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stiff, painful big toe joint

Stiff, painful big toe joint?

Stiff, Painful Big Toe Joint

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

The pain that you are suffering is likely being caused by wear and tear of the cartilage of the big toe joint, causing stiffness, reduction in movement and swelling.  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 to remove the diseased portion of the bone.  However, it is common for patients that have undergone Cheilectomy 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 for patients that have undergone this surgery 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: surgery where the two sides of the joint are cleared of cartilage and the bones are held together with plates or screws.  This does not allow for any movement at the joint.

We now have a new innovative technique that may be your answer to a pain free joint whilst maintaining movement and function and providing a quick recovery.  The Cartiva synthetic cartilage implant is a man made implant which provides a solid, slippery, durable implant that replaces the damaged cartilage surface of the big toe.


The Cartiva implant goes through a small cut in the top of your toe and a small amount of bone is removed to make a hole for the implant.  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 will be given post operative advice but you can begin to put weight on the on the toe as soon as you feel ready, and you will be given exercises to do immediately after the operation.

In a recent clinical study, 89% of patients who received a Cartiva implant had significant pain relief at 2 years after treatment and 74% maintained or improved the amount of movement at the joint at 2 years after treatment.  The Cartiva implant is a long term treatment for your big toe pain, however in 9% of cases the implant had to be removed and the joint fused due to the patients still experiencing pain.  However due to the minimal bone removal required with the implant, the toe remains its normal length.

If you would like to know more about the Cartiva implant or would like to book an appointment with one of our team to discuss your conservative or surgical options for your painful big toe joint, please complete the contact form below and we will contact you to discuss your options.