In June 2013, Dr. David Levine at HSS performed interpositional arthroplasty on my left foot. I believe this a tissue implant of equine myocardial tissue. I suffered from hallux rigidus of the first metatarsophalangeal (MTP) joint. I’d had two surgeries by then – two cheilectomies – and had custom orthotics made. Two surgeons had told me the only remaining remedy to the extreme daily pain caused by having no cartilage in that joint was to fuse the joint, immobilize it, which would have meant my big toe would never have bent again. Imagine running, or walking normally, if your big toe was fused in a straight position. But fitness and exercise have always been very important to me.
Dr. Levine offered me this cutting-edge surgical alternative with the caution that there were no guaranteed results with this surgery. But I was not prepared to experience the loss of range of motion in my foot at only 51 years old. I was director of marketing and public relations for a large hospital on Long Island and my job involved being on my feet a lot, at events and meetings and walking all over campus, and the pain in my foot, which increased over the years, was interfering with my ability to do my job. Worse yet, it was impacting my ability to exercise vigorously.
Since the surgery with Dr. Levine in 2013, not only have I been able to resume full work activity but also full exercise. In fact, I bought a gym on Long Island in 2014 and now fitness is an even bigger part of my life.