Home : Newsletters : January 2013 NewsletterNewsletter Sign-Up


A newsletter from Ankle & Foot Care Centers.

January 2013 Edition:

Drs. DiDomenico, Blasko Initiate Limb Salvage Group

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.

Shoe Drive Nets 700 Pairs of Shoes

Dr. Blasko (left) and Dr. DiDomenico (right) hosted SALSAL co-founder Dr. Desmond Bell (center) at the local chapter's January meeting.

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 © January 2013 Ankle & Foot Care Centers

top ]

Shoe Drive Nets 700 Pairs of Shoes

Shoe Drive Nets 700 Pairs of Shoes Ankle & Foot Care Centers thanks its patients and the community for stepping up to help collect approximately 700 pairs of shoes during this year’s Shoe Drive.

Shoe collection stations were placed at each of the practice’s 18 Mahoning Valley locations from the weekend after Thanksgiving through the first week in January. The local Salvation Army is coordinating a distribution of the new and gently used shoes in February among needy families in Mahoning and Trumbull counties.

Ankle & Foot Care Centers has conducted its Shoe Drive every year since 1998.


Copyright © January 2013 Ankle & Foot Care Centers

top ]

Dr. Blasko Pursues Path in Wound Care

Growing up in Poland, Ohio, and having a mother who was a nurse, Dr. Gregory Blasko knew early in life he wanted to practice medicine as a career. But it wasn’t until his mother steered him to a podiatrist she knew from her job at the Austintown Ambulatory Center that he discovered his true calling.

Meet the DocHaving an opportunity to shadow podiatrists during his undergraduate years at Youngstown State University – and seeing first-hand the compelling clinical work they did, as well as the favorable work-life balance the profession offered – cemented his career decision.

Now in his 16th year in practice, all with Ankle & Foot Care Centers, Dr. Blasko has reached new heights in a career that’s positioned him among the premier wound care specialists in the Mahoning Valley. And together with colleague Dr. Lawrence A. DiDomenico, the pair initiated a local chapter of a national organization that aims to reduce lower-limb amputations among individuals suffering from diabetes and peripheral artery disease.

Known as SALSAL (Save a Leg, Save a Life) – see related story in this newsletter issue – the group comprises medical professionals from among various disciplines and organizations who are interested in learning about and treating wounds, diabetic ulcers and peripheral artery disease. In its early stages of formation it has attracted approximately 50 members from Trumbull, Mahoning and Columbiana counties.

“It’s a diverse group of doctors, nurses and other health care professionals all working toward a common goal, and that’s to raise awareness of, and help treat, issues that may ultimately lead to amputation,” Dr. Blasko said. “The organization’s goal is to reduce lower-limb amputations by 25 percent. We aim to do that through educational and community outreach initiatives, screenings, health fairs and other high-profile public events.”

Dr. Blasko, a certified wound specialist, sees many patients with diabetes, wounds and peripheral artery disease as part of his practice at Ankle & Foot Care Centers’ Poland, Campbell and Salem offices. He’s also affiliated with the Wound Healing Center at Salem Community Hospital.

When not seeing patients Dr. Blasko can often be found playing hockey in a local men’s league or coaching his 9 year-old son’s hockey team. He also has two daughters ages 13 and 12 active on competitive swim teams.

“As for my interest in hockey, I just play with a bunch of ‘old guys’ trying not to get hurt,” he said modestly, noting his colleague Dr. Robert Debiec plays in the same league. “We just try to stay healthy enough to get up the next morning and go to work.”

Dr. Blasko Pursues Path in Wound Care

Dr. Blasko and his family enjoying a little rest and relaxation during a recent vacation.


Copyright © January 2013 Ankle & Foot Care Centers

top ]

Betty Emch: Ankle and Foot Care Runs In the Family

For Betty Emch, working at Ankle & Foot Care Centers is a family affair. Her son is one of the founding podiatric physicians, Dr. Kenneth Emch. But, surprisingly he wasn’t the one who brought her on board.

Employee SpotlightBetty started her career at St. Elizabeth’s School of Nursing. When it closed she moved on to the Austintown Surgery Center. That’s where she met Dr. DiDomenico and he convinced her to join the team.

