Hallux Rigidus Surgeon

Have you been diagnosed with hallux rigidus, a condition affecting the big toe? If so, you may qualify for Cartiva® SCI, a specialized surgical procedure which replaces damaged cartilage in the toe. Cartiva® SCI was designed to treat hallux rigidus and involves the placement of a synthetic impact to act as new cartilage in the toe. Complex foot surgeon, Doctor Thomas Haytmanek has years of experience diagnosing and treating patients in Vail, Aspen, and the surrounding Denver, Colorado communities who experience pain due to hallux rigidus. Contact Dr. Haytmanek’s team today!

Dr. Haytmanek

What is Cartiva® SCI?

Are you experiencing pain and stiffness in your big toe? You may have hallux rigidus, commonly known as arthritis in the big toe. When non-surgical treatment options have failed, or in cases of severe big toe arthritis, our specialists may recommend Cartiva® SCI. The Cartiva® SCI is designed to replace the damaged cartilage surface in the big toe to help reduce pain and increase joint mobility at a faster recovery rate than a fusion.

Where does arthritis occur in the big toe?

The big toe joint is known as the hallux metatarsal phalangeal or MTP joint. The MTP joint connects the metatarsal (first foot bone) with the proximal phalanx (base of the first toe bone) and the two sesamoids underneath the head of the metatarsal. The MTP joint plays a crucial role during gait.

What is Hallux Rigidus?

Hallux rigidus is arthritis in the big toe. Hallux rigidus is the most common arthritic condition found in the foot. This condition typically develops in adults between the ages of 30 and 60 years old. Females are more commonly affected than males. Symptoms include pain in the big toe, especially when pushing off during walking and running. Other symptoms include swelling, stiffness. and the inability to bend the big toe up or down easily. In some cases, a bump can develop on top of the big toe joint, which can be aggravated by rubbing against the inside of the shoe.

How is Hallux Rigidus diagnosed?

In many cases, hallux rigidus can be determined in a physical examination of the foot. During the physical exam, our specialists will move the MTP joint up and down to see how much mobility occurs without pain. The amount of pain and mobility will help indicate if arthritis is present in the big toe. X-rays can help determine the extent of the joint degeneration and show the exact location and size of any bone spurs.

What is the best treatment for Hallux Rigidus?

When non-surgical measures such as oral/topical anti-inflammatory medicines, ice or heat, stiff soled shoes with a rocker bottom, modification of activity or joint injections do not reduce pain and stiffness, surgical measures may be recommended. For patients with severe arthritis in the big toe, our specialists may recommend the Cartiva® SCI.

What is the Cartiva® Synthetic Cartilage Implant (SCI)?

The Cartiva® SCI is a synthetic implant that is made of a soft plastic-like substance (polyvinyl alcohol) and salt water (saline). These materials are molded into a solid, smooth and durable implant that serves as a replacement for the damaged cartilage surface of the big toe.

The Cartiva® SCI is performed as an outpatient procedure. The procedure begins through a small cut in the top of the toe, which will open the big toe joint. Bone spurs created by arthritis of the big toe are removed from around the joint to provide access. The Cartiva® SCI is then placed into the joint providing a smooth, load-bearing surface that restores the joint anatomy. The implant stays in place without the use of cement or glue.

Cartiva® SCI Implant

Cartiva® SCI
Big Toe Implant

What to Expect After a Cartiva® SCI Procedure?

The foot will be protected with a post-op shoe for a few weeks after the surgery. This ensures that the wounds heal and pain is managed. Crutches will be used for the first few weeks as well to provide assistance with return of gait.

As opposed to a fusion, patients can expect a quicker recovery following Cartiva® SCI. The weight-bearing process begins much quicker than it would with a fusion. Physical therapy will be prescribed to help patients establish a normal gait following the procedure.

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