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A newsletter from Ankle & Foot Care Centers.

May 2013 Edition:

Local Readers Vote Ankle and Foot Care Centers ‚ÄúBest Podiatrists‚Ä?

Local Readers Vote Ankle and Foot Care Centers ‚ÄúBest Podiatrists‚Ä?Recently, the readers of The Morning Journal in Lisbon, Ohio, voted Ankle and Foot Care Centers “Best Podiatrists” in the northern Columbiana County area.

“Our entire team at Ankle and Foot Care Centers is proud and honored to be recognized by our patients and the communities we serve,” said Michael Vallas, practice administrator.

Ankle and Foot has three locations in the newspaper’s readership area: Salem, Columbiana and East Palestine. A fourth Columbiana County location is in East Liverpool.


Copyright © May 2013 Ankle & Foot Care Centers

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67 Year-Old Walks Pain-Free after Total Ankle Replacement

John Baker of Salineville, Ohio, had polio as a child and never had ankle problems until he was 19 years-old. He twisted his ankle that year and claims it never healed. From that point on, between the effects of polio and the unhealed right ankle, he lost all the muscle in his right leg from the knee down and his ankle frequently rolled when he walked.

“I’d wear out a pair of shoes every three months,” he said, referring to the wear pattern caused by his awkward gait. “Over a 25-year period, I had four unsuccessful surgeries on that ankle to try and have it straightened by four different physicians.”

67 Year-Old Walks Pain-Free after Total Ankle ReplacementJohn got to the point where he couldn’t walk on his bare feet due to the extreme pain.

Around the Christmas holiday period in 2004 John’s wife, Suzanne, suggested he call a foot and ankle specialist who they’d read about in a Lisbon Morning Journal article. The article was about Dr. Lawrence DiDomenico, of Ankle & Foot Care Centers, had recently performed a total ankle replacement (TAR) procedure on a Columbiana county resident.

Dr. DiDomenico examined John’s ankle, watched him walk barefoot and took some X-rays. When he came back two weeks later for a follow-up, Dr. DiDomenico confirmed he could help him. At age 67, John was a candidate for a TAR, but only after initial procedures were done to correct the muscle and tendon balance and align his foot properly with his leg.

Both procedures in the spring of 2005 went successfully, but John later contracted a staph infection that eventually turned into the dangerous infection, MRSA. He experienced mixed results while being treated by intravenous antibiotics, and Dr. DiDomenico cautioned that MRSA has the ability to “hide” in his body, and reappear when the antibiotics wear off.

At one point, John experienced a MRSA-related complication involving the cold shakes and was flown to a Pittsburgh hospital. An infectious disease specialist there suspected the ankle replacement hardware was to blame and wanted it temporarily removed. But after consulting with Dr. DiDomenico, John learned that wasn’t the case. Dr. DiDomenico examined him, removed the screws in his foot from the initial straightening procedure, and put him on a different antibiotic that cleared the MRSA for good.

“I would recommend Dr. DiDomenico to anybody,” John said. “My expectation going in was to be able to walk again pain-free and I’m certainly able to do that now. The ankle replacement made it 100 percent better. It doesn’t hold me back from doing anything that I want to do.”

John’s procedure was in 2005 and he visits Dr. DiDomenico every six months for X-rays and follow-up care.

“Dr. DiDomenico truly cares about his patients,” John said. “He gave my wife his personal phone number and encouraged us to call any time during that difficult period when I had MRSA. He and the staff always treat me well. He tells me about his family and he asks about mine. I lost a son to cancer during the time I’ve been seeing Dr. DiDomenico and he was honestly upset about it when I shared the news with him.”

Dr. DiDomenico practices out of Ankle & Foot Care Centers’ Boardman, Northside and East Liverpool offices.

Copyright © May 2013 Ankle & Foot Care Centers

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Dr. Gatalyak Improves Patients' Quality of Life

Meet the DocFor Dr. Nikolay Gatalyak, going to work every day means more than just a paycheck. He finds great value in the role he plays in improving his patients’ quality of life.

“I think the most gratifying thing to me is helping a patient return to a lifestyle they haven’t been able to enjoy because of an injury or some other type of problem,” said Dr. Gatalyak.

