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A newsletter from Ankle & Foot Care Centers.

Spring 2014 Edition:

Ankle & Foot Care Moves to Larger Space in Columbiana

Relocating to a new and larger office space will allow podiatric physicians in Ankle & Foot Care Centers’ Columbiana office to better serve patients through expanded hours and services.

The region's largest podiatric care provider, with 16 physicians and surgeons serving patients at 20 local offices, has moved to a new facility at 258 State Route 14, Suite 1B after more than 10 years at 750 E. Park Ave., near Firestone Park.

Dr. Robert Debiec Dr. Nikolay Gatalyak

Dr. Robert Debiec

Dr. Nikolay Gatalyak

“This move will allow us to be a full-time office in Columbiana,” said Michael Vallas, practice administrator. “We’re excited to have the opportunity to provide more extensive lower extremity care for patients in Columbiana County.”

Drs. Robert Debiec and Nikolay Gatalyak will practice out of the Columbiana location, which will offer appointments five days a week and treatment for all lower extremity ailments, including heel pain, diabetic foot care, neuromas, peripheral neuropathy, nail problems and ankle sprains.

The practice began seeing patients in its new location May 5. For more information or to schedule an appointment, call 330-482-1960.

Copyright © May 2014 Ankle & Foot Care Centers

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Diabetes Golf Benefit Set for Aug. 22 at Pine Lakes

Ankle & Foot Care Centers, operators of 20 local foot care offices, is sponsoring its 16th annual Golf Benefit, a four-person scramble event set for Friday, Aug. 22, at the Pine Lakes Golf Club in Hubbard.

Diabetes Golf Benefit Set for Aug. 22 at Pine Lakes

Dr. Michelle Anania (left), Diabetes Partnership of the Mahoning Valley President Edward Hassay (center) and Ankle & Foot Care Centers Practice Administrator Michael Vallas are organizing the practice’s 16th annual Diabetes Golf Outing, set or Aug. 22 at Pine Lake Golf Club.

The tournament raises money for local diabetes education, resources and support, through Ankle & Foot Care Centers and the Diabetes Partnership of the Mahoning Valley.

“We think it is important to support organizations like the DPMV,” said Dr. Michelle Anania, Ankle & Foot Care Centers partner. “We’re thrilled that the money we raise through this annual event will go toward helping local families struggling with diabetes.”

A shotgun start is scheduled for noon, following sign-in at 11 a.m. The $100 fee per golfer includes 18 holes of golf, lunch and dinner, beverages on the course, merchandise prizes and skill contests. Lunch will be served on the course with dinner at the pavilion immediately following the event.

Registration deadline is Friday, Aug. 8. Golfers can register by calling Michael Vallas at Ankle & Foot Care Centers, 330-629-8800. There are also opportunities to support this event through hole and corporate sponsorships. Those interested should call for more details.

More information and a registration form are available here.

Ankle & Foot Care Centers actively works with the American Diabetes Association, as well as the local Diabetes Partnership of the Mahoning Valley. The practice also organizes support groups for diabetes patients and their families and helps to raise awareness of diabetes, especially as it affects the feet.

The golf benefit, organized by Dr. Michelle Anania, has been sponsored by Ankle & Foot Care Centers since 1999. The events have raised more than $125,000 for diabetes education and research.

Copyright © May 2014 Ankle & Foot Care Centers

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May is Skin Cancer Awareness Month

When you lather up with sunscreen on your face, shoulders and arms this spring and summer, don’t forget your feet. Not only will applying sunscreen to your feet avoid flip flop tan lines, it could save your life.

Skin cancer of the legs, ankles and feet are some of the most overlooked cancers. Many people do not think about their feet when applying sunscreen, but did you know that the skin on your feet is highly susceptible to melanoma and other forms of skin cancer?

May is Skin Cancer Awareness Month

The American College of Foot and Ankle Surgeons (ACFAS) warns that skin cancer of the foot is prevalent and can even be fatal if not caught early.

More than 90 percent of skin cancers appear on sun-exposed skin, usually found on the face, neck, ears, forearms and hands, but an alarming number are also found in the legs, ankles, and feet.

The three most common areas for foot melanoma are the soles, between the toes, and around or under the toenails.

While all types of skin cancer, including squamous cell and basal cell carcinoma, can be found on the foot, the most common is the most serious form, melanoma.

Symptoms can be as subtle as an abnormal-looking mole or freckle found anywhere on the foot, and often go unnoticed without routine foot exams.

