Big toe arthritis is a common condition that typically affects the 1st metatarsophalangeal (MTP) joint. This frequently leads to pain and swelling in this area, and difficulty ‘pushing off’ when mobilising. Many women find it unmanageable to wear high heels due to limited motion of that joint. Thankfully, a new technique has recently become available in Australia.
Traditionally, end stage arthritis of this joint has been managed by a fusion procedure to help alleviate pain. This involves joining up the bones of the 1st MTP joint to eliminate the painful arthritis. While this is a very successful procedure, and still the treatment of choice for certain patients, a new technique has been developed for this condition. Introducing ‘Cartiva’.
‘Cartiva’ is a synthetic hydrogel cap made from a similar material to the contact lens’ that people wear to replace glasses. This ‘cap’ is embedded within the arthritic 1st MTP joint to help separate the arthritic bones from each other. One of the huge potentials of this procedure, is that people are able to have the best of both worlds. Pain relief, and an improvement in range of motion.
This technique has been extensively studied in the UK and Canada, with excellent 5 year results. Only recently becoming available in Australia, this is certainly a product that I am very excited to now be able to offer my patients.