Betty started in the billing department in the East Liverpool office. She spent five years there before moving into the role of operations manager and into Boardman’s Market Street location. This May will mark her 16th year with Ankle & Foot Care Centers.

“I really love it here. I think it’s a wonderful organization. The doctors are so ethical and fair. I’m always ready to come to work. That’s a credit to the doctors and management,” Betty said.

Betty Emch: Ankle and Foot Care Runs In the Family

Betty Emch and her husband participated in a diabetes walk this past October with several members of the Ankle & Foot Care Centers staff.

Betty, who now lives in Austintown, has been in this area her whole life. She went to Ursuline High School, where she met her husband. This August they’ll celebrate 49 years of marriage. They sent their five children, including Dr. Emch, to Ursuline as well. Betty and her husband have six grandkids who she calls the loves of her life.

Betty’s love for her family doesn’t stop with her kids and grandkids. She’s pretty much adopted the whole Ankle & Foot Care Centers staff as the practice’s surrogate mom.

“We’re close. I just mother them. I can’t help it. I can’t be a mother for so long and just drop it,” Betty said.

As part of her job, she looks for the right people to add to that family.

So far she’s had the right instincts.

“It’s inspiring. Our patients come in and throw their arms around our staff. They’re so loving and kind. And if they’re not they’re in trouble with me,” Betty said.

Betty plans on keeping her role as operations manager and “office mom” for a long time.

“It keeps me young. I don’t want to go home and just sit in a rocking chair.”


Copyright © January 2013 Ankle & Foot Care Centers

top ]

Weekend Office Hours Lead Mother, Daughter to Dr. Blasko

About seven years ago Vicki Mayer had fallen a few times getting out of bed in the morning. She had excruciating pain in her heel. Another podiatrist gave her cortisone shots and told her to do some exercises and other at-home therapies. It worked and she was pain-free.

A little while after that her two year-old daughter developed a spot on her foot. The pediatrician referred Vicki and her daughter to podiatric physician Dr. Gregory Blasko of Ankle & Foot Care Centers. Much to the working mom’s surprise and delight, she found out Dr. Blasko had Saturday hours.

Weekend Office Hours Lead Mother, Daughter to Dr. BlaskoDr. Blasko told Vicki that the spot was built up scar tissue. He told her it could be taken care of quickly with surgery, but since her daughter was so young he suggested some things she could do at home. The treatment worked.

“I was thankful that he took the time to discuss options. We continued to follow up and her foot is now perfect,” she said.

In the meantime, Vicki’s feet started to hurt again. This time she decided to take advantage of Dr. Blasko’s weekend availability herself, bringing her three kids to all her appointments.

“The staff was great with my kids. My daughter was playing doctor and checking out my feet before Dr. Blasko came in. When he did he played right along with her and even asked for her opinion on how mom's foot was doing. She was so excited that she ‘was helping mommy get better, too, just like Dr. Blasko.’”

In December of 2012 Vicki wound up having surgery on her left foot.

“I don't have pain. It's truly amazing. I highly recommend Dr. Blasko to anyone who’s looking for help with their feet. He is a gifted doctor who has a genuine concern for his patients, and I thank him for all he has done for me and my daughter.”

Vicki’s daughter is now four years old and can’t wait to take her mom to her next appointment. She already has her doctor’s bag ready.


Copyright © January 2013 Ankle & Foot Care Centers

top ]

Socks 101

Socks 101Winter is upon us, and it’s time to warm up your feet with a good pair of socks. Socks are a vital part of foot health. They absorb sweat to reduce foot odor, provide padding, and protect your feet from the friction created by your foot rubbing against the inside of your shoe. Here are some guidelines to help you choose the perfect pair of socks.

