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A newsletter from Ankle & Foot Care Centers.

June 2011 Edition:

Ankle & Foot Golf Outing to Benefit Diabetes Research

Ankle & Foot Care Centers is planning its 13th annual American Diabetes Association Golf Benefit, a four-person golf scramble set for Monday, Aug. 15, at the Lake Club in Poland.

The tournament raises money for diabetes research, through Ankle & Foot Care Centers and the Tri-County Chapter of the American Diabetes Association.

A shotgun start is scheduled for 11:30 a.m., following sign-in at 10:30. The $100 fee per golfer includes 18 holes of golf, a mulligan, entry in the skins game, cart, lunch, beverages on the course, awards and dinner at the newly renovated Lake Club.

Registration deadline is Friday, Aug. 5. Golfers can register by calling Michael Vallas at Ankle & Foot Care Centers, 330-629-8800.

Diabetes is a devastating disease that affects the lives of millions of Americans. The ADA’s goal is to prevent and cure diabetes and to improve the lives of all people affected by the disease.

Ankle & Foot Care Centers has been a strong supporter of the ADA’s Tri-County Chapter for many years, and has sponsored the outing annually since 1999. These have events have raised more than $90,000 for the local ADA chapter.

Copyright © June 2011 Ankle & Foot Care Centers

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Second Opinion Halts Amputation for North Lima Man

Cecil Price’s battle with a sore on his right foot almost led to an amputation.

But a second opinion from Dr. Lawrence DiDomenico of Ankle & Foot Care Centers resulted in a totally different style of treatment that saved his foot.

“I would have lost my foot,” Price, 83, of North Lima, explained recently.

Last year, Price noticed a small depression in his foot about the size of a quarter. He wound up being admitted to a local healthcare facility, where a doctor applied various medications.

None of them worked. The sore continued to grow wider and deeper. Moreover, Price began to lose the ability to move his individual toes.

“It seemed like they didn’t really want to do anything,” recalled Price, a retired television repairman. “The hole grew so deep you could see the bone. They said they would need to amputate.”

Concerned about such advice, Price and his wife, Evelyn, asked their daughter, a trained caretaker, to take another look. She suggested getting a second opinion from another doctor. So a meeting was scheduled with Dr. DiDomenico at Ankle & Foot Care’s Market Street office.

The sore on Price’s foot turned out to be a severe diabetic ulcer. Dr. DiDomenico ordered treatment with a vacuum assisted closure, often called a wound VAC, which draws fluid away from wounds to promote healing.

He also called in assistance from Dr. Michael Cicchilo, a local vascular surgeon, who repaired some blood vessels that were exacerbating Price’s problem.

A piece of bone was removed from Price’s foot.

Over the next few weeks, the size of Price’s wound began to decrease, and it continues to shrink. The color continues to return to normal. Feeling has returned to his toes and the pain has gone away.

Although he still finds it painful to walk, he can now walk, slowly and very carefully, for the first time in several months. He can also wear shoes again.

“It was good that we got out of that (local facility),” Evelyn Price said. “He definitely would have lost his foot if he hadn’t gone up here to Dr. DiDomenico.”

Copyright © June 2011 Ankle & Foot Care Centers

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Dr. Debiec Warms Up to Ice Hockey

For 26 years, Dr. Robert Debiec, a podiatric physician with Ankle & Foot Care Centers, has treated patients for things like high ankle sprains and broken toes, but 11 years ago he started a hobby that increases his own chances of suffering from these injuries.

Meet the Doc“I’ve been playing hockey for 11 years,” he said. “It’s fun. It’s intense. You get a workout, and it has to do with people getting out there and doing what they want to do.”

Dr. Debiec, one of the founders of Ankle & Foot Care Centers, became interested in the sport when his two sons started playing as youths.

“My sons were playing hockey. That’s one thing that my brother and I couldn’t do, so we got private lessons for a whole year,” Dr. Debiec recalled. “After we could skate frontwards, backwards and everything else, that’s when we got some of the fathers of the hockey players to join a group.”

Dr. Debiec Warms Up to Ice Hockey
Dr. Debiec, second from left, with some of his hockey colleagues at the Ice Zone in Boardman.
That group, once known as the Rustheads and now the Iceholes, includes doctors, lawyers and accountants, all 40 or over.

“It’s a not serious league. The league is just two teams. That’s our outlet: We play hockey,” Dr. Debiec said.

As a podiatric physician, Dr. Debiec said he and his fellow hockey players need to protect themselves from high ankle sprains.

“We have to watch for sprains though: High ankle sprains – the twisting of the ankle when the foot is planted on the ice,” he said. “Being in a skate does help protect the ankle, though. It’s a very fast sport, so if you plant your skate real quickly you can roll your ankle pretty easily and the sprains are usually high ankle sprains, fractures.”

Dr. Debiec said a hockey puck once fractured his toe.

“I put my foot out to stop it and I broke my toe. Those are the kinds of things we watch out for,” he said.

Originally from Aliquippa, Pa., Dr. Debiec always wanted to be a physician but it took time to figure out exactly what field to focus on.