The foot and ankle surgeons of ACFAS offer these tips to keep your feet safe during the spring and summer:

  • Apply sunscreen from head to toe – literally - when at the pool or beach to protect your skin from the harmful rays of the sun.
  • Check your feet and toes regularly for symptoms such as an abnormal-looking mole or freckle anywhere on the foot - even under toenails and on your soles.
  • Look for moles or freckles that change in size or shape. If you notice anything suspicious, schedule an appointment with your foot and ankle specialist to have the mark examined.
  • Schedule routine exams with your podiatric physician so he or she can keep track of suspicious, changing marks.

If you detect any unusual lesions on your feet, schedule a foot screening right away at your nearest Ankle & Foot Care Centers location. To find a location near you, click here.

Copyright © May 2014 Ankle & Foot Care Centers

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Patient Eyes Return to Biking After Successful Bunion Procedure

Russ Glenz had two choices: Live with pain forever or be willing to go through a procedure that involves breaking the foot and inserting a rod that would limit function in the joint.

Understandably, neither prospect was inviting. But thanks to a friend who recommended Dr. Lawrence DiDomenico at Ankle & Foot Care Centers, he’s now spending his days pain-free.

“I had a bunion that was very uncomfortable and causing problems with my steel-toed work shoes,” explained Russ. “My work is pretty physical - I’m standing on concrete all day and hauling around drums that weigh 400 to 600 pounds.”

After far too long dealing with bunion pain, he called a podiatrist near his home in Beaver County, Pa. looking for relief. Although the procedure the doctor suggested didn’t sound ideal, he scheduled a surgery. But in the meantime, he found out that he had a better choice.

“My wife’s friend told her about a procedure she had done by Dr. D and his group,” he said. “She’s a nurse and she told me that the care I’d get at Ankle & Foot Care would be better than anything I could get in Beaver County.”

Patient Eyes Return to Biking After Successful Bunion Procedure

Russ Glenz is back to enjoying an active lifestyle after being treated for a bunion at Ankle & Foot Care Centers.

Russ scheduled an appointment with Dr. DiDomenico at the Boardman location. After hearing about a procedure called Lapidus bunionectomy that allows for better range of motion, less pain, a quicker recovery time, limited stiffness, a smaller incision and early weight bearing, he had a change of heart.

“I wasn’t thrilled with the procedure the first doctor wanted to do. So, after talking to Dr. D, I called the other doctor and told them I changed my mind and wanted to cancel my surgery.”

Lapidus bunionectomy is used to treat bunions, one of the most common sources of foot pain. Bunions occur when the big toe angles in toward the other toes, causing enlargement of the metatarsophalangeal joint. The goal of the procedure is to move the metatarsal bone back to its original place on the foot. The procedure realigns the metatarsal joint at the mid-foot.

Dr. DiDomenico performed the procedure on both of Russ’ feet – starting with the left, then later the right. He was off work about six months after each surgery. Based on the results, he’s thankful that he wasn’t forced to decide between his initial two choices.

“I haven’t had any problems,” he said. “He did a great job and he was very sincere in wanting to help me. He was easy to talk to and he’s around my age, so we hit it off pretty well. My wife is jealous because she says I have brand new feet like a baby.” In addition to being able to work pain-free, Russ is able to return to some of his leisure time activities, including bicycling and fishing.

“I haven’t done anything too heavy yet, but I’m getting around well. I used to bike a lot of miles per week and I’d like to get back on the bike. I’m not at that point quite yet, but now I have a chance to do that again.”

Copyright © May 2014 Ankle & Foot Care Centers

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Dr. Chiaro Embraces Opportunity to Work and Live in Hometown

For Ankle & Foot Care Centers podiatric physician Dr. John Chiaro only one thing is better than assisting patients with lower extremity ailments – doing so in his hometown.

After completing his medical residency at Youngstown Osteopathic Hospital in 1994, his private practice took him away from the Valley for several years. He was thrilled with the opportunity to move back to Poland and start his tenure with the region’s largest podiatric care provider in 2000.

“I bleed Poland blue,” said Dr. Chiaro, who practices out of Ankle & Foot’s Poland and Alliance offices. “I grew up here and my wife also graduated from Poland. I really like living and working here close to a lot of our family and friends. It’s an honor to treat people I know and help them with their foot and ankle issues.”

