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A newsletter from Ankle & Foot Care Centers.

Fall 2014 Edition:

Ankle & Foot Care Centers Presents $16,000 Check to Diabetes Group

Ankle & Foot Care Centers, the region’s largest podiatric medical practice, recently presented a check for more than $16,000 to the Diabetes Partnership of the Mahoning Valley to support local diabetes education and research.

The donation was the result of Ankle & Foot Care’s 2014 Diabetes Golf Outing, which raised funds for the diabetes partnership, a local group which supports people with diabetes.

Ankle & Foot Care Centers Presents $16,000 Check to Diabetes Group

Ankle & Foot Care Centers recently presented a $16,000 donation to the Diabetes Partnership of the Mahoning Valley to support the group’s diabetes education programs. Pictured receiving the check from Dr. Michelle Anania (front row center) are diabetes partnership board members, from left, Jean Rider, Ed Hassay, Marg Hassay and Lyn Hemminger. Not pictured but attending the presentation is board member Marsha Kamensky.

“We are proud to assist the diabetes partnership in its mission to educate and support those with diabetes,” said Dr. Michelle Anania, partner at Ankle & Foot Care Centers. “We are thrilled that the money will stay local and help Valley families struggling with diabetes.”

The golf event, organized by Anania, has raised more than $125,000 for diabetes education and research since 1999. More than 130 golfers participated in this year’s event, which was supported by dozens of local corporate and private sponsors.

Ankle & Foot Care Centers actively works with the American Diabetes Association and the local diabetes partnership to support those affected by diabetes. The practice also organizes support groups for diabetes patients and their families and helps to raise awareness of diabetes, especially as it affects the feet.

“We’d like to thank Michelle and her colleagues at Ankle & Foot Care Centers for this generous donation and their continued support of our organization,” said Edward Hassay, president of the Diabetes Partnership of the Mahoning Valley. “With their help, we can educate and encourage local families who deal with diabetes on a daily basis.”

Copyright © November 2014 Ankle & Foot Care Centers

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Ankle & Foot Care Launches Annual Shoe Drive

Podiatric physicians and staff with Ankle & Foot Care Centers are again teaming up with the Salvation Army to collect and distribute shoes through the annual Holiday Shoe Drive.

Ankle & Foot Care Launches Annual Shoe Drive

New or nearly-new shoes can be dropped off at any of Ankle & Foot Care Centers’ 20 locations through Jan. 9.

Shoes can be dropped off at collection stations at each of the practice’s 19 Mahoning Valley locations through Jan. 9, 2015. Shoes should be 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. Boots in children’s sizes are especially needed this time of year. New pairs of socks will also be accepted this year.

“We are pleased to help local families who need proper footwear but can’t afford it,” said Michael Vallas, practice administrator at Ankle & Foot Care Centers. “Owning shoes is something we often take for granted and this shoe drive allows us to meet the basic needs of others and help protect their feet.

“Each year, our patients and the community are very generous with their donations and we’re confident that will be the case again this holiday season.”

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 distributes the shoes collected each year to individuals throughout the Mahoning Valley.

Copyright © November 2014 Ankle & Foot Care Centers

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Patient Credits Ankle & Foot Care for ‘Giving Him His Life Back’

To say the least five years of Ryan Potenzini’s life have been challenging would be an understatement. He was in constant pain. He couldn’t work. He couldn’t walk without crutches. He rarely left the house.

But after more than a dozen surgeries, years of pain and immobility and a test of his faith, Ryan is finally enjoying life as an active 35-year-old should be. And he attributes his new lease on life to the care he received from Dr. Lawrence DiDomenico and Ankle & Foot Care Centers.

“God gave me the blessing of being able to go there,” said Ryan. “My experience with Dr. D has been truly remarkable and I don’t know that any other doctor I would have went to would have done a better job. My feet are in better shape than they’ve been in my whole life and I’m back to being the person I want to be. That’s directly because of Dr. D.”

Patient Credits Ankle & Foot Care for ‘Giving Him His Life Back’

After a series of surgeries with Ankle & Foot Care Centers podiatrist Dr. Lawrence DiDomenico, Ryan Potenzini is enjoying an active lifestyle.

Ryan had experienced foot trouble for most of his life. When he was in high school, he broke his right foot and it never healed properly. Through his teenage and young adult years, he suffered with pain in both feet, but never had them examined by a podiatrist.

His situation took a turn for the worse five years ago when he developed ulcers on both feet. His right foot became infected all the way to the bone and his doctor in Steubenville amputated the pinky toe. It took more surgeries to finally clean out the infection.

