Patient Guide to Toe Arthritis

toe joint painA small group of expert surgeons who together have performed more than 1000 surgical procedures since 2005 using the Toe HemiCAP® System were recently asked to share their experience in form of a survey.

The group included male and female orthopaedic (MD) and podiatric surgeons (DPM) who were in practice performing foot and ankle surgery for more than 17 years on average. Together, their expertise is based on over 100 years diagnosing and treating patients with foot and ankle problem

Surgeons were asked about their experience with the Toe HemiCAP and ToeMotion implants, as well as different toe fusion systems. Their response provided insight into the

  • Return to work and activity
  • Pain relief and functional improvements
  • Length of the procedure and hospital stay
  • Typical recovery with physiotherapy and rehabilitation

If you are considering surgery as an option for the treatment of painful toe arthritis, this survey may provide additional information to help you make an informed decision. It may also be helpful in guiding you towards a series of questions you may want to ask your doctor before deciding on the course of your treatment.

toe joint surgery

109 responses to “Patient Guide to Toe Arthritis

  1. I have surgery next month for my foot. I am 57 years old and have severe ostioarthritus and bone spurs. My other foot has it too, but one foot at a time.
    My Dr. Is Dr. Hoey, in Guleph. I’m hoping for a recovery so I can go on walks and have no more foot pain and swelling.
    This problem keeps me from working.

  2. Hi I had toe replacement surgery on left big toe in Dec 2014 and am just recovering from surgery after having right toe done in May 2016. My left foot is pain free and movement is amazing – a very successful procedure to date. Just wearing airboot for a few months waiting for right foot to recover but I am very excited about my future and am looking forward to joining a walking club. I had porcelain joints put in both and very impressed with results, which has given me my mobility back – I am nearly 54 but still young and not ready to give up my busy active life yet.

  3. I’m going for X-ray on Monday to see if I have arthritis in my little toe and side of foot, the pain is so sore, and feels hot inside all the time.

  4. I suffer with patio arthritis at the moment in agony with my foot doctors are treating it as gout and put me on a course is steroids the swelled is still there and still in a lot of pain what do you think.

  5. Hello. I have hallux rigidus in my big toe and a bone spur. I have been limiting the pain by using a combination of rocker shoes and a carbon fiber plate in my “regular” shoes. After viewing x-rays, my ortho said there there was still a reasonable gap in the joint and wanted to see an MRI before deciding on surgery (still waiting on the MRI result). He said that given my level of discomfort and if the MRI confirmed surgery was in order, we could do a fusion. However, a friend of mine just had a titanium implant procedure done by his ortho—after three other orthos recommended fusion. I am thinking my ortho does not do the HemiCAP procedure but will ask him. At the very least, I am inclined to get a second opinion before I have the fusion done. Perhaps the implant procedure will give me better flexibility and allow me to me more active going forward (I am an active 60 year old). Any thoughts? Thank you

  6. Hi Bill! Yes, we would be happy to recommend some surgeons in your area who are trained and use HemiCAP Toe implants. Some surgeons still only use fusion plates which leaves the patient with little to no movement in the joint. Email us at if you have additional questions.

  7. I am having joint replacement with Dr. SanGiovanni on Tuesday in Miami. I flew here from Denver because I wanted someone who helped with the design of the joint and has put in a bunch.

    I injured my toe in 2008 in karate. I reinjured it too many times to count. Tons of injections (steroid, PRP, Stem), 2 surgeries (cheilectomy and second scope debridement with Dr. Ferkel of the Southern California Orthopedic Institute). My toe always hurts. The scope revealed I am bone on bone.

    I am 41. I don’t want to fuse my toe. If this product is a game changer, I can’t wait to sing it’s praises. After surgery, it is a great possibility my toe won’t hurt anymore.

    I hope to be a big spokesperson for the produce. I am an attorney in Denver and have a 5 year old who wants to play soccer with her dad!

