September 19, 2021

Pain Awareness Month: Taking Control of Chronic Hip and Knee Pain

In honor of National Pain Awareness Month, we recently shared conservative treatment options to help ease chronic pain caused by arthritis, and then took a deeper dive into chronic pain and surgical treatment of the shoulder, neck and back. Today, we will focus on surgical options of the hip and knee to treat chronic pain caused by arthritis.

Hip and Knee Arthritis

Hip and knee arthritis can cause pain, inflammation and stiffness. Arthritis damages the smooth outer coverage (cartilage) of the bone, and as it wears away over time, the space between the bones decreases. Think of healthy cartilage as the end of a chicken leg – smooth and shiny. Arthritis causes that smooth, shiny cartilage to become rough and fragmented. During movement, the bones in the joint rub against each other (often called “bone-on-bone”) causing pain, weakness and limited mobility.

When conservative treatments such as over-the-counter pain medication, physical therapy and injections have failed, it may be time to have a conversation with your doctor about surgical options for pain relief.

Hip or Knee Replacement Surgery

When other treatments are no longer going to be a solution, joint replacement surgery can be performed to relieve pain caused by arthritis. You may be ready for joint replacement surgery if joint pain is negatively affecting your life in the following ways:

  • Getting a good night’s sleep
  • Keeping you from doing things you want to do
  • Causing you to become less active
  • Performing day-to-day activities (walk up stairs, get in and out of a chair or car, etc.)

A joint replacement involves the removal of arthritic bone and damaged cartilage and then replacing those damaged components with an implant. A hip or knee can be replaced using a traditional surgical method or a surgical method using robotic technology.

Using a traditional method, the surgeon visually pinpoints the correct positioning for the implant based on images of the joint. The surgeon then cements the implant in place. Images are taken after surgery to confirm the implants are in the proper position.

Robotic-Assisted Hip or Knee Replacement

Mako SmartRobotics™ is an innovative surgical tool used to assist the surgeon in a hip or knee replacement. During a robotic-assisted joint replacement, the surgeon operates the robotic arm while the robot guides the surgeon’s cuts. Before surgery, the surgeon uses the technology to map out a personalized surgical plan using a 3D CT-based planning software so they can know more about the patient’s anatomy to carry out a personalized joint replacement procedure.

Benefits of robotic technology include:

  • Implants are placed in a perfect anatomic position for each patient, enabling better post-surgical movement and flexibility
  • The surgeon is able to cut less bone, which causes fewer trauma and reduced risk of surgical complications
  • With fewer trauma, the patient typically experiences less pain, uses less pain medication and in general recovers more quickly

Mako SmartRobotics™ is available at Central Indiana Orthopedics Fishers and Muncie outpatient surgery centers and at Ascension St. Vincent Fishers and Ascension St. Vincent Anderson Hospitals.

Learn more about how robotic technology works in the video below or at


If you’re suffering from chronic pain caused by arthritis, we can help. It’s important to have an open conversation with your orthopedic surgeon to set up a personalized treatment plan and know that surgery is not the only option. To schedule an appointment with one of our joint replacement surgeons, call 800-622-6575 or Chat with us at