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A newsletter from Ankle & Foot Care Centers.

Summer 2014 Edition:

Dr. Johnny Alayon Joins Ankle & Foot Care Centers

Ankle & Foot Care Centers, the region’s largest podiatric medical practice, recently added Dr. Johnny Alayon to its staff of podiatric physicians and surgeons. He began seeing patients in the Niles office in early June.

Meet the DocWith the addition of Dr. Alayon, Ankle & Foot Care Centers now has 17 podiatric physicians serving patients in 20 locations in the Mahoning Valley and western Pennsylvania.

Dr. Alayon’s practice includes general podiatry, reconstructive surgery, diabetic foot care and other lower extremity ailments.

“We are proud to add Dr. Alayon to our practice,” said Michael Vallas, practice administrator at Ankle & Foot Care Centers. “His education and clinical experience will allow us to continue offering quality lower extremity care in the Mahoning Valley.”

Dr. Alayon comes to Ankle & Foot from Seattle, where he served as the Director of Podiatric Medical Education for the VA Puget Sound Health Care System since 2011. He is board certified by the American Board of Podiatric Surgery and has been practicing since 2001.

His master’s degree in Science Health Care Administration from Trinity University in San Antonio is pending and he completed his Podiatric Surgery Residency at the University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio in 2001. He earned a Doctorate of Podiatric Medicine from Pennsylvania College of Podiatric Medicine in Philadelphia in 1998, as well as a master’s of Science in Sports Medicine degree from the U.S. Sports Academy in 1992. He earned a bachelor’s of science degree in Biomedical Science from Texas A&M University in 1991.

Dr. Alayon and his wife, Dr. Suhad Hadi, also a podiatric physician, have three children.

Copyright © July 2014 Ankle & Foot Care Centers

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Ankle & Foot Care Golf Tournament Benefits Local Diabetics Organization

Ankle & Foot Care Centers’ 16th annual Golf Benefit on Friday, Aug. 22 at the Pine Lakes Golf Club in Hubbard is about much more than a day on the golf course.

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 for Aug. 22 at Pine Lake Golf Club.

This year’s event will raise money for local diabetes education, resources and support through the Diabetes Partnership of the Mahoning Valley (DPMV), a local organization that helps diabetics in the Mahoning Valley.

Since 1999, the tournament has raised more than $125,000 for diabetes education and research with much of that funding benefiting the American Diabetes Association’s national and regional initiative.

But funds from this year’s event will also go to DPMV, which focuses on helping diabetics in the Mahoning Valley through education and support.

“We think it is important to support local 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 help support local families struggling with diabetes.”

The DPMV helps connect local diabetics and their families with healthcare providers, educators and other diabetes support personnel and facilities to further their ability to cope with their disease. Additional efforts involve working with businesses that manufacture and distribute diabetic equipment and supplies to explore assistance to those in need.

DPMV President Edward Hassay, whose daughter is a diabetic, is thrilled to work with Ankle & Foot Care toward the common goal of improving the quality of life for those suffering from the effects of diabetes.

“Working with major partners like Michelle [Anania] and Ankle & Foot allow us to support others in the community,” said Edward. “When we figured out that the ADA focuses on more of a national and regional level, we decided that we needed to focus our efforts more locally.

“We talked to Mike [Vallas] and Michelle because we knew they were the ones locally trying to make a difference. We are a local group partnering with a local group of podiatrists to help local diabetics. With the help of Ankle & Foot and this golf tournament, we can extend lives and improve the quality of life for diabetes living right here in the Valley.”

The tournament begins with a shotgun start at 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.

Copyright © July 2014 Ankle & Foot Care Centers

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Cameron Back to Bowling After Beating Cancer, Neuropathy

When it comes to bowling and beating life’s tough circumstances, Carole Cameron is in a league of her own. And she says Ankle & Foot Care Centers is, too.

Carole, a lifelong league bowler, had to take a break from her hobby in late 2010 after he learned that she had breast cancer. She underwent chemotherapy and in April 2011, she had surgery to remove the cancer.

That’s when her experience with peripheral neuropathy began. The chemotherapy caused Carole to develop peripheral neuropathy, a result of nerve damage that often causes weakness, numbness and pain, usually in your hands and feet.

People generally describe the pain of peripheral neuropathy as tingling or burning, while they may compare the loss of sensation to the feeling of wearing a thin stocking or glove.

“It was getting bad and I had a difficult time getting around with a walker, let alone trying to walk on my own,” Carole explained. “I couldn’t feel anything and I couldn’t clip my [toe] nails, so I went to Dr. [Lawrence] DiDomenico like my husband had for a few years.

“He did my nails the first time, then went I went back the second time, he suggested that nerve release surgery would help me. We did that in November 2012.”

That procedure was done on Carole’s left foot first. After she saw “considerable improvement,” she elected for the same procedure on her right foot in May 2013.

