Have you become frustrated because of the limitations of a painful big toe? We have many patients who were in that very situation… but then they found relief in the form of hallux rigidus joint replacement. Our practice is centered on providing effective solutions for your foot and ankle problems, and this particular procedure might be the answer you are seeking. Find out the difference it can make for that painful big toe.

Anatomy of the Big Toe

Painful toes should be checked because they could be serious. The big toe plays an essential role every time we walk. It needs to bend with each step, and this happens at the major joint found at its base called the metatarsophalangeal joint (MTPJ). The MTPJ is comprised of the metatarsal and phalangeal bones, along with the connective tissue that provides support and enables movement. The ends of the bones in the MTPJ are covered with a smooth, articular cartilage that is responsible for assisting the bones to move freely as they work together.

How Cartilage Can Become Injured

There are various events that can result in damaged cartilage, including injury (trauma), inflammation, infection, and malalignment. Traumatic injuries are most likely to cause isolated defects, whereas malalignment of the MTPJ bones can lead to greater, widespread damage to the joint surfaces. This can be thought of as being similar to the way that car tires lose their tread over time when the wheels are not aligned correctly.

Arthrosurface HemiCAP Implant

The HemiCAP implant is a technologically advanced system designed to match the shape and contour of the individual patient's cartilage surface. It is a "contoured CAP" for an area of damaged cartilage designed to protect the remaining, normal cartilage in an attempt to prevent further damage to the joint while maintaining the patient's range of motion. 

The HemiCAP system matches not only the diameter of the damaged area but also the precise radius of both curvatures of the patient's joint surface dorsal to plantar (top to bottom) and medial to lateral (inside to outside). The technology for mapping the joint curvatures is based on eye surgery procedures used to make products to protect the corneal surface. This mapping is actually done in the operating room by Dr. Thomajan. Once the mapping points are defined, an appropriately sized implant is chosen and then implanted into the patient. Different diameters and curvatures are available to provide a proper fit for each individual patient.  


The HemiCAP Contoured Articular Prosthetic integrates an articular resurfacing section and a cancellous taper post element that mate together with a taper interlock to provide immobile and stable fixation of the implant and stress-bearing contact at the bone/prosthetic interface.

Hemiarthroplasty implant for the first MTPJ can be used in the treatment of patients with post-traumatic and degenerative arthritis in the first metatarsal joint or in the presence of robust bone stock in the following clinical conditions: hallux valgus or hallux limitus, hallux rigidus, and an unstable or painful MTPJ. 

HemiCAP System Advantages for You

  • HemiCAP technology was created to assist patients who continue working, retain active lifestyles, and live longer, and have an increased need for joint-preserving treatments.
  • This treatment method bridges the gap between "first-line" therapies and complete joint replacement.
  • HemiCAP allows for preservation of the joint and surrounding bone and maintains existing joint biomechanics, thereby allowing a more natural motion.
  • Clinical studies establish early positive clinical outcomes across various joints.
  • Patients report rapid recovery time, significant range of motion improvements, and outstanding pain relief in multi-center studies.
  • Procedure can be performed on outpatient basis.
  • HemiCAP removes a much smaller amount of cartilage and bone than traditional joint implants.
  • HemiCAP is placed "into" the surface leaving the joint less surgically altered.

Hallux Rigidus Joint Replacement in Austin, TX

We consider this technology for hallux rigidus joint replacement to be yet another example of our commitment to offering state-of-the-art treatment options for our patients. By using the HemiCap system, our patients are able to have restored functionality and decreased pain in the big toe.

Are You Looking for a Foot Care Specialist in Austin, TX?

If you are looking for foot care, you should reach out to an experienced podiatristAustin Foot and Ankle Specialists can help. Our office provides a wide variety of advanced, effective treatment options for all kinds of painful conditions. Ready to schedule an appointment? Contact us online or call our Austin office at 512.328.8900.

Craig Thomajan
Connect with me
Austin Podiatrist