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A newsletter from Ankle & Foot Care Centers.

February 2011 Edition:

Channel 21 Story Spotlights Ankle Replacements

Channel 21 Story Spotlights Ankle ReplacementsA story last week on WFMJ-TV Channel 21 featured Dr. Lawrence DiDomenico of Ankle & Foot Care Centers and patient June McDowell talking about ankle replacements.

June, a Struthers resident, underwent a total ankle replacement surgery in 2009 and as a result has enjoyed tremendously improved mobility. For the previous two years, an ankle injury had kept her off her feet and in a wheelchair for part of the time.

View the story here.

Copyright © February 2011 Ankle & Foot Care Centers

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Surgery Ends Almost 30 Years of Walking With Brace

After a foot deformity that developed in his childhood, Randall McFarland wore a leg brace for almost 30 years.

But a surgery performed in September 2009 by Dr. Lawrence DiDomenico of Ankle & Foot Care Centers comprehensively restructured Randall’s right foot, enabling him to walk without a brace for the first time since he was 12.

“It made a big change in my life,” said Randall, now 43, of Hillsville, Pa.

“Before, with the brace, I could walk about 10 to 15 feet, and then I would have to rest. Now I can walk all day with no problem.”

Randall’s right foot had caused him problems for most of his life. As a child, the foot began to drop, and he virtually had to drag it.

When he was 12, he was fitted for a brace that was intended to straighten out the foot. But it didn’t seem to help.

He also underwent surgery as a teenager, but it failed to heal his deformity.

With the brace, though, he was at least able to walk … a little. And he made do for the next 30 years with a series of braces.

In 2009, he got a new brace, and it was made incorrectly. So a friend recommended he check with Ankle & Foot Centers to look into another brace.

It was there he met Dr. DiDomenico and eventually prepared for the surgery.

The realignment procedure was complex, involving a lengthening of the Achilles tendon and repositioning of the right foot, as well as its big toe. Orthopedic plates and screws were used in the realignment.

After therapy, Randall no longer needed his brace.

“I have a lot more control of my foot,” he said. “I have much broader range of motion and I can exercise a lot better.”

Copyright © February 2011 Ankle & Foot Care Centers

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Shoe Drive Collects 700 Pairs for Needy

Ankle & Foot Care Centers Launch 2010 Shoe DriveAnkle & Foot Care Centers’ 2010 shoe drive collected more than 700 pairs of shoes for local children and families.

The new and nearly shoes were donated by patients, employees and physicians at Ankle & Foot Care Centers’ 20 locations throughout the region between late November and early January.

The shoes were delivered recently to the Salvation Army for distribution to families next month.

“Even though we have heard a lot lately about difficulty in the local economy, many of our patients stepped up to help a person in need,” said Michael Vallas, practice administrator at Ankle & Foot Care Centers.

“This has been a tradition here since 1998, and we are very pleased to see the response remain so strong each year.”

Copyright © February 2011 Ankle & Foot Care Centers

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Meet the Doc: Dr. Mark Smesko

Dr. Mark SmeskoDr. Mark S. Smesko has been with Ankle & Foot Care Centers since 1999.

He sees patients in our Salem, East Liverpool and East Palestine offices.

When he’s away from the office and hospital, Dr. Smesko enjoys reading, spending time with his family and cooking.

In fact, Dr. Smesko provides the recipe in this month’s edition ofFrom the Kitchen.

He lives in Canfield with his wife Andrea and their three children.

Dr. Smesko earned a doctor of podiatric medicine degree from the Ohio College of Podiatric Medicine in Cleveland and completed residency training at Forum Health North Side Hospital and Youngstown Osteopathic Hospital.

Copyright © February 2011 Ankle & Foot Care Centers

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From The Kitchen: Savory Polenta

From The KitchenHere is one of Dr. Mark S. Smesko’s favorite recipes, courtesy of Alton Brown, via the Food Network. Watch this space each month for a new recipe.

Cook Time: 50 minute
Level: Easy
Yield: 4 to 6 Servings


  • 2 tablespoons olive oil, plus extra for grilling or sauteing if desired
  • 3/4 cup finely chopped red onion
  • 2 cloves garlic, finely minced
  • 1 quart chicken stock or broth
  • 1 cup coarse ground cornmeal
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 ounces Parmesan, grated

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

In a large, oven-safe saucepan heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the red onion and salt and sweat until the onions begin to turn translucent, approximately 4 to 5 minutes. Reduce the heat to low, add the garlic, and saute for 1 to 2 minutes, making sure the garlic does not burn.

Turn the heat up to high, add the chicken stock, bring to a boil. Gradually add the cornmeal while continually whisking. Once you have added all of the cornmeal, cover the pot and place it in the oven. Cook for 35 to 40 minutes, stirring every 10 minutes to prevent lumps. Once the mixture is creamy, remove from the oven and add the butter, salt, and pepper. Once they are incorporated, gradually add the Parmesan.

Serve as is, or pour the polenta into 9 by 13-inch cake pan lined with parchment paper. Place in the refrigerator to cool completely.

Once set, turn the polenta out onto a cutting board and cut into squares, rounds, or triangles. Brush each side with olive oil and saute in a nonstick skillet over medium heat, or grill.

Copyright © February 2011 Ankle & Foot Care Centers

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‘Let’s Move,’ First Lady Tells America’s Kids

Let’s Move“The physical and emotional health of an entire generation and the economic health and security of our nation is at stake.”

First Lady Michelle Obama made this moving statement when she launched the "Let’s Move" initiative last year. She has been hard at work telling kids and parents about the new program, and we’re taking the ride with her.

Because healthy feet are such an important part of many aspects of the Let’s Move plan, your podiatrist wants to work with you and your family to help ensure that you can participate and be healthy.

‘Let’s Move,’ First Lady Tells America’s KidsDid you know that over the past three decades, childhood obesity rates in America have tripled? That’s probably due to a number of factors. Thirty years ago, kids mostly walked to school, played outside after school, and then sat down to portion-controlled dinners at home with their families.

Today, our kids ride to school, have little or no activity at school or at home after school, and eat fewer home-cooked meals. In addition, kids today tend to snack nearly three times more than kids did in the past.

All this adds up to a problem for our kids and our nation. So what can we all do to help? Mrs. Obama’s Let’s Move program outlines five steps to success:

  • Provide healthy snacks to kids both in their lunches and at home.
  • Make physical activity a part of your family’s routine.
  • Plan a healthy menu.
  • Reduce screen time and get active.
  • Organize a school health team.

Your podiatrist can be involved in helping your family get started on the “right foot” by making sure that everyone has healthy feet. A regular visit either before school starts or just after will give you an opportunity to discuss the best sports, shoes, and lifestyle changes for you and your kids. Let’s Move today.

For more information about Mrs. Obama’s Let’s Move program, visit

Copyright © February 2011 American Podiatric Medical Association and Ankle & Foot Care Centers

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