Great toe joint partial replacement (1st MTP hemi-implant)
The partial great toe joint replacement is designed to take away as little of your natural tissue and bone as possible but give you reduced pain and improved motion of the joint. It is an alternative to joint destructive procedures such as fusion of the joint (where the joint motion is completely taken away).
Joint cartilage cannot be re-grown and when the cartilage is gone, the body does not replace it properly. Loss of joint cartilage is also known as arthritis. There has been a lot of research into re-growing or cloning cartilage but scientists say that this technology is at least 15 years away from being a reality.
The partial great toe joint replacement system is indicated for those patients between the ages of 40 and 60 in general and is an intermediate step to avoid joint fusion. This procedure allows for being more active with reduced pain and improved motion. The implant is made of titanium and the risk of allergy or issues with the implant are very rare.
The recovery time for this procedure is about 6-8 weeks and there are several phases. Phase 1 is the week following surgery where the patient is on pain medication and is not allowed to bear weight. The foot must be elevated 23 hours a day to avoid significant swelling. Icing is also important during this time. It is normal to have some significant pain during this phase.
Phase 2 is 3-4 weeks long and is where the patient has increased mobility and is allowed to walk in a special shoe that does not put pressure on the surgical site. Once the incision is healed (which is at about the 3 week mark following surgery) the patient is allowed to wash the foot.
Phase 3 is at the 4-6 week mark after surgery and this is where non weight bearing physical therapy is done. Therapy is essential to a good result and is centered on moving the great toe joint to avoid stiffness and the pain that comes with it. The therapist will increase the motion in increments.
Phase 4 is at the 6-8 week mark and this is where weight bearing physical therapy is done. Therapy becomes more aggressive during this phase to return the patient to full activity.
It is important to remember that this timeline is general and patients heal at different rates. It is expected that the patient will return to pre surgery activity by the 3 month mark following surgery provided there are no complications.
Call us today to discuss whether partial great toe joint replacement is right for you
Eric Silvers, DPM
Dustin Lloyd, DPM
Christopher WItt, DPM