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Home : Newsletters : Third Quarter 2015 NewsletterNewsletter Sign-Up

ANKLE & FOOT CARE NEWSLETTER


A newsletter from Ankle & Foot Care Centers.

Third Quarter 2015 Edition:


Treatment Saves Teacher's Leg From Amputation

Julie Cianfarano has been a diabetic for 34 years and as a result has faced many health challenges. So when she developed a painful diabetic ulcer on her right foot that put her in danger of losing her lower leg, she was determined to overcome the obstacle like she has others in her life.

"I've always beaten the odds," said Julie. "So, I figured I could beat this, too. With Dr. [Greg] Blasko's help, I still have my leg and I have my life back. He went above and beyond for me and I could never repay him."

Julie, a special education teacher in East Liverpool, was in pain every day at work because of the diabetic ulcer on her right foot. She has very little blood flow to the foot and the ulcer was not responding to treatment. Several podiatrists suggested that Julie could lose her big toe, and possibly her lower leg if the infection got too bad.

Faced with that news, she got connected with Ankle & Foot Care Centers podiatrist Dr. Greg Blasko. After three months of oxygen therapy, injections and other non-invasive treatments, the ulcer still wasn't healing.

"Dr. Blasko listened to me, gave his input and tried as many options as he could before surgery," said Julie. "It looked like there was no hope and I felt like my life as over. I wasn't even 40 years old and I thought I'd be stuck in a chair for the rest of my life."

Faced with the real possibility of leg amputation, Julie decided to have Dr. Blasko remove half her right foot to remove the infection. Her family advised her to seek other doctors' opinions, but Julie was ready to take action before things got any worse. "I made the call," she explained. "Losing my toe or half my foot was better than the alternative. I'm so thankful for all that Dr. Blasko did. He's the only one who stuck with me through this whole thing."

Julie is still teaching and considers her journey a successful one. Her daily pain is gone and she can be on her feet enough to do her job, which requires mobility. While she has suffered through more than her share of health problems, Julie chooses to focus on all the good things in life.

"I was a prisoner," she said. "I couldn't get up, I gained weight and I had no hope. Now, I still have my legs and I'm back to doing everything I want to, like teaching and going to the mall with my kids. Dr. Blasko was a blessing put in my life and I owe him so much. He's so much more to me than my doctor; he's family."

Copyright © September 2015 Ankle & Foot Care Centers

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2 Easy Steps Can Discourage Wounds, Save Feet

As a wound care specialist, Dr. Thomas Groner sees dozens of debilitating foot wounds every week and knows that many of them could have been prevented by one of two very easy actions.

Dr. Groner also has some tips for those who may have lost feeling in their feet. Read more here.

Copyright © September 2015 Ankle & Foot Care Centers

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New Ravenna Office Makes 20

We have opened a new office at 444 S. Meridian St., Suite 7, in Ravenna. Dr. Michael Daniels (far left) and Dr. Nikolay Gatalyak see patients at the new location, our 20th office and first in Portage County. The office is open Monday, Wednesday, Thursday and Friday and can be reached at (330) 297-7330.

Copyright © September 2015 Ankle & Foot Care Centers

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Tarsal Tunnel Surgery Restores Mother's Mobility

Caring for three children under the age of 7 can be a challenging task for any mother. Add into the mix extreme foot pain and being restricted to crutches and it becomes nearly impossible. Cristi Kopachy faced these obstacles every day as she battled tarsal tunnel in both feet. She tried many things to relieve her pain, including cortisone injections, but nothing eliminated the pain or increased her mobility.

Tarsal tunnel is a painful foot condition in which the tibial nerve is compressed as it travels through the tarsal tunnel. This causes pain and tingling in and around ankles and sometimes the toes, and painful burning, tingling, or numb sensations in the lower legs. The pain worsens and spreads after standing for long periods; pain is worse with activity and is relieved by rest.

"I had years of pain and numbness and struggled to get up and walk," said Cristi (pictured with her husband, Mike). "I had a feeling of electricity running through my feet, I couldn't wear certain shoes and I couldn't run like I used to. I had treatments from several doctors, but nothing was working."

Finally, in June 2013, Cristi was introduced to Ankle & Foot Care Centers podiatrist Dr. Greg Blasko in the Salem office. Cristi was prepared to do anything it took in order to solve her foot problems, even if that required surgery. But Dr. Blasko wasn't so quick to put her under the knife.