Meet the Doc

As a foot and ankle specialist, Dr. Chiaro sees patients with many different lower extremity ailments. As a sports fan, he especially enjoys treating athletes, whether it be weekend warriors or youth very active with their school or club teams.

He’s also proud of Ankle & Foot’s strong track record of improving quality of life for patients through its top-notch diabetic foot care.

“We prevent a lot of amputations,” he said. “Our group does a great job of preventing wounds from getting worse and making the best out of a bad situation. If we can prevent a full amputation or even a partial one, it is better for the patient in the long run. We always have their best interests in mind.”

Dr. Chiaro first became interested in podiatry when the brother of his girlfriend at the time [his wife now] invited him to observe at his podiatry practice in Butler, Pa. A short time after, Dr. Chiaro made the decision to pursue a career in the field.

“I was in college at the time, but not for podiatry,” he explained. “I was in pre-med and I wanted to see what podiatry was all about. So, without telling my girlfriend, I spent a few days at her brother’s practice. After seeing the surgical part of it and how he connected with his patients and how he was able to help them, I decided that I didn’t want to do anything else.”

Dr. Chiaro says he’s thankful for the chance to be part of a dedicated group of podiatric physicians at Ankle & Foot. He cited many advantages he didn’t have previously when working in private practice early in his career.

“What really attracted me to Ankle & Foot was that there are many knowledgeable doctors who I can rely on to cover for me if I’m away or who I can bounce ideas off,” he said. “We can all brainstorm ideas together for certain cases and come up with the best solution for the patient.

“When I was in practice by myself, if I was out of the office, there was no coverage. Also, at Ankle & Foot, I don’t have to deal with all the administrative stuff, so I can just focus on treating my patients.”

In his free time, Dr. Chiaro likes to attend his childrens’ school and athletic events. He and wife, Gina, live in Poland with son, Tony (15) and daughter, Marissa (18). He also enjoys golfing and fishing.

“I really like spending time with my family and friends and being where I grew up,” he said. “For fun, I like to get out and golf a couple times a week. We also enjoy watching our kids and others we know participating in their activities.”

Dr. Blasko and Family

Dr. John Chiaro and his wife, Gina, recently spent some vacation time with their daughter, Marissa (left) and son, Tony (right).

Copyright © May 2014 Ankle & Foot Care Centers

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Medical Secretary to Retire After 13 Years at Ankle & Foot

The next few months of work will be bittersweet for Geri DeCenso, a medical secretary at Ankle & Foot Care Centers.

That’s because after working at the practice for the past 13 years and in the health care field for about 40 years overall, she will be retiring in August.

“It’s going to be hard to leave here for sure,” explained Geri, who works at Ankle & Foot’s Market Street office in Boardman. “I would never work anywhere else but here. I’ve been lucky to have worked here and been around a fabulous group of co-workers, doctors and patients. It’s just time to shift gears and do some other things.”

Employee Spotlight

During her stint at Ankle & Foot, Geri handled a little bit of everything around the office. She served as a liaison between the doctors and the patients, scheduled appointments, handled phone calls and prescription requests and helped resolve issues that patients called about.

One of the favorite things about her job is that patient care is always the top priority for everyone in the practice, from the ones who take the calls to the doctors and support staff. She said she will miss that the most once she officially retires on Aug. 17.

“We have a wonderful patient rapport here,” she explained. “Our patients walk in with pain and some are scared to death. Whatever their ailment is, it is serious to them so we try to treat it the same and help them feel more comfortable. Our staff and doctors all do as much as we possibly can to help patients, whether it’s physically or emotionally.

Medical Secretary to Retire After 13 Years at Ankle & Foot

Medical secretary Geri DeCenso is retiring from Ankle & Foot Care Centers in August and will have more time to spend with her husband, Jim, and their dog, Diamond.

“Another one of my favorite things about this job is that we actually answer the phone when patients call, instead of them going to voicemail or having to go through a computer system and not talk to a person. It’s not like that everywhere. I like that patients get to talk to someone when they call us. I’ve worked at other offices, but there’s something very unique about Ankle & Foot Care.”

Although she’s definitely going to miss her job at Ankle & Foot, Geri is looking forward to retirement and has many plans on how to spend her extra time. That includes playing more tennis, babysitting, gardening, canning foods and doing more volunteer work.

“People who say retirement is boring need to just look into all the volunteer opportunities there are and get involved,” she said. “There are so many things you can do, plus spend more time with family and friends. I’d like to do some traveling to visit family all over the country.”

