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A newsletter from Ankle & Foot Care Centers.

November 2013 Edition:

Ankle & Foot Care Launches Annual Shoe Drive

Podiatric physicians and staff with Ankle & Foot Care Centers are again teaming up with the Salvation Army to collect and distribute shoes through the annual Holiday Shoe Drive.

Shoes can be dropped off at collection stations at each of the practice’s 18 Mahoning Valley locations through Jan. 3, 2014. Shoes should be new or nearly new shoes. Acceptable shoes range from children’s sizes to adult, both men and women, and all types of shoes from athletic to dress to casual. Boots in children’s sizes are especially needed this time of year.

“We are pleased to participate in such a worthy cause,” said Michael Vallas, practice administrator at Ankle & Foot Care Centers. “The best thing is that all donations will help provide hundreds of local families with proper footwear, who otherwise couldn’t afford it. Our employees are proud to team up with our patients and other generous folks in the community to make a difference during the holiday season.”

Since 1998, Ankle & Foot Care Centers has helped local shoppers donate thousands of pairs of shoes to local needy families. Ankle & Foot Care Centers works with the Salvation Army, who distributes the shoes collected each year to individuals throughout the Mahoning Valley.

Ankle & Foot Care Launches Annual Shoe Drive

New or nearly-new shoes can be dropped off at any of Ankle & Foot Care Centers’ 18 locations through Jan. 3.

Copyright © November 2013 Ankle & Foot Care Centers

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Ankle & Foot Care Centers Recommends Foot Checks in November

In recognition of November as Diabetes Awareness Month, the podiatric physicians and surgeons of Ankle & Foot Care Centers are stressing the importance of annual foot checks for those who suffer from or are at risk for diabetic-related foot problems.

Ankle & Foot Care Centers Recommends Foot Checks in NovemberProblems of the foot are among the major complications of diabetes — in fact, diabetes is the leading cause of non-traumatic foot amputation in the United States. Many other conditions — including poor circulation, ulcers or sores, and impaired sensation in the feet — are also associated with diabetes.

Ankle & Foot Care Centers provides expert diabetic foot care at 18 locations, including four in Columbiana County – Salem, Columbiana, East Palestine and East Liverpool. Other locations are in Mahoning, Trumbull and Stark counties in Ohio and in western Pennsylvania.

“Every patient with diabetes needs to have an annual foot check,” said Dr. Mark S. Smesko, a podiatrist in Ankle & Foot Care’s Salem office. “Preventative foot care is critical to ensure that a diabetes-related foot complication does not result in serious infection or amputation.”

According to the American Podiatric Medical Association (APMA), approximately 120,000 non-traumatic amputations are done each year in the United States. It is estimated that 5 to 15 percent of individuals with diabetes will undergo lower-extremity amputation during their lifetime. Fifty percent will die within one year of a major amputation. 

Ankle & Foot Care’s podiatric physicians have expertise in all aspects of diabetic foot conditions, including lower extremity neuropathy and wound/ulcer care, nail care and therapeutic footwear.

For more information or to schedule a foot check, call 888-881-8805 or visit

Copyright © November 2013 Ankle & Foot Care Centers

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Surgery Provides Light at End of the Tunnel

After years of pain and frustration because of a Charcot deformity in her foot, Michelle Bayne was starting to believe that life would always be struggle.

“I was in pain, missing work and was stuck on the couch trying to raise my kids,” Michelle explained. “For a long time, I didn’t think there was even a light at the end of the tunnel, but now I’m back and moving around again.”

Michelle was battling Charcot deformity, a progressive degeneration of a weight bearing joint, a process marked by bony destruction, bone resorption, and eventual deformity. If untreated, it could result in joint deformity, ulceration and/or superinfection, loss of function, and in the worst-case scenario, amputation.

She had seen several doctors who advised her that she could lose her leg. At the time, she was spending her workdays at Wal-Mart on her feet. She tried to work from chair to ease the pain, but that wasn’t practical. Doctors suggested that she take time off work, but that wasn’t very possible either.

Surgery Provides Light at End of the Tunnel

Thanks to the care she received at Ankle & Foot Care Centers, Michelle Bayne is back to an active lifestyle.

Finally, in 2010, Michelle found Dr. DiDomemico at Ankle & Foot Care Centers. Not only did he diagnose her condition, but he also discovered a fracture through X-ray that had not been previously discovered.

“Him finding that fracture gave me peace of mind that I was in the right place,” said Michelle. “No one else had seen it and that helped explain some of the pain I was having.”

According to Michelle, Dr. DiDomenico didn’t suggest surgery right away. Instead, he tried to treat her condition in various other was to try to avoid her going under the knife.

