Although one of the smallest orthopedic markets by revenue in 2016, small joint replacement is expected to experience the fastest growth of all orthopedic markets through 2023. This is driven largely by the growing ageing population’s desire to maintain an active lifestyle and the increasing adoption of shoulder and ankle replacement implants.

While encompassing the shoulder, elbow, wrist, digit, and ankle joints, small joint replacements historically focused on the more lucrative hip and knee implants. Manufacturers have recently made a push to improve the materials and function of small joint implants as the mature hip and knee replacement markets creep towards stagnancy. 

Wright Medical Group has been established as a pure play extremities and biologics company, competing exclusively in the small joint arena. Such companies focused on solutions for the small joints can anticipate high growth over the next ten years as surgeons and patients become more educated on novel small joint implant options.

Improved surgeon training is particularly necessary to combat a steep learning curve for small joint replacement surgeries, perpetuated by limited exposure and low procedure volumes.

Medical devices

According to GlobalData’s research, the market for small joint replacement is projected to grow from $1.4bn in 2016 to $2.2bn in 2023 at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 6.2%. Shoulder replacement will remain the most profitable segment of the small joints market primarily due to a high procedure volume, although ankle replacement is also expected to expand quickly at a CAGR of 6.3%.