Rochester, N.Y. (WHAM) - There is a new surgical option to relieve a condition that can cause excruciating foot pain.
On Tuesday, a Rochester surgeon became the first in the nation to perform the procedure.
Richard Baumgardner has suffered with great toe arthritis for years. Until now, Dr. Judy Baumhauer might have used plates and screws to immobilize the joint.
But now, an implant that acts as synthetic cartilage is changing the game for patients.
"So I call it the jelly bean," Dr. Baumhauer said. "You make a small hole in the bone and you put this jelly bean and what it does is distracts the joint so that the two rough surfaces are not rubbing any longer."
Baumgardner said he needed the surgery because his life was becoming uncomfortable.
"I've had it about ten years and once it alters your lifestyle, the footwear you can wear, your activity level, it's time to get something done," he said.
After this surgery, patients are back on their feet in a day or two. In the past, they may have had to wear an air cast for up to six weeks.
While this was the first time the surgery was performed in this country, it is already common in other countries.
In the future, cartilage implants could be used in the thumb, knee, and ankle.