Your toes' joints are uniquely designed for movement — especially the big toe, which provides most of the propulsive force needed for walking and running. Unlike fusion, which locks the joint in place, Cartiva allows your joint to move how it's supposed to, so you retain your mobility and range of motion.
The physical properties of Cartiva© make it an excellent replacement for damaged articular cartilage. The device is composed of an organic polymer-based material consisting of 40% polyvinyl alcohol (PVA) and saline (0.9%).
With a high water content similar to surrounding healthy cartilage combined with its elastic and compressive mechanical properties, Cartiva represents an ideal replacement for a joint's damaged cartilage. The material has also been shown to resist compression and shear with exceptional wear characteristics.
The device is cylindrical in shape and is for use during a single surgical procedure, where its placement addresses focal articular defects. Joint resurfacing with Cartiva is simple, does not require significant removal of healthy tissue, and typically results in nominal surgical trauma and rapid recovery.
Cartiva Implant Surgery
What to expect with your surgery
The day of the surgery
Your podiatric surgeon will visit with you and answer any additional questions you may have prior to your surgery. You will also meet with the anesthesiologist to discuss what type of anesthesia you will have for the surgery. A nurse will typically start an IV, so the anesthesiologist can administer any necessary medication during the procedure. If this is the only procedure being done on your foot, the surgery takes approximately 1 hour. Your doctor will numb your foot before and/or after the surgery and will give you a prescription for a pain-relieving medication. You will also be given detailed instructions on how to care for your foot.
Most of the pain and inflammation from the surgery will be during week 1. It is very important to wear your surgical shoe at all times and to elevate and rest your foot as much as possible. You will leave your bandages on your foot and you should not get your foot wet. When you return to the office for your first appointment, your doctor will take x-rays and change the dressing. Sutures are not typically taken out at this point.
There is usually less pain and inflammation during this week. You will continue to wear your surgical shoe and keep your foot dry. Activity may generally be increased slightly depending on how much inflammation is present. At the second week appointment, your doctor will usually take out your sutures and you will likely be able to get your foot wet again.
You may start to wear a tennis shoe or similar. Activity can usually be increased to tolerance. Your doctor will have you start aggressive range of motion exercises of the big toe joint.
Week 8 and longer
Most of the inflammation should start to resolve at week 8. Although the majority of patients may begin to get back to their regular activities at this point, some may have swelling and/or pain that may persist longer. Activity should be increased as tolerated.