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Hallux Rigidus (Cartiva)

Hallux Rigidus may develop due to big toe joint overuse in workers who squat & stoop, or athletes who put too much pressure on the joints.

Hallux Rigidus

Are you afraid of losing your big toe mobility and eventually an active lifestyle? Is the pain in your big toe at a point where you can’t even lie on a bed with a sheet over your foot affecting your daily activities? If you are experiencing this level of pain, you may suffer from Hallux Rigidus.

When Hallux Rigidus advances to a point where your big toe cartilage erodes, everything you do with your feet becomes increasingly tricky and painful. You can’t engage in walking, sports and even household or social activities.


What Causes Hallux Rigidus And Why Does My Big Toe Hurt All the Time?

Hallux Rigidus (also is known as big toe joint arthritis) is caused by an acute traumatic or repetitive microtrauma event, which in turn leads to an arthritic process around the big toe joint. It causes pain and stiffness in the joint where your foot joins the big toe known as the first metatarsophalangeal joint.

Your big toes hold up to 50 – 60% of your body weight when you are walking, or up to 100% of your body weight when doing vigorous exercise. This pressure is what causes your joint to wear down, leading to painful big toe arthritis – Hallux Rigidus.

The condition gets worse and often progresses over time – toe motion decreases, making standing, walking or exercising painful. It could impact your lifestyle and take away your lifestyle.

Hallux Rigidus may develop due to big toe joint overuse – for instance, workers who have to squat and stoop or athletes who put too much pressure on their joints. Other times, it might occur after an injury around the joint – such as spraining the joint or stubbing the toe.

Some people inherit a way of walking or a flat foot that might stress the big toe joint cartridge. In other cases, inflammatory diseases such as gout, rheumatoid arthritis and or Osteoarthritis (wear and tear arthritis) change the way the big toe and the foot function.


A revolutionary treatment for people suffering from big toe arthritis pain is Cartiva Surgery. It’s one of the most advanced treatments for the late-stage big toe arthritis.

Before Cartiva Surgery, the other options for the surgeons and patients were to fuse the joint that leads to complete loss of motion at the big toe joint. Although the procedure was still effective in relieving the pain, patients lost the mobility of the big toe making walking and wearing certain shoes a little tricky – and their active lifestyle too.

But today, you don’t have to lose your toe functionality. Thanks to Cartiva Surgery.


Surgery is advised if non-surgical treatment fails.

Do I need Cartiva Surgery?

If pain and stiffness persist and standard treatment such as footwear, injections and orthotics do not improve your symptoms, you may need to consider big toe surgery. The surgery will be the only way to eliminate the pain.

When you consult a foot surgeon, they will take into consideration the deformity on your feet, your age, and the level of your activity before deciding on surgery, administering the Cartiva procedure to your big toe.

Am I a candidate for Cartiva Surgery?

Unfortunately not everyone with arthritis in the big toe joint (1st MPJ) is a candidate for Cartiva surgery. During your consultation, Dr Kim will assess your big toe joint and discuss what treatment options are available. If you are not a candidate for Cartiva surgery, Dr Kim will still offer alternative treatment option.

What is Cartiva Surgery?

Cartiva surgery is a synthetic cartilage implant. It’s designed to replace your damaged cartilage. The new implant consists of durable, biocompatible and slippery organic polymer that has the same functionalities to natural cartilage.

Cartiva implant is designed to withstand loading and reduce any chances of systematic irritation.

The surgery is quick and safe. Cartiva procedure takes approximately 60 minutes. Dr Kim (Specialist Podiatric Surgeon in Brisbane and the Gold Coast) will replace your damaged cartilage with a new Cartiva synthetic cartilage implant.

Cartiva Surgery has had great success in America since July 2016. The procedure has recorded a 97% success rate.

In the level 1 study, the Cartiva synthetic cartilage implant increases big toe motion by 175% while reducing the pain by 97%. After a Cartiva implant procedure, you will be back to walking and enjoying a pain-free lifestyle – you will feel young again.

How Long Will the Cartiva Synthetic Cartilage Implant Last?

A lifetime. You can also remove or replace the Cartiva implant whenever you wish without any complication.

Cartiva is designed to last a lifetime and there have not been cases in the literature reported that patients require replacement of Cartiva yet.

Get Your Life Back Today

If your big toe is holding back your life, it’s time to seek treatment.

Any surgical or invasive procedure carries risks. Before proceeding, you should seek a second opinion from an appropriately qualified health practitioner.

Podiatric Surgeon Dr Kim is the leading surgeon for Ankle and Foot Surgery in Brisbane and Gold Coast, contact him today to see if you are a good candidate for Cartiva surgery.

No referral needed

Contact Us

A GP referral is welcome however it is not essential for your appointment


Dr Ji Soo Kim (Specialist Podiatric Surgeon) BPodM, DClinPod, FFPM RCPS(Glasg)

Book Appointment

Dr Kim has two offices, one located in Kelvin Grove, Brisbane. The other is in Southport, Gold Coast.

Please call 1300 522 096

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