Cartiva Synthetic Cartilage Implant – Treatment for Big Toe Arthritis Offered at Mercy in Baltimore


Mercy Medical Center was the first hospital in Maryland to offer the Cartiva synthetic cartilage implant, a new surgical treatment for arthritis of the big toe, also known as hallux rigidus.

The Cartiva synthetic cartilage implant is an alternative to toe fusion surgery. It provides reduced pain with the added benefit of preservation of movement within the joint.

What is the Synthetic Cartilage Implant for big toe arthritis?

The Cartiva synthetic cartilage implant is a small cylindrical plug which is inserted between the two sides of the arthritic joint providing a durable, low-friction surface for the big toe to move with less pain. With similar properties to actual cartilage, the synthetic material replaces part of the damaged cartilage in the toe joint.

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Why have Synthetic Cartilage Implant Surgery instead of toe fusion?

Toe fusions are known to reduce pain in the joint, however, after a toe fusion the patient is no longer able to move or bend the joint, which can affect everyday activities like walking and balancing.

The synthetic cartilage implant surgery is a minimally invasive procedure. It reduces pain and also allows patients to retain movement in the big toe joint. Recent research studies have shown that the reduction in pain is similar in both toe fusion and synthetic implant surgery.

Additionally, synthetic cartilage implant surgery allows the patient to walk on the foot much sooner. With no cast required, the patient can bear weight on the foot almost immediately.

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Who is eligible for the Cartiva Synthetic Cartilage Implant Surgery?

Big toe arthritis (hallux rigidus) is the most common arthritic condition of the foot. It can be very painful and hinder activities like walking and running. 

Patients who experience persistent pain in the joint and limited motion should consult with an orthopedic foot and ankle specialist. If these symptoms are not improved with non-surgical interventions the patient may be a candidate for the Cartiva synthetic cartilage implant surgery.

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Patient Stories
The Institute for Foot and Ankle Reconstruction at Mercy - Baltimore, MD


Marilyn loves being out of pain and back to long walks and yoga after big toe arthritis surgery with Dr. Clifford Jeng. 

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