  8. Hi Brian – That’s wonderful! Dr. San Giovanni is wonderful and will take great care of you. We wish you the best of luck with your surgery! (And safe travels!)

  9. My husband, age 57, had left toe chilectomy about a year ago. Not very successful and looking for a doctor in or around Tampa, Florida
    Who has expertise in hemicap implant. He has right shoulder issues even worse, and thanks to your website, was fortunate enough to
    Find Dr. Richard Cain with Bay Care Medical Group in Tampa who participates with his Cigna healthcare plan. We are seeing him on Jan.
    9th. Also, my husband, Brian, would like to know if the hemicap can go through an MRI?

  10. Hola, mi edad es 32 años y tengo HALLUX RIGIDUS, en octubre 2015 me hicieron la primera artroplastia y en octubre 2016, nuevamente me hicieron una artroplastia, pero no funcionaron las operaciones.

    Quiero información de la prótesis HEMICAP. Vivo en México y quisiera saber dónde pueden colocarme una prótesis, ¿en qué país?

    Agradezco su atención.

  11. Hello, my age is 32 and I have HALLUX RIGIDUS, in October 2015 I had the first arthroplasty and in October 2016, I had an arthroplasty again, but the operations did not work.

    I want information about the HEMICAP prosthesis. I live in Mexico and would like to know where they can put a prosthesis, in which country?

    Thank you for your attention.

  12. Hello Brian, Was wondering if you had the surgery? I currently am strongly considering a joint replacement. My previous stem cell and cheilectomy I am not happy with. My toe joint feels fused. I am 46 and like to be active. My toe is so stiff, I cannot get my foot into snowboard boots.

  13. Only had chilectomy, which did not work either. Have to address right shoulder issues first with a dr. Cain in Tampa, Monday
    The 9th. Good luck. Let me know how it goes. Brian in Clearwater, Fl.

  14. Hello, I’m a very active and healthy retiree with a moderate bunion that shows mild degenerative changes, yet the joint is very flexible and completely free of pain. Second toe has a rigid hammertoe and it’s a real nuisance with footwear. Orthopedic surgeon wants to fuse my great toe fusion and shorten and fuse the second toe. My research indicates that these are last resort procedures that will limit my mobility. I’d like to have a consultation with a surgeon who uses Arthrosurface procedures before agreeing to more drastic measures. Are Toe HemiCAP or KissLOC systems a possibility with my two issues? I live in a rural area and would appreciate advice re: doctors who successfully use your systems. Thanks!

  15. How did the toe surgery with athurosurface work? Husband had very successful hemi-cap shoulder replacement one week ago. Doing extremely well. Amazed! Did much research before we decided on this device and surgeon. You can find surgeons in your area that are trained
    In this procedure on athurosurface website. This case 58 year old very active male spear fisherman and ultrasound tech with bone on bone
    Due to lost cartilage, Severe osteoarthritis.

  16. Hello, my 53 yo wife had cheilectomy of left big toe 2015, had continued pain and swelling 1 year later. Nov 2016 given steroid injection which provided no relief in pain or swelling. Today X-ray shows total loss of cartilage in MTG joint with a possible cyst on the base of the toe, waiting MRI results. Podiatrist recommending Hemi-cap titanium joint replacement. Should we get another opinion from ortho? Did steroid cause cartilage loss? Diagnosed with hallux limitus/arthritis mild. She’s in pain all day everyday. Hoping for the best recommendation for sustained relief

  17. Don’t do it!! I had this surgery 6 years ago and it has never been back to a normal toe. Went to Mayo and now I have to get the implant taken out. It never should have been put in!! So unhappy and my toe always hurts!!

  18. We are sorry to hear you are less than satisfied with your Arthrosurface implant. As you know, there are many factors that contribute to a successful outcome. As the medical device manufacturer, Arthrosurface is required to document any customer complaint that alleges deficiencies related to service or the identity, quality, durability, reliability, safety, effectiveness, or performance of the device. Should you believe your case involves any such deficiencies, please contact All customer complaints are reviewed for reporting to FDA.