"I was pushing for surgery more than he was," said Cristi. "He was wonderful and wanted to try everything we could before cutting. He really had my best interests in mind. He was very conservative in his treatments, which I appreciated."

Ultimately, after several non-invasive procedures didn't produce the results Dr. Blasko had hoped, Cristi had tarsal tunnel release surgery on both feet to remove scar tissue and restore healthy blood flow. Surgery on her right foot was done first, in December 2013, and then her left foot in March 2014.

After the surgery, Cristi wasn't allowed to walk for a week to aid the recovery. But she healed quickly from both procedures, the pain is gone, and Cristi is now spending her days playing in the yard with her children.

"I've had zero pain since the second surgery," said Cristi. "My kids know now that Mommy isn't in pain and I can do things with them that I couldn't before. My 7-year-old doesn't have to ask me if I don't feel good anymore.

"Dr. Blasko was great and I'd recommend him to anyone. He wasn't so quick to send me into surgery and was willing to try other was to help me. It's great to be up and moving again, thanks to him."

Copyright © September 2015 Ankle & Foot Care Centers

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Another Dr. Podolsky Prepares to Emerge

It appears Dr. David Podolsky won't be the only doctor in his family much longer. The podiatric physician and surgeon's son, Alan, will be graduating from medical school in May and pursuing a residency in interventional radiology.

"He's making his own way," Dr. Podolsky said, noting that he's noticed lately that several children of his local medical colleagues seem to be pursuing medical careers.

"That does seem to happen a lot," he said.

Alan's medical school is the Lake Erie College of Osteopathic Medicine in Erie, Pa. Interventional radiologists use minimally invasive image-guided procedures to diagnose and treat diseases.

Meet the DocAlan is the oldest of three children of Dr. Podolsky and his wife, Denise, a nurse at Northside Medical Center in Youngstown. Their younger son, Michael, graduated from Youngstown State University's Williamson School of Business and is pursuing a law degree and master's in business administration degree from the University of Akron. Their daughter, Jackie, will graduate from YSU in December with a degree in accounting.

Both were accomplished Penguin athletes. Michael played guard on the basketball team for four years and was a team captain as a senior. Jackie played goalie on the women's soccer team and holds school records for most career wins and fewest average goals allowed per game. Dr. Podolsky and Denise were big fans.

"Life's journey moves along," he said. "We no longer travel to watch YSU men's basketball or women's soccer, as our children's athletic careers are complete. We look forward to scheduling future vacations to different destinations."

Dr. Podolsky earned his doctor of podiatric medicine degree from the Ohio College of Podiatric Medicine (now part of Kent State University) in Cleveland and completed residency training at Harrison Community Hospital in Mt. Clemens, Michigan. He is board-certified in foot and ankle Surgery by the American Board of Foot and Ankle Surgery and in podiatric orthopedics by the American Board of Podiatric Orthopedics and Primary Podiatric Medicine.

He has been with Ankle & Foot Care Centers since July 2002. He sees patients in the Austintown, Niles and Champion offices.

Dr. Podolsky says the practice's large team of 17 doctors and broad scope of 19 local offices make it attractive to patients and their care givers.

"Our doctors are well trained," he said. "All are board certified or pursuing board certification. Multiple office locations and multiple hospital affiliations provide added choice and convenience for our patients."

When he's away from the office, Dr. Podolsky enjoys spending time with his family, golfing and bowling.




At left, Dr. David Podolsky and his son, Alan, an upcoming interventional radiologist.
At right, the family, clockwise from bottom right, Dr. Podolsky, Denise, Jackie, Michael and Alan.

Copyright © September 2015 Ankle & Foot Care Centers

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Medical Secretary Values Family-Friendly Environment

Employee Spotlight It might be Michelle Reynolds' swimming pool, or her fire pit, or her friendly demeanor, but it's probably a combination of those factors and more that make her home a place where people like to gather.

It's commonplace for Michelle, her husband and their 14-year-old daughter to have up to 20 people for a swim in their in-ground pool or a seat at a nighttime bonfire at their Calcutta home.

"We've been ‘that' family," conceded Michelle, a medical secretary at the Ankle & Foot Care Centers East Liverpool office. "Spending time with my family is very important to me. I also like to do things with my daughter and her friends. Making memories is priceless."

