so happy and they literally have nothing.”

Medical issues abound among the child and adult populations, primarily umbilical hernias, general surgery needs and significant dental problems. And the need for freshwater wells is critical.

“But from a podiatric perspective these folks are fine,” Dr. Anania said. “They don’t wear shoes, so they don’t have the abnormalities associated with a culture that wears footwear like ours.”

Dr. Anania said the medical program aspect of Mentor Leaders is in its infancy, and she would welcome the opportunity to go back, both to Togo and to other areas of need.

“If anyone ever has the opportunity to participate in a mission trip like this they should do it,” Dr. Anania said. “You don’t have to be a physician, either. There are broad volunteer opportunities available for adults and young people through this and other organizations.”

Copyright © December 2012 Ankle & Foot Care Centers

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Got Shoes? Help Support Our Shoe Drive

Podiatric physicians and staff with Ankle & Foot Care Centers have kicked off the practice’s annual Shoe Drive, and is urging holiday shoppers to help the area’s less fortunate by buying and donating new pairs of shoes.

The practice aims to collect more than 800 pairs of shoes between now and Jan. 4. Shoe collection stations are in place at each of the group’s 18 Mahoning Valley locations, all of which are accepting new or nearly new shoes. Acceptable shoes range from children’s sizes to adult, both men and women, and all types of shoes from athletic to dress to casual.

“The beneficiaries of our shoe drive are families right here in the Mahoning Valley who are in the greatest need,” said Michael Vallas, practice administrator at Ankle & Foot Care Centers. “Proper footwear is among the most basic human needs, and yet there are so many individuals and families who aren’t able to afford them. Through the generosity of our employees, patients and neighbors we’re fortunate and proud through this shoe drive to help hundreds of people in our community find a decent pair of shoes.”

Since 1998, Ankle & Foot Care Centers has helped local shoppers donate thousands of pairs of shoes to local needy families. Ankle & Foot Care Centers works with the Salvation Army, who in February will distribute the shoes collected this year to individuals throughout Mahoning and Trumbull counties.

Got Shoes? Help Support Our Shoe Drive
Shoe Drive collection boxes are located in each of Ankle & Foot Care Centers’ 18 area offices. Here, Dr. Christian Carbonell, Cara Adkins, Amy Assion and Susie Rowley from the Market Street office in Boardman prepare for the drive.

Copyright © December 2012 Ankle & Foot Care Centers

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Dr. Beaudis and Wife Can Relate to Patient Issues

When Dr. M. Craig Beaudis takes work home with him his wife not only doesn’t mind, but she’s often uniquely qualified to help him with it. And vice-versa.

Meet the DocDr. Beaudis’ wife, Lisa, is a registered dietitian and certified diabetic educator at Alliance Community Hospital, and the couple sees many of the same types of patients at their respective practices.

“Diabetes is the leading cause of lower extremity complications and amputations, and as instances of diabetes have gone up worldwide, podiatrists tend to see more of these patients,” Dr. Beaudis said. “It’s nice to have such a valuable resource at home who can relate to the health issues I’m seeing with patients, and we’re able to keep each other informed about the latest updates with diabetes treatments and guidelines.”

Dr. Beaudis estimates 25-30 percent of his patients are diabetics, a notable increase even in the 13 years he’s been practicing podiatry. Diabetics, he says, should have their feet screened at least once per year to try and prevent complications with nerve damage, wounds and circulation issues before they occur.

It’s also critical to understand what they’re ingesting and how it affects their glucose levels. Proper diet, exercise and diabetic education he says, can even help some diabetics get off certain medications. He credits the role of the certified diabetic educator for making advances in how diabetics are successfully educated and treated today.

Dr. Beaudis practices out of Ankle & Foot Care Centers’ Warren and Greenville, Pa., offices, as well as providing wound care services through UPMC in Hermitage, Pa.

Outside of the office he enjoys being a father to his three young children. In fact, while coaching his five year-old daughter’s softball team this past summer he drew a parallel that helped him realize an important step to emphasize with his foot and ankle patients.

Dr. Beaudis and Wife Can Relate to Patient Issues
Dr. Beaudis and his family.

“Coaching these young children was rewarding on a parenting level and eye-opening in terms of correlating it to patient care,” Dr. Beaudis said. “Working with these kids, who basically were learning the game for the first time, helped me realize the importance of taking time to explain and educate patients on situations they’re often facing for the first time. There’s a lot of inherent terminology and sophistication to foot and ankle care, much like there is in sports, and it’s important to help a patient understand why something has occurred and how we can work on improving and/or reversing the process. There’s a great deal of personal satisfaction in that.”

With a year of coaching under his belt, Dr. Beaudis is preparing to work the dugout again this coming season, but this time he’ll have twice the fun with both of his daughters on the team.

Copyright © December 2012 Ankle & Foot Care Centers

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Lisa Troutman: Keeping Up with the Times

Lisa Troutman attributes Ankle & Foot Care Centers’ success to keeping up with advances throughout the years, not only in medical products and treatments available, but in back-office administrative functions, as well.

Employee SpotlightTroutman has been with Ankle & Foot Care Centers for 17 years, starting when she took night classes at YSU in 1996 and there were four doctors and three offices. She’s grown with the practice, now 16 doctors and 18 offices, and processes all the deposits – patient payments, mail and insurance checks. She also supports rheumatologist Dr. David Regule, who holds office hours three days a week in Ankle & Foot Care’s Market Street Boardman office, with his charting and scheduling work.

“We’ve grown so much in efficiency,” she said. “We used to write everything up on deposit slips, which today would require a team of people to accomplish, and now we deposit a lot more directly from the computer. And the products we carry to help patients – from the walkers, braces, creams and medicines – to the advanced surgical procedures available today are so far beyond where this industry was in the 1990s.”