    Additionally, we have a Find a Doctor database on our website should you require additional clinical feedback.
    All our best, Arthrosurface

  19. Hi Francis,

    I am obtaining opinions from Doctors who have offered full joint replacement for my big toe, Just looking to speak with someone who has had this procedure done. Could you please call me at
    610-636-1815 and speak with me about your surgery.

    thank you

  20. Hi Brian,

    how did your surgery go with the joint replacement. I am considering one my self, would love to speak with you 610-636-1815

    thank you

  21. Hello! My doc firmly suggested I have Big toe MTP DJP surgery because it’s too far gone. Walking on outside of foot and recently had a bad sprain and 2 broken metarsal bones on 4 and 5 toes.4th and 5th MT Stress.
    Lateral Column Overload, KS First MTP Fusion.
    The Doctor’s name is Dr. Judah Pifer in Prescott, AZ
    Does he use your products?

  22. I had this implant put in 6 years ago in Fort Worth by Dr Carpenter. I have perfect motion, no pain, and compete in triathlons. Having this done for me was a great decision.

  23. Hello,
    I just got diagnosed with Hallux rigidus/ limitus. Doctor said I have severe arthritis with bone spurs and will need joint replacements in both feet.
    Is there a doctor in the area of Louisiana that can do this type of joint replacement surgery.
    Thank you

  24. Like the others, I have a bone spur (arthritis and no cartilage). Two podiatrists recommended fusion but I am reluctant to do that since I play competitive tennis and golf. I am looking for a doctor who does toe replacement in the Boston area

  25. Having the joint replacement in October..I am on my feet all day and wondering approx. time needed to be off work after the surgery..
    Are crutches needed in the first few days? I appreciate any feedback as I am quite nervous for the surgery.

  26. I broke my right foot a couple of years ago…my big toe wasn’t attached to my foot…ouch…I had a joint fusion…well it’s not working out very good…is it possible for me to have either titanium or porcelain implant surgery on it now? I walk over the top of my foot or on the side…especially painful when I walk barefoot on my oak floors…or am I doomed?

  27. Hi Karen, We sent you an email a few weeks ago with additional information. Please let us know if you did not receive it.

  28. Hi Melissa, We sent you an email a few weeks ago with additional information. Please let us know if you did not receive it.

  29. Hello,
    I live in Maryland. I have arthritis in the big toe joint from a trauma. I had a bunionecty 5 year ago. I want to wear high heels and play tennis. Can you recommend a Doctor in the DC area and a surgical procedure?

  30. Hello!

    I have Halluxe rigidus in left toe since I was 35 and my right since I was 55. I am 59 now, living in Sweden. Pls help me find a really god doctor in Europe. Or you only have in the USA? Pls let me know. Thank you and best regards.

  31. I have osteoarthritis in both big toes. The right foot is much worse.
    I am also a professional golfer and, needless to say, this condition is limiting my ability to play considerably.
    Will your treatment allow me to continue playing golf?

  32. My name is Sandy had to have surgery for hammer toe on Rt foot in 2010 because of pain in bottom of foot at toe area didn’t help left by toe much shorter and flaccid than started having trouble with toes overlapping had another surgery in 2012 for Bunionectomy and for something that would help with my toes overlapping did good but my second toe remained flaccid was dx with rheumatoid arthritis I fell about 1yr ago now the big toe is turning so bad that very painful to wear any shoes seen the physician who did prior surgery said nothing could be done except get shoe inserts did paid 300 but they are of no help getting worse is there anything that can be done and if so can you recommend a physician

  33. Hi Brian
    Was it a success I am due to have this surgery soon and feeling very nervous but excited at the same time as I want to get back to normality after four years of pain and one failed procedure already
    Thanks for sharing

  34. I am trying to find a dr in my area. I see a list on your site. but I am looking for someone who has done quite a few of these since I have had so many complications on my toe in the past. my pain started with a bunion surgery that caused scaring and joint damage. I don’t want to do a surgery that can make this any worse. I have constant pain in my toe and it impacts my life every day. I try to stay very active but am sick of the pain. The only option in the past I was given was fusion. I live in Ct but would be willing to travel to boston or ny if there is someone very knowledgeable there.