“Honestly I wanted to help people. I wasn’t really sure about what type of field I wanted to get into initially, but going through college and spending some time with different doctors that I knew I wanted to get into a field where I could do a lot of different things,” he said.

“I could do wound care. I could do surgery, sports medicine. I could go to nursing homes. I think this turned out to be the best situation.”

Dr. Debiec moved to the area in 1984 when he married his wife, Diane. They live in Canfield and have three children.

Dr. Debiec is board-certified by the American Board of Podiatric Surgery and American College of Foot Ankle Surgeons. He serves patients in the Boardman, Poland and Niles offices.

Copyright © June 2011 Ankle & Foot Care Centers

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New Surgery Book Features Chapter by Dr. DiDomenico

A new medical textbook on emerging surgery techniques for the foot and ankle includes a chapter written by Dr. Lawrence A. DiDomenico, managing partner at Ankle & Foot Care Centers.

New Surgery Textbook Features Chapter by Dr. DiDomenicoMinimally Invasive Surgery of the Foot and Ankle, a 456-page orthopedic textbook by experts and pioneers in the field, includes Dr. DiDomenico’s “Percutaneous Calcaneal Displacement Osteotomy,” which explains a technique that realigns the calcaneous (heel) to improve function and eliminate pain in reconstructive foot and ankle surgery.

Less invasive procedures developed in recent years involve smaller incisions, reducing trauma while minimizing complications, say the book’s editors, Nicola Maffulli of Queen Mary University of London and Mark Easley of Duke University. For patients, the benefit of minimally invasive surgeries can include shorter operative times and hospital stays, reduced pain and stiffness and quicker recovery.

We expect this book to be a valuable resource for physicians and other medical professionals,” Dr. DiDomenico said. “This work addresses not only the emerging techniques we’re using but also the indications for minimally invasive procedures.”

The book is published by Springer Publishing, a leading publisher of medical and scientific literature. It is available online from Springer and Amazon.

Copyright © June 2011 Ankle & Foot Care Centers

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Keep These Items in Mind When Buying Toning Shoes

Tone your legs! Strengthen your core! Improve your posture! These are some of the claims made by athletic shoe companies now producing toning shoes. Some of these claims might be right on the money, but before you put down the big bucks for the newest fad in shoes, you may want to have more information.

There are actually several different types of shoes that may employ some instability or a rocking motion:

· Toning shoes may look odd but utilize various designs to force the core muscles in your body to work harder to obtain balance.

Rock and Roll on Your Feet· Mild rocker shoes are not meant to improve posture or balance. They reduce strain on the heel and toes by allowing you to roll normally with each step.

· Unstable rockers have an unstable heel designed to force you to change your center of gravity and posture and stand up straighter.

· Stable and medical rockers are great for reducing certain motion in the toe joints or off-loading pressure from a particular area of the foot. These are mainly prescribed by podiatrists to treat arthritis or pain in the ball of the foot, diabetes, and plantar fasciitis. They also may be prescribed for use after surgical procedures.

The original rocker bottom shoes were designed by a Swiss engineer and were called MBT, for Masai Barefoot Technology. The shoes were designed to mimic the rolling motion from heel to toe that the Masai people typically have in their barefoot gait. Once MBTs caught on, other shoe companies followed with their own toning footwear. In fact, toning shoes are the fastest-growing shoe category since the 1970s.

Rocker bottom and toning shoes can change your walking or standing posture. They can change how you walk, and the muscles of the body adjust and compensate. Because you will be using new muscles, your podiatrist might recommend that you wear these shoes for shorter walks or on alternating days for cross training. In some patients, rocker bottom shoes can cause injuries such as Achilles tendinitis or ankle sprains. But in others, the slight adjustment in gait can help tone and strengthen muscles. However, it is important to remember that anyone who already has an unstable gait should be very cautious about using these types of shoes.

Most doctors agree that if these shoes can get people motivated to walk, thereby improving their health and fitness, they are worth the money. However, make sure to check with your podiatrist, who can recommend the best shoe for you for any activity. Also, be sure to start wearing them in gradually, and stop immediately if any pain or discomfort develops.

A number of toning shoes, sandals and boots have been granted the American Podiatric Medical Association’s Seal of Acceptance. A complete list of the footwear with the APMA Seal can be found on the APMA website (

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

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From The Kitchen: Corn Salad

From The KitchenDr. Mark Smesko shares one of his favorite recipes for Summer – Corn Salad. Watch this space each month for a new recipe from one of our doctors or staff members.

  • 5 ears of corn, shucked
  • 1/2 cup small diced red onion
  • 3 tablespoons cider vinegar
  • 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
  • 1/2 cup chopped fresh basil

In a large pot of salted boiling water, cook the corn for 5 minutes. Drain and immerse it in ice water to stop the cooking. When the corn is cool, cut the kernels off the cob, cutting close to the cob.

Toss the kernels in a large bowl with the red onions, vinegar, olive oil, salt, and pepper. Just before serving, toss in the fresh basil. Taste for seasonings and serve at room temperature.

Copyright © June 2011 Ankle & Foot Care Centers

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