Troutman says there’s a family environment at Ankle & Foot Care Centers.

“What I like best about working here is that we all tend to get along; it’s like a second family,” she said. “Managers and co-workers are accommodating, we all do things together outside the office and I just love coming to work.”

Outside the office, Troutman likes to spend time with her husband and young son and daughter, including taking family vacations to the beach. Troutman lives in Boardman and enjoys football Sundays rooting for the Steelers, and her family is a big fan of her spaghetti sauce recipe.

Copyright © December 2012 Ankle & Foot Care Centers

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Successful Heel Surgery Has Patient Doing a Polka

As soon as Ronald N. Riebe, Sr. of West Farmington fell six feet off his step ladder and landed on packed slag, he knew something was seriously wrong with his heel. He remembers the date exactly -- Dec. 14, 2009.

After going to the Emergency Room and getting a cast put on by a local orthopedic physician, it was suggested that Ron consult with a podiatrist to gain maximum use of the foot. That is when Ron looked within the family and went to Ankle & Foot Care Centers’ Youngstown Office at Northside Hospital. Dr. Lawrence DiDomenico’s wife is Ron’s niece.

Limb-Threatening Infection Clears Following Proper TreatmentAfter scheduling an appointment at the office on Gypsy Lane, Dr. DiDomenico noted that the bones were beginning to heal and he recommended surgery. If Ron chose not have surgery, then the ankle would be impaired and his heel would become very wide over time, making movement difficult.

On New Year’s Eve 2009, Ron underwent surgery that included a steel plate and three screws.

“Dr. DiDomenico is fabulous. He is very thorough and knowledgeable. How many doctors would clear their schedule for you on New Year’s Eve? That is when he operated on me in 2009,” Ron said.

For three months, Ron was on crutches. “For all I have been through, I am doing pretty well,” he said, although he acknowledged over-doing it by being on his feet much longer than he should. “I work too much, am on my feet too much and polka too much,” he said with a laugh.

Ron concluded, “I recommend the surgery to anyone with a broken heel. My ankle would have been impaired for the rest of my life. Others who choose not to have the surgery can’t walk. That wouldn’t work for me.”

Copyright © December 2012 Ankle & Foot Care Centers

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Boots: A Perfect Fit, Please

Downhill skiing provides an exhilarating feeling and an excellent workout, too. But as with most winter sports, skiing requires proper equipment and footwear to prevent foot and ankle injuries.

Boots: A Perfect Fit, PleaseDon’t ruin your ski holiday with ill-fitting ski boots. Choosing the right kind of ski boots will enhance your skiing experience and make it more enjoyable.

When choosing ski boots to buy or rent, it’s important to remember that boots should be comfortable. Ski boots should be snug and have an accurate fit. If the boots are too loose, your foot and ankle can slide around inside the boot, potentially leading to sprains, strains, and fractures caused by the constant forward and lateral movement of skiing. If boots are too tight, they will rub and blister your foot. The boots must be rigid enough to keep your feet and ankles firmly in place. The toe box should be snug but not too tight.

Ski boots are available in a forward-entry style, a rear-entry style, or a hybrid style that incorporates both designs. Skiers who use custom orthotics to correct biomechanical imbalances can transfer orthotics to ski boots to help maintain the best possible foot position. To find the right boot, work with ski shop technicians who are familiar with different foot types. If you have purchased new boots, bring them to your podiatric physician so your foot can be evaluated with the boot.

Finally, a good pair of socks is crucial for winter sports like skiing. Socks will keep your feet dry, warm, and comfortable in your boots. Take socks along with you when having your ski boots fitted.

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

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From The Kitchen: Baked Coconut Shrimp

YFrom The Kitchenield: Serves 6

Dipping Sauce:

  • Nonstick cooking spray
  • 1 teaspoon curry powder
  • Pinch crushed red pepper flakes
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 2 teaspoons rice vinegar
  • 1 orange, zested and juiced


  • 1/2 cup flaked unsweetened coconut
  • 6 tablespoons plain panko breadcrumbs
  • 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 2 large egg whites
  • 1 pound large (21/25 count) shrimp, peeled (tails left on), deveined, butterflied and patted dry
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F. Spray a baking sheet with nonstick spray.

To make the dipping sauce: Toast the curry and red pepper flakes in a saucepan over medium heat, about 1 minute. Add the honey, vinegar and orange juice and zest. Bring to a simmer, stirring occasionally, until the sauce is heated through, 1 to 2 minutes. Remove from the heat and set aside.

To make the shrimp: Combine the coconut, panko and flour in a bowl or baking dish. Beat the egg whites in a medium bowl until slightly frothy. Sprinkle the shrimp with salt and pepper. Add to the egg whites and toss to coat. Lift each shrimp from the egg whites, letting the excess drip off the shrimp, and then coat in the crumb mixture, pressing to adhere. Place the shrimp on the baking sheet in a single layer. Lightly spray with nonstick spray. Bake until the shrimp are golden on the outside and opaque in the center, 8 to 10 minutes. Serve with the dipping sauce.

Total time: 35 minutes (prep: 20 minutes, cook: 15 minutes)

From The Kitchen: Baked Coconut Shrimp

Per serving: Calories: 167; Total Fat: 6 grams; Saturated Fat: 4 grams;
Protein: 14 gram; Total carbohydrates: 14 grams; Sugar: 5 grams;
Fiber: 1 gram; Cholesterol: 95 milligrams; Sodium: 582 milligrams

Copyright © 2012 Food Network Magazine

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