  35. Its been 3months after having big toe joint replacement (HemiCAP) and bone spurs removed and I’m still having pain when I walk and unable to wear shoes. How long does it take to recover? Note that 75% of my cartilage was gone, I had osteoarthritis really bad in my toe (which that pain I believe is totally gone since the surgery) and part of my bone broke off when they were installing the HemiCAP.

    The pain I’m experiencing is not the same pain I had prior to surgery, but in any case I can barley walk and I was in a boot for 2 months.

  36. I had a Biopro toe joint implant last year on my left toe. I am happy with it but it did take a whole year to be pain free. I just had my right one done three days ago and it’s coming along ok. I have a big black boot on it, which keeps me off my toes, but other than sore muscles from getting up out of my chair and pain from the surgery, I think I am doing fine.
    I couldn’t find shoes to fit, was having trouble sleeping and standing.

  37. Hi
    I am an active male 64 years old. I have suffered with big toe joint pain for over a year in both toes especially after tennis and while walking. The podiatrist Surgeon that I consulted recommends cheilectomy on both joints; the orthopedic surgeon i consulted recommends Cartiva implants for both toes. Neither mentioned the option of an arthrosurface implant. It seems that the Cartiva implant is being touted as the “new & improved” procedure. The testimonials that I have read on the internet are not very inspiring for any of the procedures and I am very concerned that my condition after surgery may be worse than my current condition which still allows me to play tennis and walk. I have become accustomed to the pain and do many stretches etc. The purpose of surgery would be to eliminate the pain and allow me to continue to play tennis and walk for the next 15 years. Do you have any information that can help me decide

  38. Hi Anne, we’re sorry to hear about your continued pain. We just sent you an email, let us know if you did not receive it.

  39. Hi, Iam am looking for a doctor who has done several of the toe implant surgery,as I have Hallux Ridgidusvin my big toe. I live in Duluth MN . Ideally, I’d like to find a doctor in Duluth with experience with this but I am willing to travel North or to the Twin cities area if needed. Thanks.

  40. Hi,
    I am looking to resolve my first MTP joint post-injury osteoarthritis, and I’d like to know how the Hemi-Cap, Cartiva implant, joint resection arthroplasty, and cheilectomy compare. I am extremely active– my career depends on it– and I’m trying to decide which to do when, what steps are irrevocable, and whether I can indefinitely delay surgery (and hence my career life-span) with steroid injections. So yeah, I need a comparee and contrast worksheet, I guess, as does any patient facing these decisions. Can you point me to either a patient- or provider- information resource? Medline, NIH, anybody?

  41. I recieved an email saying someone would contact me with a list of doctors in my area, but I never got it and this was several months ago.

  42. I am 55yrs old and diagnosed Level 3 Hallux Rigidus, doctor said either fusion or HemiCAP. Do no want to lose range of motion.
    Could you please provide doctor info who have done many of HemiCAP surgeries?
    Located in Torrance, CA area.
    Thank you

  43. I had the HemiCAP surgery performed in Oct 2017. My pain currently is worse than pre-surgery. I’m am very active 61 year old involved in several sports. Surgeon is now suggesting a second surgery to remove scar tissue (claiming that is cause of pain). I’m losing trust in this Doctor. Not sure what I’m going to do. Im exploring options. Please do your homework before blindly agreeing to the HemiCAP procedure.

  44. Tom
    I am sorry to read you are not doing well. I am considering the HemiCap as an option. I am not sure what type of research to do before I make this decisions. what recommendation might you have? has it gotten any better for you?

    did you surgeon have a lot of experience doing this?
    I hope things are better.

