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A newsletter from Ankle & Foot Care Centers.

February 2010 Edition:

Diabetic Patients Invited to Take Part In Study of New Treatment for Wounds

Diabetic Patients Invited to Take Part In Study of New Treatment for WoundsDo you have a diabetic wound that won’t heal? You may be eligible to participate in a study Ankle & Foot Care Centers is conducting on a new treatment for such wounds.

The study involves a palm-sized device that disperses oxygen to heal diabetic foot ulcers. Our physicians and the device’s manufacturer plan to recruit up to 30 individuals to wear the devices under their clothing to test the new treatment.

“We make it a point to get involved in research related to diabetic wounds,” said Dr. Lawrence A. DiDomenico, managing partner at Ankle & Foot Care Centers.

“This device is already approved by the Food & Drug Administration, but there is still much to be learned about how effective it is and how we can make it more effective.”

The device, called Epiflo, consists of a small, silent oxygen concentrator and a long, sterile tube. It draws oxygen from the air, concentrates it to near 100 percent and then pumps it slowly over a wound that is covered tightly by a dressing.

Patients can wear the Epiflo device beneath their clothing, near the wound, for 24 hours a day without affecting their own activities or the device.

“The oxygen encourages a moist environment and jump-starts the body’s natural healing processes,” Dr. DiDomenico said.

We are looking for individuals between 20 and 90 years of age who have a diabetic foot ulcer that has not healed after at least 30 days.

All participants will be equipped with an Epiflo device and a standard wound dressing, but half of the units will be non-working. The devices will be numbered, and neither the patients nor the podiatrists will know which devices are working.

The study lasts up to 12 weeks. The treatment is free to patients, and travel expenses will be reimbursed.

For more details about the study, contact Ankle & Foot Care Centers at (888) 881-8805.

Copyright © February 2010 Ankle & Foot Care Centers

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Ankle Replacement Helps Struthers Woman Walk Again

After almost two years of very limited mobility, Wanda McDowell of Struthers is able to get around again, without a wheelchair or walker, thanks to a total ankle replacement.

The procedure was performed in Dr. Lawrence DiDomenico of Ankle & Foot Care Centers.

“I am glad to be walking and not sitting in a wheelchair,” Wanda said. “I’ve been through a lot with this ankle. The doctor did a fantastic job.”

In 2008, Wanda broke her ankle when she slipped on her porch steps during a light rain. Her leg was put in a cast, and later fitted with a support plate. For most of the past two years, she has had to use a wheelchair or a walker to get around.

“I had a very difficult time,” she recalled. “The pain was terrible and my therapy was not working. When Dr. D suggested an ankle replacement, I said ‘Go ahead. What do I have to lose?’”

That worked. Her pain subsided, and she was able to move without the wheelchair and, eventually, to walk without the walker.

“My family doctor said when she saw my first X-ray that she didn’t think I’d ever walk again,” Wanda recalled. “But this has turned out very well. I have aches and pains once in a while, and I deal with that.

But I’m not sitting a wheelchair. I’m so glad to be walking.”

Copyright © February 2010 Ankle & Foot Care Centers

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Meet the Doc: Dr. Michelle Anania

Dr. Michelle AnaniaDr. Michelle Anania has been with Ankle & Foot Care Centers since 2001.

She earned a doctor of podiatric medicine degree from the Ohio College of Podiatric Medicine in Cleveland and completed residency training at the Cleveland Clinic and DePaul Health Center in St. Louis, MO.

Dr. Anania is board-certified as a surgeon by the American Board of Podiatric Surgery. She sees patients in our Austintown, Champion and Struthers offices.

Since 2003, she has been the lead organizer of Ankle & Foot Care Centers’ annual golf benefit for the American Diabetes Association. The annual outing has raised more than $79,000 for diabetes research.

When she’s away from the office and hospital, Dr. Anania enjoys hiking, biking, reading and cooking.

She lives in Austintown.

Copyright © February 2010 Ankle & Foot Care Centers

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Healthy Feet Advance Safety in Winter SportsHealthy Feet Advance Safety in Winter Sports

From the downhill rush of snow skiing to placid casual skating, cold-weather sports provide a fast track for fun and cardiovascular health.

But colder temperatures and the rapid speeds attained during such sports can also expose your feet and ankles to debilitating injuries.

“Healthy feet and ankles keep the body upright and out of the emergency room,” said Dr. Gregory Blasko of Ankle & Foot Care Centers. “Our feet act as accelerators, steering, brakes and shock absorbers in winter sports. They are not only crucial to success in competition, but also to safety.

“Any problems with the foot or ankle could have serious repercussions for winter sports participants.”

Here are a few tips to help avoid foot and ankle problems when skiing, snowboard, skating or sled-riding.

Keep feet warm and dry. Proper footwear -- insulated, waterproof boots or shoes -- is as important as coats, hats or gloves during cold weather.

Podiatric physicians recommend a single pair of thick socks made of a poly-cotton blend, which wicks away moisture.

In subfreezing temperatures, feet are in immediate danger of frostbite, a serious, painful condition that can result in loss of toes.

Make sure footwear fits. Podiatric physicians say properly fitted ski boots and skates are the single most important factor in safe and successful skiing and skating.

Without a snug and accurate fit, the pressure exerted by the constant forward motion and lateral movement of skiing and quick turns of skating can result in discomfort or injury.

If you are not sure if your ski boots or skates fit properly, or if your current pair hurts your feet, take them to a podiatrist, who can evaluate the fit and make recommendations.

Stretch. Stretching lower limbs helps to prevent muscle pulls and tears and prepares the muscles for the flexing required by some winter sports.

Without proper stretching first, the motion can result in painful Achilles tendinitis and plantar fasciitis, among other problems. A podiatric physician can recommend proper stretching exercises.

Copyright © Febrtuary 2010 American Podiatric Medical Association and Ankle & Foot Care Centers

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