Toe implant is designed to reduce pain and allow movement
Friday, February 1, 2019

by Liz Bonis WKRC

Watch the full interview here.

CINCINNATI (WKRC) – Local doctors are among the first in the nation to use breakthrough technology to reduce foot pain.

The new tech can literally keep you “on your toes!”

It's an implant that allows you to reduce joint pain in your toes and still allow the joint to move.

Right now, for many, it's an alternative to a “fusion.”

But as foot and ankle surgeons at OrthoCincy say, there are a few things to know to step into a healthy future.

Cartiva is a synthetic implant made “toe-tally” in the USA. It's made from materials compatible with your own body.

“It falls along similar materials as a contact lens, it's known as a hydrogel,” said Dr. Nick Gates of OrthoCincy.

Dr. Nick Gates is an orthopedic surgeon specializing in foot and ankle surgery. He says right now it's FDA-cleared for use in the U.S. in the big toe.

“It functions as replacement cartilage if you will, so if you have arthritis and have lost cartilage, this implant is synthetic implant to replace cartilage,” said Dr. Gates.

The implant is placed inside the toe. Dr. Gates says it's designed to reduce pain and still allow the foot to maintain natural movement.

Dr. Gates says it's not a one size fits all. “The best candidate for this procedure is someone who has moderate arthritis in their big toe,” said Dr. Gates.

He says while it's great to have an alternative for a fusion, which limits movement, "Cartiva fits where it fits and is a good option for certain patients, but it’s not a catch all, it doesn't replace other procedures it’s in addition to but it has to be in the right selected patients,” said Dr. Gates.

Studies two to five years out show good pain relief and function. In other countries it's also in trials for use in other joints such as the thumb and the ankle.