Michelle said her work with Ankle & Foot over the past 13 years has also been a major contributor to her opportunities to enjoy memorable times with family and friends. She enjoys scheduling flexibility, daytime hours and policies that allow for family time.

That's why she applied there in 2002. She was working at a wood factory at the time and taking classes to prepare for a new career as a dental assistant. When a medical secretary job opened up, a friend working at Ankle & Foot told her about the family-friendly atmosphere and Michelle figured her dental training was close enough.

"I was missing everything with my old job," she said, which required swing shifts when her daughter was just starting to crawl, then just starting to walk.

"I preferred the front-office part of dental assistant work to the blood anyway. I guess I went from one end of the body to the other."

Michelle added, "I love the people I work with now. They've become family both inside and outside of work. We all try to help each other in every way we can. I also love that Ankle & Foot is all about family first."

As a medical assistant, Michelle's work includes scheduling appointments for patients, answering phones, tracking down doctors to answer patient questions, verifying insurance coverage and more. She also manages files and gets patient records ready for doctors about to see them.

She enjoys seeing patients come in for treatment and get better over time.

"It's a plus when we can bring smiles to their faces," Michelle said. "That's my favorite part."

Copyright © September 2015 Ankle & Foot Care Centers

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Waitress Back on Her Feet After Platelet-Rich Plasma Therapy

Working all day on your feet as a waitress has its drawbacks - long hours, hectic atmosphere, difficult customers and bad-tippers.

But imagine how much more challenging the job can be when your feet cause you constant pain and you end the day crying in your car, then limping into the house.

That scenario was very real for far too long for Stacie Ashworth. She was in terrible pain for almost two years. All she knew at the time was that it hurt to get out of bed every morning.

"It was horrible," said Stacie. "I hurt so bad that I just wanted someone to cut off my feet. I tried everything – soaking my feet in water or resting when I could. Nothing worked. When I tried to get out of bed, my feet hurt so bad it felt like someone was burning the skin off them."

Finally, a friend told Stacie about Dr. John Barrett, a podiatrist at Ankle & Foot Care Center in Alliance. She made the trip from Hartville for a consultation and it turned out to be life-changing.

"I just loved him," said Stacie. "I can't say enough good things about him. He told me how it is and suggested the best routes I could take. He said the tendon was more than 50 percent torn on both feet and said he could do surgery.

"But I wasn't comfortable doing that. I'm a waitress and I need my feet. I mean it might have been OK now, but what about when I'm 70? So he suggested another option that didn't require surgery."

Dr. Barrett determined that Stacie was a candidate for Platelet-rich plasma therapy (PRP), a treatment option for chronic plantar fasciitis, knee tears and other non-healing tendon injuries such as Achilles tendonitis and tennis elbow. The technology was developed 20 years ago for heart surgery to aid with wound healing and blood loss.

Using the patient's own blood, specially-prepared platelets are taken and then re-injected into the tendon of an affected area. These platelets release substances known as "growth factors" that promote tissue healing. By concentrating platelets, the procedure increases the growth factors up to eight times, which promotes the healing of tendons.

While other tendon injury treatments, such as corticosteroid injections, may provide temporary relief and stop inflammation, platelet-rich plasma injections actually promote the healing of the tendon.

Stacie agreed to try this procedure and Dr. Barrett did it right in the office. The results were more amazing than Stacie could have hoped for.

"After about 10 days, I was able to get out of bed without pain," she explained. "My other foot was feeling better after 20 days. I could not believe that I didn't have any more pain. Dr. Barrett was a God-send for me. I have no pain whatsoever and I'm working more hours than ever. I'm on my feet nine or 10 hours a day with no problems. Now, the rest of my body gets tired before my feet do."

Based on her experience, Stacie advises others not to jump right into surgery in order to get rid of their pain. Sometimes, there are other options that can work.

"I tell people that before they let anyone start cutting, they should ask about the injections," said Stacie. "They may be a candidate for that treatment and could avoid surgery. And, I tell them to go see Dr. Barrett because he's the best. I keep sending people over there because of how he helped me."