“My first one took some time to heal, but I think we learned a lot from that one so we knew what to expect with the second one,” said Carole. “I’m doing fine now after some physical therapy – the surgery was in May and here I am now in October [2013] back to bowling.”

The fact that Carole has been able to return to bowling in her regular league isn’t just a footnote to her. She has been bowling in the same league in Weirton, W.Va., since it started back in the mid-1960s, making the 10-minute trip from her home in New Manchester, W.Va., each week.

“Our league started in one bowling alley, but it burnt down, so we moved it to another bowling alley in Weirton,” said Carole. “There are still several girls bowling who have been there from the beginning. I’ve been bowling in it for a long time, except some time when I had a broken neck and when I had cancer.”

In some ways, bowling has been very therapeutic for the 76-year-old Carole, giving her something enjoyable to turn to when faced with health issues. Likewise, she is thankful that she was able to rely on the expert care at Ankle & Foot Care when she needed help.

“My husband had trouble trimming his toenails and had been a patient of Dr. DiDomenico for a few years because he’s diabetic,” said Carole. “The doctor is very nice and treats us well. It’s a very friendly and nice atmosphere there. We’ve gotten to know him and the girls in the office, too. The surgery really helped me and I’m getting better. Nerves don’t always regenerate as fast as you’d like, but I’m doing better.

“I don’t bowl like I used to before the neuropathy – I’ve changed my approach. I’ve been back at it for a while now and I’m averaging around 105, when I used to be around a 140. But I’m still adjusting and I’m happy to be out there again. I hope to get back to golfing sometime, too.”

Copyright © July 2014 Ankle & Foot Care Centers

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Dr. Daniels Passionate About Disney and Podiatry

Whether he’s traveling to Disney World (he’s been there more than 10 times) or in a theater watching the latest superhero movie, Ankle & Foot Care Centers’ podiatrist Dr. Michael Daniels is a fan of fictional characters. He’s also passionate about saving patients’ quality of life.

Dr. Daniels, who sees patients out of the practice’s Warren and Champion offices, has been with Ankle & Foot since 2009. He sees patients with all types of lower extremity ailments, but specializes in diabetic foot care and sports injuries.

Meet the Doc

As an avid runner, he has an appreciation for the types of foot and ankle ailments that plague runners. Dr. Daniels took up running about two years ago as a way to get healthier and de-stress. The hobby has become more than just a casual run in the park.

He has completed 5K (3.1 miles) and 10K races, plus several half marathons, including one at Disney World in Orlando and another at Disneyland in California. Earlier this year, he finished his first full marathon, running the event at Disney World.

“At first, I just wanted to lose some weight and get healthier,” said Dr. Daniels, who will be back in Florida to run Disney’s Wine and Dine half marathon in November. “But running is pretty enjoyable, so I’ve kept going. I like the half marathons best because it’s hard to train for a full marathon because of the tough northeast Ohio winters. Running is a great way to relax and stay healthy.”

Dr. Daniels chose to pursue a career in podiatry after one of his high school teachers in Rochester, N.Y., suggested it. His Mom was already working in the medical field as a nurse, which also impacted his decision. He worked as a nursing assistant during college while attending Gannon University in Erie, Pa.

“I really like how patients seemed to leave podiatrists’ offices happy,” explained Dr. Daniels. “It seemed like podiatrists could help patients without just handing them a prescription. Podiatry is very hands-on, which I also enjoy.”

After graduating from Ohio College of Podiatric Medicine in 2006, he completed his podiatric residency training at Sisters of Charity Hospital in Buffalo, N.Y., where he served as chief resident.

When seeking employment, Dr. Daniels was able to connect with Ankle & Foot’s Dr. Lawrence DiDomenico through the director of the program in Buffalo. Five years later, he’s enjoying treating patients in the Mahoning Valley.

“The people in this area are great,” he said. “Actually, this area reminds me a lot like Rochester. The staff at Ankle & Foot is the best – that’s really what keeps patients coming back. In the two offices I’m in, we all work well together. The patients really like the atmosphere at our offices and sometimes I think they just like coming back to talk to the secretaries, instead of me.

“Our advice to those in pain or noticing something going on with their feet is to not wait too long to come in. Little things can turn into serious issues very quickly, especially if you are diabetic. A blister can become an ulcer, which can turn into something very dangerous like losing a foot or leg.”

In addition to running, Dr. Daniels interests outside the office include watching superhero movies, like X-Men and the Avengers. He raises three mixed breed rescue dogs, Dory (8), Meeko (5), Chip (2) and Pascal (1). The dogs’ names are inspired by characters in Walt Disney films.

Dr. Daniels Passionate About Disney and Podiatry

Copyright © July 2014 Ankle & Foot Care Centers

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Medical Assistant Enjoys Practice’s Family Atmosphere

Many workers spend more time during the week with co-workers than they do at home. So when you’re lucky enough to work in an atmosphere that feels like a family reunion or time with friends, you know you’ve made a solid career choice.