Dr. Gatalyak finished his a post-residency fellowship with Ankle & Foot Care Centers last year and accepted a position as an associate in August 2012. After the experience he had during his fellowship, it was an easy decision to continue his career there.

“I had a very good experience during my fellowship,” he said. “That’s why when I had the opportunity to join their group, I accepted. I really like how all the physicians treat their patients like their own family members. There is a great management team who does a good job running the operation smoothly.”

Dr. Gatalyak grew up in Cleveland, Ohio. He moved to the United States with his parents when he was 10, and they settled near Cleveland where they were surrounded by extended family, including his grandmother, who lived with them.

He graduated from Baldwin-Wallace College and the Ohio College of Podiatric Medicine. Dr. Gatalyak did his residency at Mercy St. Vincent Medical Center in Toledo, Ohio.

Dr. Gatalyak’s specialities include general podiatry, diabetic foot care, reconstructive surgery and trauma.

He currently resides in Boardman with his wife, Vera. When he’s not in the office, he enjoys staying active with sports and family. One of his newest interests includes bicycling.

“I’ve started biking recently,” he said. “I’m going to pursue that and see how far along it takes me. I may even want to get into doing a race.”

Dr. Nikolay Gatalyak with his wife, Vera.

Copyright © May 2013 Ankle & Foot Care Centers

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Lynn Wolski - Makes Billing Process a Snap

Employee SpotlightFor the past 17 years, Lynn Wolski has played an important role in the billing department of Ankle & Foot Care Centers, assisting patients with their accounts.

“As health insurance becomes increasingly complicated, it’s important that patients have someone they can rely on to answer questions and guide them through the billing process,” said Lynn.

With more than 25 years in the medical field, Lynn is among 11 employees in the billing department who work closely together as a team to answer patient calls, manage insurance claims and issues, and find creative ways to work with patients to accommodate their needs.

Lynn Wolski - Makes Billing Process a Snap“Working with Ankle and Foot is great because they are so flexible for you to take care of your family and your needs,” Lynn added. “They are understanding, and that is a big plus.¬† They are family-oriented and the doctors and billing department¬†are great to work with.”

Lynn lives in Wellsville and is a caregiver for her mother, who shares her home. She has two children and enjoys spending time with her grandchildren, including 1-year-old twins in Ohio, and two who will be visiting her from Florida this summer for an extended visit.

Among the things she’ll be sharing with them are her love of gardening and cheering on NASCAR driver Dale Earnhardt, Jr.

“Family is so important to me, and I can’t wait for us all to be together,” she concluded.

Copyright © May 2013 Ankle & Foot Care Centers

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Diabetes Support Group to Meet June 12

Diabetes affects 25.8 million children and adults in the United States, or 8 percent of the population, with numbers currently on the rise. The disease increases a person’s risk for additional medical conditions, and complications can sometimes even be life-threatening. Because keeping control of diabetes can help reduce risk, Ankle & Foot Care Centers hosts a diabetes support group to help educate local residents.

Foot problems are a major issue for our diabetic patients, and we’re committed to providing guidance and addressing concerns through our support group. For the past 10 years, we’ve worked to provide a wealth of information for our patients through one convenient source. Ankle & Foot Care Centers gathers a wide range of resources to provide well-rounded events for our diabetic support group, including nutrition information and additional medical resources available.

Our next diabetic support group events will be from 6 to 8:30 p.m., Wednesday, June 12 and Wednesday, Oct. 16 in the St. Matthew room at St. Charles Church, 7345 Westview Drive in Boardman (right off Route 224 near the Market Street intersection). A light snack will be served.

Dr. Michelle Anania, podiatrist, and Dr. Michael Cicchillo, vascular surgeon, will be the featured speakers at these events. Topics will include diabetic foot care, diabetes and vascular disease.

To register for either of these event dates, call Elizabeth Emch at 330-758-6226, ext. 204 or any of our staff at Ankle & Foot Care Centers.

As part of our commitment to patient care, Ankle & Foot Care Centers is here to help our patients with diabetes learn about resources and everyday lifestyle changes that can help keep their condition under control. By learning to manage diabetes, patients can live healthy, fulfilling lives.