  45. I had the hemi implant surgery in 2012 and it’s been a disaster. The change in my foot caused severe metatarsalgia leading to an osteotomy of my second and third metatarsals…needless to say , I was an active 52 year old and now I can’t put my foot in the floor without any pain…never mind run anymore.

  46. Hi Kim,

    How did your surgery go? Are you happy with the results? Did you have the HemiCap procedure done? I just had my right big toe fused because I was told there was no other option, then I started reading about Arthrosurface and wished I could have had this done. I am not a proponent of fusion. Please let me know your thoughts. Thank you, Darren.

  47. Hi Cathy,
    We’re sorry to hear about your continued toe pain. Can you please send us an email with your date of surgery and your surgeon’s name ( Thank you!

  48. Hello, I have had 12 surgeries on my right foor, including3 joint replacements of the big toe and screws placed in the second and third toes to keep them aligned. I have had foot pain for so many years that I can’t remember what it was like to be pain-free…i am a health care provider and am always on my feet. Is there any hope for ever being able to walk again without so much pain? My last surgery was one year ago…please help!

  49. Hi Robin,
    As a medical device company, we are not able to give advice or diagnosis. Only a surgeon would be able to assist you. If you have any specific questions pertaining to our implants or if you would like a list of surgeons in your area who have experience with our implants, please send us an email at
    Best of luck!

  50. Hi, I amm 37 and a year and a half I had an injury in my big toe, of my left foot but in the joint of the top of my toe. Surgeons had only recommend me fusion of the joint or osteothomy. And others tell me that the joint replacements are not so good, cause they don’t attach well. I want to know if you can give me the data of a distributor in Mexico, so I can ask directly for surgeons that have experience using Arthrosurface. Thanks!

  51. I am 18 and I am getting the hemicap toe replacement done. I was wondering if you knew what doctors were in my area. I’m in Oregon.

  52. I have had severe pain in my right big toe. All Dr I have spoken to want to fuse! I am very active in CrossFit and wanted that to be the very last option. Can you tell me if there are Dr in my area that would do something besides wanting to go right to fusing?

  53. I had this done too Six months ago. Still waiting for the pain to go away with every step. Any idea how long this healing process will take? Feels like a flat rock is attached to the bottom of my joint.

  54. Hi
    Recently I enquired about any surgeons in Canberra, Australia, who use hemicap for the big toe. The Aussie supplier contacted me and gave me the name of a surgeon who specialises in this, but is in Port Macquarie, NSW. She said she’d send me the names of Canberra surgeons who have done a bit of this but not specialised like the main surgeon. However I’m still yet to hear from them.

    In a nutshell, I had 1st MTP fusion on both large toes. My right foot, 6mths down the track, is still not fusing properly, and I am in constant pain. The left one is also still painful.

    But in my opinion, the positioning of my toe, particularly in my right foot, is wrong. It seems he’s positioned my toe in a way that it hits the ground first, and my small toes actually don’t until I roll outwards. And it looks different as well.

    This constant rolling outwards is causing me knee and hip pain, and I’m just exhausted with the constant pain and odd way of walking by the mid afternoon.

    So can hemicap be used in this instance?
    Would also appreciate if you could let me know if the other Canberra surgeons, as well as Queensland?

    Thank you.

  55. Hi Brian,
    Could you please tell us about your results? I have an 18 year old daughter who has been suffering. She has had three surgeries, and we are still looking for a solution for her toe pain.
    Thank you!

  56. Hi there, I am also due an MRI and had a HemiCAP implanted two years ago here in the UK (I am uncertain if it was titanium or cobalt mix) am I safe to have an MRI? Hope you can advise.
    Thanks, Victoria Rowe

  57. I’m not sure which tie implant I had but still have toe pain 8 years after surgery. I’m wondering if I should have my toe joint injected with a steroid…

  58. I had this surgery on my left big toe five years ago and I’ve had five wonderful, pain free years! Now for two weeks I’ve been in extreme pain right at the surgery site. Has anyone else experienced this? I’m in so much pain.

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