Scar tissue after knee replacement

Posted by leithlane @leithlane, Jan 31, 2017

I had knee replacement surgery 6 weeks ago . Through PT I have been working on breaking up the scar tissue only for it to regrow by the time I get back to PT two days later. I have been massaging at home, using a hand held massager and roller. It is painful and swollen. I am getting very disheartened. Any suggestions as to what else I can do. Has anyone had laser treatments to break up scar tissue? Were they effective?

@briard

better be ready to think 2 years of recovery – it has been 2 years for me and I am not quite where I want to be – – –

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That is actually beginning to sound realistic! I’m finishing my fifth month of PT….

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@crazedredhead55

That is actually beginning to sound realistic! I’m finishing my fifth month of PT….

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Yes it is I did 13 weeks of therapy 3 to 4 times a week very disheartening

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I have had a left knee replacement in 2014 and today only can get a 95 degree. I dance and walk fine. I found out from a muscle specialist that my knees were not working. I also have arthrrtitis in right knee. I ride a stationary bike in hopes to get more bend out of my left knee. My right knee is only 105 but working to get more back into the range of motion. I know it is scar tissue in left knee. Any ideas of how to break up this tissue over a period of time.

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@swingman

I have had a left knee replacement in 2014 and today only can get a 95 degree. I dance and walk fine. I found out from a muscle specialist that my knees were not working. I also have arthrrtitis in right knee. I ride a stationary bike in hopes to get more bend out of my left knee. My right knee is only 105 but working to get more back into the range of motion. I know it is scar tissue in left knee. Any ideas of how to break up this tissue over a period of time.

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Hi @swingman, I moved your message to this existing discussion about scar tissue after knee replacement in the Bones, Joints & Muscles group (https://connect.mayoclinic.org/group/arthritis-and-joint-conditions-268850/). If you click VIEW & REPLY in the email notification, you can read through the past messages from fellow members.

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@cheris

Hi I had total knee replacement 10 months ago. Lots of swelling. Went to PT had deep tissue massage. VERY painful I felt like I had a very tight band around my knee making it hard to move.. I used a recumbent cross trainer which helped a lot. Getting into the pool and walking had an immediate effect on bringing down the swelling. After 3 months I did fairly well. I was bothered for a long time with sciatic pain making it hard to sit and ride in a car. I had second knee replaced 8 weeks ago. Almost no swelling very good range of motion right after the operation. Doing exercises twice a day and icing 3 time a day. This time around so much better. Some stiffness in knee but nothing compared to last time. My only problem is the hip/butt pain is back but not as bad. Has anyone else had this problem???

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Cheris: had tkr surgery 2 weeks ago. Scar problems may or may not develop. However, have dealt with Sciatica on both sides for almost a decade, and the PT exercises for knee, plus slightly off gait at times, really do aggravate this problem. Right now my butt is sore, Sciatic nerve angry, and Trochanter muscle protesting. However, and here’s the good news: once you are able to do specific stretch exercises (PT person has info) for/against Sciatica, it does go away. Had arthroscopic surgery on same knee 11 months ago, and it took roughly 2 months before I was able to resume the back exercises, but that took care of it. Have been doing those daily for almost 6 years, so no instant solution.

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I had TKR 15 months ago, I was told immediately I had too much scar tissue. I worked very hard at PT and home exercises. I bought a stationary bike to add to my routine.
At 9 months post op I was still in pain but only from scar tissue. My doctor had me doing lunges several
Times a day to try to break it, I had one manipulation in March. He said in surgery he got me to 130 degrees. I immediately was back at PT and worked like a dog. 115 was my best measurement after much PT that day in office. I was later told to try At home the lunges on an elevated stool I chose a step stool, take 2 pain pills half hour or so before I started and after 1 800mg ibuprofen and to do this 3x. Day or more, after one month and only increasing a little it just went back, I went for pre op for arthroscoptic surgery , another manipulation then remove scar tissue he didn’t give me much hope I would be much or any better.
I would like to know from those that has that procedure and their results as I want to get a second opinion. Thank you

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May I ask a very basic and probably naive question? What is so magical about the PT's/surgeon's range of motion numbers? I'm at 114 and my PT is hell bent on getting me to 120. But what if this is as good as it gets? Is that the end of the world?

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@babette

May I ask a very basic and probably naive question? What is so magical about the PT's/surgeon's range of motion numbers? I'm at 114 and my PT is hell bent on getting me to 120. But what if this is as good as it gets? Is that the end of the world?

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I am curious as well. The ROM people achieve – both short term and eventually – is all over the place. I am supposedly at 114 2 weeks after surgery, functional as far as most daily activities go. My main concern is the extension, though. Having had back problems for decades, and sciatica on both sides for about 9 years, I need total extension asap. to prevent any more back issues. Seems some lucky people never had to worry about extension at all…………….. Anyway, looking forward to lots of ROM numbers to get a better idea what’s realistic.

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@babette

May I ask a very basic and probably naive question? What is so magical about the PT's/surgeon's range of motion numbers? I'm at 114 and my PT is hell bent on getting me to 120. But what if this is as good as it gets? Is that the end of the world?

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I was told that at 120 degrees we should be able to walk up and down stairs and step off of a curb and if I never got anymore these things I mentioned would be important to my recovery. At the most now as I am not working with a PT, I may be at 95 degrees. I cannot easily do the things mentioned above and use a cane on uneven ground and when going up an down hills as it helps my balance but otherwise I don’t use it. Getting in my car is another challenge as the seat always has to be back as far as it can go and then I swing my leg up and than in. I do my stretches and bike in AM and that helps to kinda loosen it up. Then I go for a walk with my dog. At least I can do that.

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Oh stairs! I'm still doing the step-together-step method up and down. It's one of the things that really bothers me, but in my case it's about have so little strength in my quad, my knee will easily bend to get my foot up or down to the next step, if that makes any sense.

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@bevinauburn

I was told that at 120 degrees we should be able to walk up and down stairs and step off of a curb and if I never got anymore these things I mentioned would be important to my recovery. At the most now as I am not working with a PT, I may be at 95 degrees. I cannot easily do the things mentioned above and use a cane on uneven ground and when going up an down hills as it helps my balance but otherwise I don’t use it. Getting in my car is another challenge as the seat always has to be back as far as it can go and then I swing my leg up and than in. I do my stretches and bike in AM and that helps to kinda loosen it up. Then I go for a walk with my dog. At least I can do that.

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I would like to add I canceled my surgery at the pre op appointment because I felt like the surgeon really didn’t want to do it and said I wanted to rethink it. I know there are people who have had this surgery and I would like to know their experience. My next thing to do is hopefully get another opinion and/or a surgeon who will take me as a patient as I have read some posts where people have found it difficult to find a doctor as they didn’t perform the original surgery.

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I was told that laser treatment was not an option because of the metal in replacement. Don’t know for sure that is correct.

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