Geri and her husband, Jim, will also devote more time to antiquing and enjoying music, two hobbies they’ve shared during their 34 years of marriage.

“I’m pretty lucky to have found the right guy,” said Geri. “And I’m happy to have worked at a great place like Ankle & Foot for the last 13 years,” said Geri. “It’s definitely going to be bittersweet when I leave.”

Copyright © May 2014 Ankle & Foot Care Centers

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Why Do People Need Orthotics?

An orthotic is a device designed to restore your natural foot function. Many biomechanical (walking) complaints such as heel pain, knee pain and lower back pain are caused by poor foot function. Orthotics re-align the foot and ankle bones to their neutral position, thereby restoring natural foot function.

A podiatric physician can prescribe orthotics - foot supports worn inside shoes - that are crafted for you and no one else. They match the contour of your feet precisely and are designed for the way you move. Only prescription orthotics can accommodate your unique foot structure. Podiatric physicians use orthotics to treat foot problems such as plantar fasciitis (heel pain), bursitis, tendinitis, diabetic foot ulcers, and foot, ankle and knee pain.

If orthotics are needed, your podiatric physician will capture a 3-D image of each of your feet. That image, as well as any measurements obtained by your podiatric physician, is used to create a set of unique foot supports that will improve your foot movement and lead to more comfort and mobility.

There are two categories of prescription orthotics. Functional orthotics are designed to control abnormal motion and may be used to treat foot pain caused by abnormal motion. They can also be used to treat injuries such as shin splints or tendinitis. These are usually crafted from a semi-rigid material such as plastic or graphite.

Accommodative orthotics are softer and meant to provide additional cushioning and support. They can be used to treat diabetic foot ulcers, painful calluses on the bottom of the foot and other uncomfortable conditions.

If you have serious pain or discomfort, schedule an appointment with a podiatric physician. He or she will assess your overall health and look at any other contributing factors.

Your podiatric physician can examine your feet and ankles, prescribe custom-made orthotics or suggest additional treatments to improve the comfort and function of your feet.

Fast Facts:

  • Orthotics can be created to fit a variety of different footwear, including high heels.
  • Every step places 1.5 times your body weight of pressure on each foot.
  • Plantar fasciitis is the most common type of heel pain that podiatrists treat.
  • Fifty-eight percent of Americans say they’ve experienced heel pain due to shoes not fitting correctly.

Copyright © May 2014 American Podiatric Medical Association and Ankle & Foot Care Centers

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From The Kitchen: Mushroom Stuffed Pork Tenderloin

From The KitchenIngredients

  • 5 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for brushing
  • 4 slices bacon, chopped
  • 8 ounces cremini mushrooms, thinly sliced
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 1 clove garlic, finely chopped
  • 1 tablespoon breadcrumbs
  • 1/2 cup chopped fresh parsley
  • 2 pork tenderloins (2 to 2 1/2 pounds total), trimmed
  • 1/2 teaspoon grated lemon zest


Heat 2 tablespoons olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the bacon and cook until crisp, about 8 minutes. Add the mushrooms, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and pepper to taste; cook until the mushrooms are soft, about 4 minutes. Add the garlic and cook 1 minute. Remove from the heat and stir in the breadcrumbs and all but 2 tablespoons parsley. Let cool.

Soak 10 to 12 toothpicks in water to prevent them from burning. Rinse the pork and pat dry. Butterfly the pork: Make a 1-inch-deep incision down the length of each tenderloin; do not cut all the way through. Open the meat like a book so the tenderloins lie flat.

Cover the pork with plastic wrap; pound with the flat side of a meat mallet until about 1/2 inch thick, starting from the middle and working outward. Spread the mushroom mixture over the 2 tenderloins. Starting with a long side, tightly roll up each tenderloin. Secure the seams with the toothpicks.

Preheat a grill to medium high; brush the grates with olive oil. Brush the pork rolls with olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Grill, turning, until a thermometer inserted into the center of the pork registers 140 degrees F, 25 to 30 minutes. Transfer to a cutting board to rest, about 10 minutes.

Mix the remaining 3 tablespoons olive oil and 2 tablespoons parsley, the lemon zest, and salt and pepper to taste in a bowl. Remove the toothpicks and slice the pork rolls. Top with parsley oil.

From The Kitchen: Mushroom Stuffed Pork Tenderloin

Copyright © 2014 Food Network Magazine

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