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Questions for the Experts: What are the options for great toe arthritis?

Questions for the Experts: What are the options for great toe arthritis?

We asked members of our medical staff to answer some common questions they hear from their patients.

Q: What are the options for great toe arthritis?

A: Great toe arthritis is one of the more common problems that I see. We often start patients on special inserts or shoe modifications. If this fails, there are some successful surgical options.

For early arthritis, this may include a procedure that involves debriding or shaving down some the arthritic portions of the joint. Great toe fusion, for more severe arthritis, has been used for many years. This is done with a special plate and screw system. Patients can still do most of their activities after this surgery, but running may be a little bit more difficult.

More recently there has been an interesting innovation to treat great toe arthritis. This is called Cartiva. It is an implant that involves not fusing the great toe joint, but providing an artificial buffer using a material that is the same as in contact lenses.

The surgery is fairly fast with a good recovery, and we are able to restore and maintain joint mobility without needed to fuse the joint.