Copyright © September 2015 Ankle & Foot Care Centers

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Step Out Walk Set Oct. 17 in Canfield

We are among the local sponsors of this year's Step Out Walk to Stop Diabetes, scheduled for 10 a.m. Sunday, Oct. 17 at the Canfield Fairgrounds. To register or donate, visit the website.

Copyright © September 2015 Ankle & Foot Care Centers

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Good Advice for Your Next Pedicure

If you're thinking about a pedicure, be safe about it. Here are some tips for making the most of your pedicure:

DON'T shave your legs before receiving a pedicure. Shaving creates small cuts on your legs that may allow bacteria to enter your body.

DO bring your own pedicure utensils to the salon. Why? Because bacteria and fungus can move easily from one person to the next if the salon doesn't use proper sterilization techniques. Yuck!

DON'T allow salons to use a foot razor to remove dead skin. Using a razor can result in permanent damage if used incorrectly and can easily cause infection if too much skin is removed.

DO use a pumice stone, foot file, or exfoliating scrub when eliminating thick, dead skin buildup, also known as calluses, on the heel and balls of the feet. Be sure to soak your feet in warm water for at least five minutes first.

DON'T apply nail polish to cover up discolored nails. Thick and discolored toenails could be a sign of a fungal infection. Nail polish locks out moisture and doesn't allow the nail bed to "breathe." If you think you have a toenail infection, schedule an appointment with today's podiatrist immediately to get it checked out.

DO gently run a wooden or rubber manicure stick under your nails. This step helps keep your nails clean and removes the dirt, glitter, and other types of build-up you may not be able to see.

Copyright © September 2015 Ankle & Foot Care Centers

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From the Kitchen: The Pioneer Woman's Roasted Turkey

From The Kitchen

Ingredients

  • 2 gallons water
  • 2 cups apple juice
  • 1 1/2 cups kosher salt
  • 2 cups brown sugar
  • 5 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 5 bay leaves
  • 4 tablespoons black peppercorns
  • 2 tablespoons dried rosemary
  • 3 oranges, peeled, white pith removed, skin roughly chopped
  • 1 (20-pound) fresh turkey
  • 1 1/2 sticks softened butter
  • 3 tablespoons minced fresh rosemary leaves
  • 3 tablespoons chopped orange zest

Directions

  • Combine the water, apple juice, salt, sugar, garlic, bay leaves, peppercorns, dried rosemary, and orange peel in a large pot and bring to a boil. Turn off the heat immediately, cover, and allow mixture to come to room temperature. Cool mixture in the fridge until you're ready.
  • To brine the turkey, remove the turkey from wrapper, remove interior bags (set aside; refrigerate), and rinse turkey thoroughly under cool water.
  • Place the turkey into a plastic brining bag or a very large pot.
  • Pour the cooled brine mixture over the top, adding extra cold water if you need more to completely cover the turkey. Seal the bag or cover the pot and allow the turkey to brine in the refrigerator for 16 to 24 hours before roasting.
  • Before roasting, remove the turkey from brine and rinse thoroughly under cold water. Then soak in a sink full of fresh water for 15 to 20 minutes. Pat dry. Discard brine. (This soaking process will decrease the likelihood of too-salty gravy).
  • Preheat the oven 275 degrees F.
  • Truss the bird and place it breast side up on a rack in a large roasting pan. Cover the turkey tightly with heavy-duty foil. Make sure it's entirely covered (cover over the bottom edges of the pan). Place in the oven and roast for about 10 minutes per pound (a 20 pound turkey will roast for about 3 1/2 hours).
  • Remove the turkey from the oven and increase the temperature to 375 degrees F. Remove the aluminum foil and set aside. Mix the softened butter with the rosemary and orange zest and rub all over the skin of the turkey, covering every single inch of the skin. Insert a meat thermometer into the thigh, near the hip joint. Place the turkey, uncovered, back into the oven. Continue roasting the turkey, basting with butter every 30 minutes, until the thermometer registers 170 degrees F and until the juices are no longer pink.
  • Remove from the oven and cover with foil until you are ready to carve and serve. Reserve pan juices to make gravy.
  • Cook's Note: This is enough for a 20 pound fresh turkey. You can decrease the quantity for a smaller bird.
  • Read more at: http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/ree-drummond/roasted-thanksgiving-turkey-recipe.html
     

Copyright © September 2015 Food Network

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Copyright © September 2015 Ankle & Foot Care Centers

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