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A newsletter from Ankle & Foot Care Centers.

May 2010 Edition:

Platelet-Rich Plasma Therapy Speeds Healing

A powerful blood therapy that has helped several high-profile athletes recover from injuries is having similar results for patients of Ankle & Foot Care Centers.

Platelet-rich plasma (PRP) therapy, an alternative to surgery, capitalizes on the natural healing capabilities of the body’s own blood platelets to accelerate the healing of tendons.

“It can have great results for patients who are good candidates for the treatment,” said Dr. Joseph J. Francisco Jr. of Ankle & Foot Care Centers.

PRP therapy involves removing a patient’s own blood, isolating and concentrating specially prepared platelets and re-injecting those into the tendons of an affected area.

The platelets release substances known as “growth factors” that promote tissue healing. Developed over 20 years ago to address wounds and blood loss related to heart surgery, the technology is now being used to heal tendon injuries.

Pittsburgh Steelers receiver Hines Ward, Seattle Mariners pitcher Cliff Lee and New York Yankees catcher Jorge Posada are among the professional athletes who’ve benefited from PRP therapy recently.

Dozens of Ankle & Foot Care patients have taken advantage of the safe, affordable treatment in the past year – including Dr. Francisco himself.

He ruptured his Achilles tendon last year while playing basketball and underwent surgery to repair the injury. Six weeks after the procedure, he injured the tendon again.

“I didn’t want to do another surgery, so we did the PRP treatment,” Dr. Francisco said.

“We had great results. The swelling went down and the pain went away. I could feel the tendon getting stronger during therapy.”

The procedure is very affordable, especially as an alternative to surgery.

For a free brochure on PRP therapy, fill out this form here.

Copyright © May 2010 Ankle & Foot Care Centers

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Reconstruction Addresses Pain of Charcot Foot

If Charles Hueberger would have listened to one of his doctors, his left foot would have been amputated by now.

Fortunately, his doctor at Ankle & Foot Care Centers had a better plan, and Charles is out of his wheelchair today and walking with crutches.

“It feels great,” said Charles, 58, of a retired maintenance worker from Dillonvale, Ohio, near the Ohio River in Jefferson County. “I feel like a man again.”

About three years ago, Charles learned he had Charcot foot, a condition that occurs when damaged nerves lead to a weakening of the bones in the foot, often to the point of severe pain, fracture and deformity.

“I was walking in the grocery store with my wife one day, and a bone shifted my ankle,” he recalled. “It was very, very painful, and I could not walk on it.”

He was hospitalized shortly thereafter and wound up suffering an infection. The pain became so severe that he could not walk at all and had to use a wheelchair.

One doctor told him his foot had to be amputated. But his family doctor disagreed, and referred Charles to Dr. Lawrence DiDomenico at Ankle & Foot Care Centers.

He performed a reconstructive surgery on Charles’ foot, using a bone graft, as well as a rod and plates. A second surgery applied skin grafts to treat an ulcer on the same foot.

After the surgeries, the infection and pain subsided, and Charles was able to walk with crutches.

Copyright © May 2010 Ankle & Foot Care Centers

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Meet the Doc: Dr. Gregory Blasko

Dr. Gregory BlaskoDr. Gregory A. Blasko has been with Ankle & Foot Care Centers since 1997.

He earned a doctor of podiatric medicine degree from the Ohio College of Podiatric Medicine in Cleveland and completed residency training at Youngstown Osteopathic Hospital.

Dr. Blasko is a board-certified podiatric surgeon and a certified wound specialist. He sees patients in our Campbell, Poland and Salem offices.

When he's away from the office and hospital, Dr. Blasko enjoys spending time with his family, watching sports and playing hockey. He lives in Poland with his wife, Kara, and three children.


Copyright © May 2010 Ankle & Foot Care Centers

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Spring Runs Raise Risk of Shin Splints

Spring Runs Raise Risk of Shin SplintsSpring is a great time to get back into your running routine or to ramp up your training and exercise for the coming summer months.

It’s always important to take it slowly and to train carefully with the advice of an expert to avoid running injuries.

Before you get started, no matter how fit you may be, stretching before and after a run is a great way to minimize injuries.

Choosing proper footwear is also very important and your podiatric physician can help you choose the right shoe for your level of activity.

Finally, you will want to work with your doctor to develop an effective training routine that allows your body (and more importantly, your feet) to adapt to a new level of exercise.

But no matter how careful you are, you may end up with one of the most common running injuries – shin splints.

Shin splints, which are painful and appear at the front and inside of the leg, are often caused by running on hard surfaces, over-striding, muscle imbalance or overuse.

Shin splints can also be related to the shape and structure of your feet. Treatment includes rest, stretching, changing your running technique, and rebalancing foot mechanics with the use of an orthotic device in the shoe.

Physical therapy can also be helpful. If you begin to feel this type of pain, slow down, take shorter strides, and see a podiatrist at your first opportunity.

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

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