“We didn’t know why I was having all these problems,” said Ryan. “I couldn’t handle the pain, I couldn’t work and I was on and off crutches for three or four years.”

Ryan’s doctors then discovered that he had been born with a spinal condition that needed corrected. He had major spinal surgery in Cleveland, which further immobilized him. After recovering, he turned his attention back to his feet.

One of his doctors recommended Dr. DiDomenico at Ankle & Foot Care Centers. That’s when Ryan saw the light at the end of the tunnel.

“I’ve been through a whole lot with Dr. D.,” said Ryan, who went through nine surgeries with Dr. DiDomenico. “He explained that this was going to be a long process, but that he’d be with me every step of the way. I had all those surgeries and was seeing him three or four times a week.

“It was an awful situation, but he kept an eye on me and his assistants and nursing staff were very helpful and compassionate. My family was very supportive during this whole journey and my faith really helped me get through it.”

Thanks to his successful outcome at Ankle & Foot, Ryan is now enjoying life. He’s no longer bed-ridden and is back to work as an oil and gas leasing agent. He spends part of each day on his feet without pain and thankful for the care he received from Dr. DiDomenico and his staff.

“Ankle & Foot Care gave me my life back,” he said. “My life was on hold for the past five years. I couldn’t even leave my house because of the pain and not being able to get around. As hard as it has been, I’ve tried to keep a positive attitude. I just can’t emphasize enough how grateful I am to Dr. D – I think the world of him because he’s given me a second chance at a good life.”

Copyright © November 2014 Ankle & Foot Care Centers

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Dr. Emch Enjoys Practicing in His Own Backyard

Dr. Kenneth Emch

After all these years, there’s still no place like home for lifelong Mahoning Valley resident Dr. Kenneth Emch.

Dr. Emch grew up in the Mahoning Valley on Youngstown’s North side and completed his undergraduate coursework at Youngstown State University. So it only made sense that he’d eventually stay true to his roots by building a successful career as a podiatrist right here in his own backyard.

“I wanted to stay close to my family and friends and raise my family here,” said Dr. Emch, who lives in Boardman.

After graduating from YSU, Dr. Emch enrolled at the Ohio College of Podiatric Medicine in Cleveland. Four years later, he was serving a surgical residency, including time as chief resident, at the Foot Clinic at the Youngstown Osteopathic Hospital.

He then had the opportunity to join a new, local podiatry practice that was forming as he completed his residency. In 1994, he teamed up with Dr. Lawrence DiDomenico and Dr. Robert Debiec to form Ankle & Foot Care Centers, which today is a 19-office regional podiatry practice spanning Columbiana, Mahoning and Trumbull counties, and Greenville, Pa.

Meet the Doc

“We never really planned to grow the practice this large,” explained Dr. Emch, who practice’s in the Market Street and East Liverpool offices. “But as opportunities came along to open more offices and as we came across individuals who meshed well with doctors, we expanded. I’m very proud to be part of this successful and growing practice.

“The group of individuals we have working in our practice are great and that’s really the most important thing that makes us successful in helping our patients.”

Dr. Emch, certified by the American Board of Podiatric Surgery and the American Academy of Wound Management, sees patients with a broad range of foot and ankle issues, and has particular clinical interests in sports medicine and wound care. In addition to his practice, he’s the section director of podiatry at St. Elizabeth Boardman.

Outside the office, Dr. Emch enjoys golfing and watching football, specifically his favorite teams - the Dallas Cowboys, Notre Dame and Ohio State. He lives in Boardman with his wife of 20 years and their three children, Ken, Jr. (18), Maria (16) and Laura (14), who all attend Cardinal Mooney High School.

Copyright © November 2014 Ankle & Foot Care Centers

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Outreach Coordinator Embraces Job’s Challenges and Variety

When you’ve been working in the same job as long as Christine Hennon has, it wouldn’t be surprising if burnout or boredom set in every once and a while. But after nearly 14 years as the Outreach Coordinator for Ankle & Foot Care Centers, Christine still enjoys going to work every day.

“I love what I do,” said Christine, who works in the Outreach department at the practice’s Market Street location. “My job is different every day which keeps things from getting boring or stale. There’s always something different going on and new challenges to overcome. The key is to keep things organized and fix messes when they happen – I enjoy that part the most.”

As the coordinator of the practice’s Outreach department, Christine plays a very important role in working as a liaison between the doctors and the patients they treat outside the office. Ankle & Foot offers patients treatment at dozens of nursing homes in the Mahoning Valley, as well as in-home care for patients unable to visit one of the practice’s offices. This service has proven to be valuable for those homebound individuals.