Copyright © May 2013 Ankle & Foot Care Centers

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Tips for Managing Arthritis Pain

If you have been diagnosed with arthritis, or joint inflammation, you know all too well the pain associated with the disease. There are several types of arthritis, but the most common form is osteoarthritis, or “wear-and-tear” arthritis. Also referred to as degenerative joint disease, it’s the breakdown of cartilage that cushions the ends of the bones where they meet to form joints. This breakdown causes the bones to rub against each other, causing pain, stiffness, and loss of movement in the joint.

In the foot, osteoarthritis can affect any joint. Symptoms associated with osteoarthritis are tenderness or pain, stiffness in the joint, swelling in the joint, and reduced ability to move, walk, or bear weight. Proper diagnosis, early treatment, and pain management are all key factors in preventing joint deformity and disability.

Treatment entails taking medications for arthritis management. These medications include analgesics and NSAIDs (non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs) to provide pain relief and reduce inflammation. Analgesic medications are commonly sold over the counter as Tylenol or acetaminophen. Acetaminophen is most effective for mild to moderate pain. NSAIDs have anti-inflammatory, pain-killing, and fever-reducing properties. Some common NSAIDs include aspirin, ibuprofen (e.g., Motrin and Advil), naproxen, and prescription medications such as Celebrex.

Experts are divided over the role of acetaminophen versus NSAIDs. Both are commonly prescribed for osteoarthritis and both are equally effective for pain relief. Factors to consider when choosing either analgesics or NSAIDs include cost, risks, and personal preference.

Other treatment options include steroid medications, pads or arch supports, inserts that support the ankle and foot, physical therapy, custom orthotics, and surgery.

Here are a few foot care tips to consider for arthritis management:

  • Wear shoes that fit properly and feel comfortable
  • Wear shoes with more cushioning and rubber soles
  • Perform exercises to help keep your feet pain-free, flexible, and strong:
    • Achilles stretch ‚Äď With your palms flat on a wall, lean against the wall and place one foot forward and one foot back. Lean forward, leaving your heels on the floor. Repeat 3 times, holding for 10 seconds on each side.
    • Toe pull ‚Äď Place a thick rubber band around the toes of each foot, and then spread your toes. Hold this position for five seconds and repeat 10 more times.
    • Toe curl ‚Äď Pick up marbles or any small objects with your toes.
    • Consult your podiatrist to determine the best course of treatment for foot and ankle osteoarthritis.

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

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From The Kitchen: Lemon-Ginger Shortbread

From The Kitchen Yield: 72 (2x1-inch cookies)

3 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
2 cups powdered sugar
1/4 cup chopped crystallized ginger
2 teaspoons finely shredded lemon peel
1 1/2 cups unsalted butter
2 - 3 tablespoons lemon juice

Preheat oven to 325 degrees F. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper; set aside. In a medium bowl combine flour, 1 cup of the powdered sugar, the crystalized ginger, and lemon peel. Using a pastry blender, cut in butter until mixture resembles fine crumbs and starts to cling together. Stir in 1 tablespoon of the lemon juice. Form mixture into a ball; knead until smooth.

Divide dough in half. Place each dough portion between two sheets of parchment paper or waxed paper. Roll each portion to a 12x6-inch rectangle. Cut each rectangle into thirty-six 2x1-inch pieces (72 pieces total). Place on the prepared baking sheets. If desired, prick the tops of the rectangles with a fork.

Bake for 20 to 25 minutes or until bottoms are golden brown. Transfer to a wire rack; cool.

For icing, in a small bowl combine the remaining 1 cup powdered sugar and add enough of the remaining lemon juice (1 to 2 tablespoons) to make a drizzling consistency. Drizzle shortbread with icing. Let stand until set.

Total time: 45 minutes total (prep: 20 and baking: 25)

From The Kitchen: Lemon-Ginger Shortbread

Per serving (2 cookies): Calories: 147; Total Fat: 8 grams; Saturated Fat: 5 grams; Protein: 1 gram; Total carbohydrates: 18 grams; Sugar: 7 grams; Fiber: 1 gram; Cholesterol: 20 milligrams; Sodium: 2 milligrams

Copyright © 2013 Food Network Magazine

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