Margarita Colon has worked as one of Ankle & Foot Care Centers’ lead medical assitants for the past 13 years and has every intention of staying many more. She currently helps patients in the practice’s Northside office after spending about 10 years at the Market Street location.

“I’m proud of where I work,” said Margarita, who lives in Austintown with her two children. “There aren’t a lot of jobs that you go to where you feel like it’s a family atmosphere and where you really become friends with your co-workers. The people here are really great to work with and that’s one of the things that has kept me here for so long. Sometimes, it doesn’t even feel like work.”

Medical Secretary to Retire After 13 Years at Ankle & Foot

Margarita Colon lives in Austintown with her two sons, Robert (5) and Domenic (1).

As a medical assistant at Ankle & Foot, Margarita interacts with both patients and doctors. Some of her responsibilities include ensuring the exam rooms are in order and stocked with supplies, preparing patients for their visits with the podiatrists and attending staff meetings.

“I really like dealing with the patients and doing what I can to help them,” she explained. “Everyone here is about helping people who come in and that’s what makes it a good place to work.”

Margarita says one of the other things that makes Ankle & Foot a unique and desirable place to work is how the doctors treat the rest of the staff. “They don’t treat the staff like employees or make them feel inferior. They really show a lot of respect for everyone in the office and are friendly toward us. It’s a very comfortable and caring work atmosphere.”

When not in the office, Margarita enjoys reading. That is, when she gets quiet time away from her children, Robert (5) and Domenic (1). In addition, she likes to play trivia with her friends, watch movies and cook and bake.

Copyright © July 2014 Ankle & Foot Care Centers

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First Steps: Keeping Kids’ Feet Healthy and Happy

When it comes to the health of your children, you do everything you can to help them grow up healthy and strong. You get them vaccinated, take them to the dentist and optometrist, and feed them a nutritious diet that will help them grow.

But are you aware of the important role foot health plays in a child’s overall development?

“Every parent knows the frustration of trying to keep up with children who grow quickly, and that rapid pace of growth can mean children need new shoes and socks every few months,” said Dr. Matthew G. Garoufalis, a podiatrist and past president of the American Podiatric Medical Association (APMA).

“With warm weather here, it’s a great time for parents to take a look at their children’s shoes to ensure they’re wearing footwear that will serve them well through the active days of summer.”

Ill-fitting footwear can irritate kids’ feet and aggravate existing conditions caused by injury, heredity, deformity, or illness. APMA offers parents guidance for keeping kids in shoes that fit properly and protect their feet:

  • Take the child with you and have him or her try on the shoes. Every shoe fits differently, so even if you’re buying your child’s correct size, the shoe still may not be comfortable. Have the child try on footwear with the socks or tights you expect will be worn with the shoes.
  • Always measure a child’s foot before buying new shoes. Children’s feet grow so quickly, their shoe size can literally change from month to month.
  • Shop late in the afternoon when feet are largest and make sure to fit the shoe to the larger foot. Everyone’s feet swell by the end of the day, and no one has feet that are exactly the same size. One will always be slightly larger.
  • Let kids have a say — within reason. Parents will have to guide children toward good choices, but allowing kids to have a say in the shoe-buying process can help promote healthy foot habits down the road.

Once your child takes the new shoes home, keep watch to ensure the shoes stay comfortable and in good shape. Examine the child’s feet at the end of the day for signs of irritation. If your child always wants to remove one or both of the shoes, it may mean the shoes are uncomfortable.

Finally, never hand down footwear. Just because a shoe size fits one child comfortably doesn’t mean it will fit another the same way. Plus, sharing shoes can spread fungi like athlete’s foot and nail fungus.

To learn more about foot health for the whole family, visit To schedule an appointment with an Ankle & Foot Care Centers podiatrist near you, click here.

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

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From The Kitchen: Chocolate-Hazelnut Drop Cookies


  • 1 cup (2 sticks) butter, at room temperature
  • 1/4 cup plus 1 cup powdered sugar
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 2 cups flour
  • 1/2 cup chocolate-hazelnut spread, at room temperature (recommended: Nutella)

For the cookies: Place an oven rack in the center of the oven. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line 3 baking sheets with parchment paper or silicone liners. Set aside.

In a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the butter and sugar on high speed until light and fluffy, 2 to 3 minutes. Beat in the vanilla. With the machine running, gradually add the flour until incorporated. Beat in the chocolate-hazelnut spread. Using a small cookie scoop or a tablespoon, drop 12 balls of dough onto each baking sheet. Bake until the bottoms of the cookies flatten out slightly, 10 to 12 minutes. Cool for 5 minutes and transfer to a wire rack to cool completely, about 30 minutes.

Place 1 cup of powdered sugar in a medium bowl. In batches, roll the cookies in the sugar until coated. Store in an airtight container at room temperature.

See what others think about this recipe, read some reviews here.

From The Kitchen: Chocolate-Hazelnut Drop Cookies

Copyright © 2014 Food Network Magazine

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