The Center for Podiatric Care and Sports Medicine

Cartiva Toe Implants

Our board-certified foot surgeons are some of the first in New York to offer the revolutionary new Cartiva toe implant everyone’s talking about. Each year, about 100,000 Americans undergo surgical treatment for big toe arthritis. In the past, the best option for these patients was a surgical fusion that reduced pain but caused limited mobility. The stiff joint limited what size of heels women could wear, altered the gait, and limited other activities.

Now, we offer patients with arthritis, big toe pain, cartilage damage, or deformity a better option—Cartiva toe implant surgery. This procedure uses an FDA-approved organic polymer implant that mimics real cartilage and allows for full flexibility. Unlike other procedures, Cartiva toe implant surgery does not require any joint removal, which results in a much faster recovery time and ensures thorough healing.

Quick Procedure, Quick Recovery

With Cartiva toe implant surgery, the outpatient operation takes just 30 minutes to complete. Most often, we use local block anesthesia and light sedation. During the procedure, the surgeon makes a 4-5 cm incision and removes any bone spurs or damaged cartilage. The implant is pressed into a drilled hole in the metatarsal to create a smooth, weight-bearing joint surface.

After the surgery is completed, patients can bear weight the same day. They may transition from the boot to comfortable sneakers of their choosing about two to four weeks later once the stitches are removed and any initial swelling comes down. Patients can return to all the athletic activities they love in four to six weeks.

The Research Behind the Cartiva Toe Implants

A Rochester surgeon performed the first Cartiva implant procedure at Strong Memorial Hospital in July 2016, but Europe has had the product for a decade. Although the implant is relatively new, we are entirely comfortable using it, as it’s backed by the largest comprehensive study ever done on osteoarthritis. The independent, peer-reviewed results speak for themselves:

93% reduction in pain.

168% functional improvement.

50% improved range of motion.

No evidence of implant loosening, misalignment, or wear reported in the five-year follow-up.
Unlike other implants which typically have a seven-year shelf-life, Cartiva’s design allows for long-term use— 20+ years. Surgeons can easily remove the implant if pain persists and switch to a fusion. However, only one patient in the study sample opted to take this route two years after the initial surgery.

In our practice, the first group of seven who received the Cartiva implant returned to athletic activities once the swelling fully resolved at 6 weeks. We have patients who are suddenly bending their toes in ways they haven’t been able to in years. They’re wearing their favorite shoes again or running long distances. Even more importantly, none of the patients experienced complications or persistent pain. In fact, they reported being 100% satisfied with the results. As such, we feel confident advocating the effectiveness of the Cartiva toe implant procedure.

Treatment Options For Arthritis and Big Toe Pain Treatment

We never take the decision to operate lightly. Our board-certified doctors look at X-rays, clinical exam results, range of motion abilities, and reported pain levels to determine who might be a good candidate for toe implant surgery. Cartiva may not be the right product for patients with early onset arthritis who still have a good range of motion or patients with severe arthritis or hallux rigidus deformity greater than 20 degrees.

With over 40 years of experience in podiatry, Dr. Josef J. Geldwert and his team have done it all—cheilectomies, hemiarthroplasties, total joint replacements, and arthrodesis. Our patients receive a full set of options to best serve their needs and will receive the personalized treatment necessary to fully address their unique concerns.

You can read more about the Cartiva toe implants on our blog or on the manufacturer’s website. To make an appointment and try the revolutionary Cartiva treatment yourself, contact us today.