Ultimately, surgery became necessary and Michelle had her first procedure, a mid-section stabilization, in October 2010. In August 2011, Dr. DiDomenico removed the hardware.

While things were better for Michelle, her recovery wasn’t over. In March 2012, she developed an infection and needed to have the wound cleaned up and a skin graft used.

“The whole time, Dr. DiDomenico was straight forward with us,” said Michelle. “He told us exactly what was going to happen, and what could happen. He told me what was wrong and how he was going to fix it. The infection was definitely a curve ball, but here we are – we just dealt with it.”

It’s been a long road to recovery, but Michelle is still positive about her experience and the process she’s endured in order to improve her quality of life. She no longer works, but she is able to spend time at home with her children.

“It’s not really beneficial for me to work on my feet all day because it could break down,” Michelle said. “But we’re making the best out of a bad situation. I’m up walking around and that makes the kids happy. I’m testing the waters by going to the grocery store and being up and functioning – that’s half the battle.

“Dr. DiDomenico told me I may never be free from obstacles, but he said he’ll be there for me for the long haul, and that’s what I’m counting on. He hasn’t led me astray so far, so I think I’ll stick with him. He’s been great to me. I told him he needs a referral program because I’d recommend him to anyone I know.”

Copyright © November 2013 Ankle & Foot Care Centers

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Dr. Anania: Career in Podiatry Offers Variety of Opportunities

Having a little variety can often make life more interesting, whether it’s in your diet, your leisure-time activities or in your work.

Dr. Anania: Career in Podiatry Offers Variety of OpportunitiesDr. Michelle Anania, a podiatric physician at Ankle & Foot Care Centers, has found that to be true in her career. Not only does she have the opportunity to see patients out of three different offices, she has the chance to treat many types of injuries, which keeps things interesting.

“In podiatry, we get to be involved in multiple areas of medicine,” explained Dr. Anania, who has been practicing with Ankle & Foot for 12 years. “There is a lot we can do, from surgery and sports medicine to pediatrics or older patients. I’m also the team podiatrist for Youngstown State athletics. It’s nice to have a variety.”

Dr. Anania earned her bachelor’s of science degree in Biology from Youngstown State University in 1994 and graduated from Ohio College of Podiatric Medicine in Cleveland in 1998. She completed her Northcoast Primary Podiatric Medical Residency from 1998 to 1999 at the Cleveland Clinic. Her surgical residency was completed at DePaul Health Center in St. Louis from 1999 to 2001.

In her work at Ankle & Foot, she splits time among the Austintown, Champion and Struthers offices.

“I like the change of scenery,” she said.

Dr. Anania embraces her role at Ankle & Foot and is thankful to work amongst other experts in the field of podiatry and lower limb care. The experience allows her to change lives and continue to sharpen her skills.

Meet the Doc“The quality of doctors I work with allow me to continue to learn,” said Dr. Anania. “Our doctors are at the forefront of different breakthroughs in our field and that allows us to venture out and do many different things. I take a lot of satisfaction in being able to help people and give them a better quality of life.”

When she’s not in the office helping patients, Dr. Anania enjoys being outdoors, specifically going for hikes. She spends plenty of time in Mill Creek Park and has also traveled the country – and beyond – looking for adventure.

“I’ve gone out to Colorado to hike at Rocky Mountain State Park,” she explained. “I also enjoy traveling – I’ve been to Singapore, Germany and West Africa.”

Her trek to Africa was part of a medical mission trip to provide care for children. She was there for more than a week and it gave her a unique perspective.

“It was an eye-opener,” she said. “People over there don’t have anything, but somehow they are happier than we are. It was a good opportunity to help them with medical needs over there.”

Copyright © November 2013 Ankle & Foot Care Centers

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Assion Embraces Family Atmosphere in Market Street Office

Since the typical employee spends more time with their co-workers than with their own family, job satisfaction strongly depends on office dynamics.

Amy Assion, head secretary at Ankle & Foot Care’s Market Street office, is thankful that the crew she spends at least 40 hours a week with is full of good workers – and great people.

Employee Spotlight“I really enjoy the group of girls I work with at our office,” said Assion, who has been part of the Ankle & Foot staff since 2000. “The group we have is wonderful, and the administration is awesome about working with you if an emergency comes up or you need time off. It’s a great company to work for because of the great people who make you feel like part of their family.”

Amy’s role at the Market Street office includes serving as the primary secretary who handles patient and surgery scheduling and insurance verification. She started with the practice in 2000 as a secretary and took over the lead role several years ago.

