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Most of us take our toes for granted, but if they stop working properly, they can have a widespread impact on our health.
There is an option other than fusion that can help relieve the chronic pain of toe joint arthritis.
Fifty-Nine-year-old Brian Bonsignore spent 25 years with the New York Fire Department. His last assignment was the most grueling of his career. He supervised what’s known as the GPS unit recovering 9/11 victims and marking each location with a GPS tag.
“The government wanted to know where the body part or human remains were found,”
The team spent eight months scouring the piles of rubble that remained at Ground Zero.
“It takes a toll on your knees, your legs, your joints. It takes a toll on every part of your body,” says Bonsignore.
But it was the arthritis he developed in his big toe as a result that led brian to Doctor Ettore Vulcano.
Ettore Vulcano, M.D,, Orthopaedic Surgeon at Mount Sinai, West says, “Now the gold standard for treating this condition has been, and still is, fusion.”
Fusing the bones in his toe would eliminate pain, but also limit the range of motion. That’s why Brian opted for surgery to insert a cushion in between the toe bones. It’s called cartiva.
“It’s a synthetic cartilage plug. It’s made of a material similar to that used for contact lenses,” Vulcano says.
Doctor Vulcano made an incision in the top of the toe, drilled a small hole in the joint, then slid the insert into place. The procedure took 30 minutes. Brian was up and moving in just a few days.
“Just enjoying my feet and walking around without any pain,” says Bonsignore
Doctor Vulcano says Cartiva is a good option for patients with end-stage arthritis in their big toes.
If Cartiva doesn’t relieve the pain, fusion is still an option.