“When I call patients to schedule a time for one of our doctors to come to visit them at their house, they get so excited,” said Christine. “They are thrilled that we offer this service and that they don’t have to go out in the cold or snow to get treatment. Most of these patients are very appreciative to Ankle & Foot for providing this service.”

Christine handles the scheduling for nursing home and in-home visits for all 17 Ankle & Foot podiatrists; although sometimes it’s difficult to coordinate appointments around the doctors’ in-office schedules. Christine says that her goal is always to be as flexible in the scheduling process as possible and “make the end result what it needs to be so the patients get the care they need.”

In addition to scheduling these appointments, Christine also works with the podiatrists and the patients’ family doctors in obtaining diabetic shoes, including coordinating the insurance authorization, getting the patients’ foot measured and ordering the shoes.

“This department is kind of its own entity,” explained Christine. “It’s pretty busy, but I love it and what we do is very important. The doctors really rely on me to tell them where they need to go and when so that none of those patients’ appointments are missed.”

When she’s not in the office, Christine enjoys traveling with her husband of 34 years. They have adult daughters living in Bessemer, Pa., Boston and West Palm Beach, Florida. Christine spends plenty of time with her two grandchildren in Bessemer.

“It’s nice having our grandchildren so close,” she said. “We also try to travel when we can to see our other daughters and we like to visit casinos from time to time just for fun. Spending time with family is really my biggest hobby.”

Outreach Coordinator Embraces Job’s Challenges and Variety

Christine Hennon (far right) and her family made many trips to watch her daughter Ashlie (front center) play basketball at West Virginia Wesleyan College.

Copyright © November 2014 Ankle & Foot Care Centers

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Dr. Smesko Discusses Diabetic Foot Care at Salem Regional Medical Center

Dr. Mark Smesko

Ankle & Foot Care podiatric physician Dr. Mark Smesko was recently the featured lecturer as part of the Salem Regional Medical Center’s diabetes education program.

His presentation, titled “Your Feet and Diabetes: Prevention and Treatment of Complications” covered such topics as diabetes complications, including Peripheral Arterial Disease, neuropathy and diabetic foot ulcers. He discussed factors that predispose patients to these conditions and how they can reduce risks.

Dr. Smesko also talked about treatment of those complications and the importance of avoiding amputation. He offered advice on what to look for at home to discover these problems early on so that treatment can be sought before conditions worsen.

Dr. Smesko joined Ankle & Foot Care Centers in 1999 and sees patients in the practice’s Salem, Cornersburg, East Liverpool and East Palestine offices.

Copyright © November 2014 Ankle & Foot Care Centers

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You Can Outsmart Diabetes

Diabetes affects the lives of more than 29 million people in the United States, and more than 8 million don’t even know they have the disease yet. Diabetes is the inability to manufacture or properly use insulin, and it impairs the body’s ability to convert sugars, starches, and other foods into energy. The long-term effects of elevated blood sugar (hyperglycemia) can lead to serious damage to the eyes, heart, kidney, nerves, and feet.

You Can Outsmart Diabetes

While there is no cure for diabetes, there is hope. With proper diet, exercise, medical care, and careful management at home, you can help outsmart diabetes! Many people avoid the most serious complications and enjoy a full and active life.

Today’s podiatrist plays a key role in helping patients manage diabetes successfully and avoid foot-related complications. Podiatrists are highly trained physicians and surgeons focusing on the foot and ankle and should be an important part of your diabetes management team.

Fast Facts

  • More than 65,000 lower limbs are amputated annually due to complications from diabetes.
  • Including a podiatrist in your diabetes care can reduce the risk of lower limb amputation up to 85 percent.
  • Inclusion of care provided by podiatrists for those with diabetes will save our health-care system as much as $3.5 billion per year.
  • Almost 28 percent of people with diabetes don’t know they have it.

Copyright © November 2014 American Podiatric Medical Association and Ankle & Foot Care Centers

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From The Kitchen: Spaghetti Squash with Marinara

From The KitchenIngredients

  • 2 whole spaghetti squash
  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • Gray salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 4 cups prepared (jarred) marinara sauce


Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F.

Split the squashes in half and scrape out seeds. Line an oven tray with aluminum foil. Season the spaghetti squash with olive oil, salt, and pepper. Place flesh side down and roast for 30 to 40 minutes until fully cooked. Remove from the oven and let rest until cool enough to handle.

Meanwhile heat the marinara sauce in a large saute pan.

When squash is cool enough to handle, using a large kitchen spoon scrape the strands of squash from the inside of the skin. Toss the spaghetti squash in the pan with the hot marinara for just long enough to get hot. Serve and enjoy.

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

From The Kitchen: Spaghetti Squash with Marinara

Copyright © 2014 Food Network Magazine

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