The most common type of foot arthritis is at the base of the big toe. Traditional treatments involve replacing worn out cartilage with a metal implant or fusing bones together. These treatments don't always allow patients to regain full range of motion and can lead to a long recovery, but the FDA has approved a new way to keep the joint flexible.
Dr. Baravarian said, “toe arthritis can be caused by an injury or improper foot mechanics. When you step, your big toe handles up to about 50 percent of a person's body weight. After jamming the joint for years, overtime, you can develop arthritis of the joint."
But now, Dr. Baravarian can offer a new option: a synthetic cartilage implant that is very similar to cartilage in density and stiffness.
"We make a small drill hole in the bone, and then the implant is fitted into the bone," said Dr. Baravarian.
Patients have to wear a protective boot for about two weeks post surgery. But once the incision heals (usually about three weeks), they can go back to wearing regular shoes.
In recent FDA clinical trials, researchers reported an 80 percent success rate.