Conditions, General News, Surgical

Do you have a painful, stiff big toe joint?

Stiff Big Toe Joint

Do you have a painful, stiff big toe joint that stops you from doing the activities you love? Or maybe it limits the shoes that you can wear?  There is no need to suffer, we can help resolve your pain!

What is causing my pain?

Pain in the big toe joint is often caused by damage to the cartilage and bone of the joint.  This causes stiffness, reduction in movement and swelling.  However, there are options for treatment.  There are many successful conservative treatment options for this painful condition including taping, special insoles, footwear modifications and steroid injections.  Where these conservative measures fail, an operation may be the next step.

Historically there have been 3 surgical options to treat arthritis of the big toe joint:

  1. Cheilectomy. This is surgery that involves shaving bone from both the joint surfaces of your big toe. The surgeon will remove the diseased portion of the bone.  However, it is common for patients to require further surgery in the future to fuse the joint.
  2. Joint replacement. This operation replaces either the whole joint or part of the joint with metal or plastic parts.  Again, it is common to have to eventually undergo a further operation to remove the joint replacement and undergo fusion.  Due to the nature of this, you can be left with a short metatarsal/big toe.
  3. Fusion. The surgeon will clear the two sides of the joint of cartilage and the bones are held together with plates or screws.  This does not allow for any movement at the joint.

There is also a new technique that may help.

Cartiva synthetic cartilage implant

The Cartiva synthetic cartilage implant replaces the damaged cartilage surface of the big toe.  It allows for a quick recover and maintains movement and function of the big toe joint.

The Cartiva implant goes through a small cut in the top of your toe. The surgeon will then make a hole for the implant, by removing a small amount of bone.  The surgeon will then place the implant into the hole where it will provide a smooth slippery surface to replace the cartilage.  The implant requires no glue or cement, and when it is in place, your surgeon will close the wound with stitches.  You can begin to put weight on the on the toe as soon as you feel ready.

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