The year 2000 was quite a whirlwind for Amy, as she got married in June, moved to the Mahoning Valley that summer and started her new job at Ankle & Foot in August. Despite the craziness, she says the transition from living in the South to northeast Ohio has been a smooth one for her family.

“I’m from North Carolina, but my husband is from here,” she explained. “We really didn’t have much family down there, so we wanted to move somewhere we knew some people. I really love it here – I’m from a small town where you had to drive an hour to get to the stores. Here, you are close to everywhere you need to go.

“I really like the change in seasons here – that’s something I never saw living down there. It really has been a great move for me.”

Amy and her husband, Mark, live in Canfield with children, Mike (16) and Grace (12). Mark teaches in the Jackson-Milton school district, where the children attend.

Outside of her work at Ankle & Foot Care Centers, Amy has no problem keeping busy, as her children are very active in sports and other extracurriculars. She can be found in the bleachers year-round supporting her childrens’ athletic teams.

“It’s a crazy life,” Amy said. “Both our children are involved in sports, so we’re always running around. They are into football, basketball, track and cross country, so we have something from one season to the next. When we do have free time, we try to spend it with family.”

Assion Embraces Family Atmosphere in Market Street Office

Amy Assion (left) resides in Canfield with husband, Mark (back) and children, Mike (center) and Grace.

Copyright © November 2013 Ankle & Foot Care Centers

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Bunions: Causes, Prevention and Treatments

Bunions: Causes, Prevention and TreatmentsA bunion is an enlargement on the side of the foot near the base of the big toe (hallux) — the metatarsophalangeal (MTP) joint. A bunion forms when the bone or tissue at the big toe joint moves out of place. The toe is forced to bend toward the others, causing an often painful lump of bone on the foot.

Wearing improperly fitted shoes is partly to blame for your bunions, but your shoes are not the underlying cause. Heredity definitely plays a role as well. You do not inherit the bunion, but you inherit the foot type that may lead to bunions.

Other possible causes of bunions include foot injuries, neuromuscular disorders (cerebral palsy and rheumatoid arthritis), or congenital deformities. People who suffer from flat feet or low arches are likely to develop bunions. People in occupations such as teaching, nursing, and dancing are susceptible to bunions.

Some of the signs and symptoms associated with bunions include:

  • Pain on the inside of your foot at the big toe
  • Swelling
  • Redness on the inside of your foot at the big toe joint
  • Numbness or burning in the big toe

Conservative treatments for bunions include the following:

  • Wearing the Right Kind of Shoe — Shoes should have a wide, flexible sole to support the foot and provide enough room in the toe box to accommodate the bunion.
  • Medications — Anti-inflammatory drugs and cortisone injections can be prescribed by your podiatric physician to ease acute pain and inflammation.
  • Orthotic Devices — In some cases, custom orthotic devices may be provided by your podiatric physician.
  • Surgical Options — If conservative measures fail and you still have pain that interferes with daily activities, you may need surgery to relieve pressure and return the toe joint to its normal position.

The most common types of bunion surgery include bunionectomy and osteotomy. Bunionectomy involves shaving off the enlarged portion of the bone and realigning the muscles, tendons, and ligaments.

Osteotomy is the preferred choice for severe bunions and involves making a cut in the bone, rotating the bone, and fixing it in place with pins and screws.

If surgery is required, your podiatric physician will discuss your surgical options as well as steps to take for a successful recuperation.

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

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From The Kitchen: Turkey Meatballs

From The KitchenIngredients
1 small onion, grated
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 large egg
1/4 cup dried bread crumbs
3 tablespoons ketchup
1/4 cup chopped fresh Italian parsley leaves
1/4 cup grated Parmesan
1/4 cup grated Pecorino Romano
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
1 pound ground dark turkey meat
3 tablespoons olive oil
26 ounces Simple Tomato Sauce, recipe follows, or store-bought marinara sauce

Add the onion, garlic, egg, bread crumbs, ketchup, parsley, Parmesan, Pecorino, salt and pepper to a large bowl and blend. Mix in the turkey. Shape the turkey mixture into 1 1/4-inch-diameter meatballs. Place on a large plate or baking sheet.

Heat the oil in a heavy large frying pan over medium-high heat. Add the meatballs and saute until browned on all sides, about 5 minutes. Turn off heat. Transfer the meatballs to a plate. Pour off any excess oil. Add the marinara sauce, about 3 cups. Return all the meatballs to the pan. Turn the heat to medium-low and simmer until the sauce thickens slightly and the flavors blend, 15 to 20 minutes. Season the sauce, to taste, with salt and pepper.

Transfer the meatball mixture to a serving bowl. Serve with toothpicks.

From The Kitchen: Turkey Meatballs

Copyright © 2013 Food Network Magazine

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