  • Fit—Socks should fit perfectly—like a glove—and feel comfortable. The sock should not be too loose or large because socks that bunch can cause friction and lead to blisters. Socks shouldn’t be too small or tight either; small socks can decrease your circulation and comfort.
  • Fabric—Socks can be made out of synthetic fibers, natural fibers, or a combination of the two. Socks made of synthetic fibers such as acrylic, nylon, and Lycra keep their shape, retain their resilience, and “wick” moisture away from the skin so feet stay dry. Socks made of natural fibers such as cotton, linen, silk, and wool are durable, strong, and soft. They also absorb foot moisture, helping to keep feet dry. Cotton, for example, is breathable but also heat-resistant and shock-absorbent. Wool socks offer extra warmth and extreme comfort for the feet.
  • Cushioning—Consider socks with a full cushion and padded sole support. These types of socks will provide your feet with added protection and cushioning, leaving your feet less tired at the end of the day. Also, look for socks with reinforced heels and toes, as these areas wear out the fastest.

APMA makes choosing socks a breeze. Simply look for those with the APMA Seal of Acceptance on their labels or packaging. Go to and click on Footwear and Products to find hosiery and socks awarded the APMA Seal of Acceptance.


Copyright © January 2013 American Podiatric Medical Association and Ankle & Foot Care Centers

top ]

From The Kitchen: Slow-Cooker Pork Tacos

From The KitchenYield: Serves 8


  • 3 whole ancho chiles
  • 3 whole pasilla chiles
  • 4 cloves garlic, unpeeled
  • 2 to 3 chipotles in adobo sauce
  • 1/2 medium white onion, roughly chopped
  • 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • 1 tablespoon cider vinegar
  • Kosher salt
  • 2 teaspoons dried oregano, preferably Mexican
  • 3 3/4 cups low-sodium chicken broth
  • 4 pounds boneless pork shoulder (untrimmed), cut into chunks
  • Freshly ground pepper
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • Corn tortillas, warmed, for serving
  • Assorted taco toppings, for garnish

Put the ancho and pasilla chiles and the garlic in a bowl; add 2 to 3 tablespoons water. Microwave on high until soft and pliable, 2 to 3 minutes. Stem and seed the chiles; peel the garlic. Transfer the chiles and garlic to a blender.

Add the chipotles, onion, 2 tablespoons olive oil, honey, vinegar, 1 tablespoon salt and the oregano to the blender; puree until smooth. Heat the remaining 1 tablespoon oil in a large skillet over high heat; add the chile sauce and fry, stirring, until thick and fragrant, about 8 minutes. Pour in the broth and reduce until slightly thickened.

Season the pork all over with salt and pepper and transfer to a large slow cooker. Add the bay leaves and cinnamon stick, then pour in the sauce. Cover and cook on high until the meat is tender, about 5 hours. (Or cook the meat in a large Dutch oven, covered, for 1 hour 45 minutes at 350 degrees; uncover and cook 30 more minutes.)

Discard the bay leaves and cinnamon stick. Shred the pork with 2 forks; season with salt and pepper. Serve the shredded pork in the tortillas, along with toppings.

Total time: 5 hours, 36 minutes (prep: 25 minutes, cook: 5 hours, 11 minutes)

From The Kitchen: Slow-Cooker Pork Tacos

Per serving (does not include tortillas or garnishes): Calories: 399; Total Fat: 15 grams; Saturated Fat: 4 grams; Protein: 51 grams; Total carbohydrates: 14 grams; Sugar: 5 grams; Fiber: 3 grams; Cholesterol: 147 milligrams; Sodium: 212 milligrams


Copyright © 2013 Food Network Magazine

top ]


About Services Conditions   Locations   Contact Us
Meet The Doctors
Research & Publications
Community Outreach
Calendar of Events
Medical Disclaimer
Notice of Nondiscrimination
Privacy Practices
Diagnostic Vascular

Shockwave Therapy
PSSD Neurosensory
Nerve Testing

Ilizarov Fixation
Improved Bunion Surgery
Orthotic Therapy
House Calls
Epidermal Nerve Fiber Density (ENFD) Testing
Ankle Implants
Ankle Sprains
Arthritic Feet
Athlete's Foot
Charcot Foot
Children's Feet
Cracks & Fissures
Diabetic Foot Care
Flat Feet
Forefoot Surgery
Fungal Nails
Heel Pain
Nail Problems
Peripheral Neuropathy
Peripheral Vascular Disease
Plantar Fasciitis
Boardman- Rte. 224
Boardman- Market
East Liverpool
East Palestine
Follow Us