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?

@mari

For 1 week prior to my TKR I had to rub some stuff from a tube around my nostrils. Night b4, take a shower w some HydrClens ? Then the next morning Take Another Shower w ?hyClens, In hospital, nurse gave me large ?wipes – 1 for 1 arm, toss it. 1 for left arm, toss it; 1 for 1 leg, toss it. 1 for left left, toss it. She washed my back, toss wipe. etc. Hospital has THE BEST rating for NO INFECTIONS! IN CA.

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I had to shower twice daily in hibiscrub and apply bactoban to both nostrils 3 times a day for 5 days before my total knee replacement in April. This was given as prophylaxis for MRSA.

Today I have finally been discharged from physiotherapy at the operating hospital, where I had both the TKR and more recently the arthroscopic arthrolysis and debridment of my knee. My knee bend today is 120 degrees. I certainly would not have got to this point without the arthroscopic surgery and an astitute physio who correctly diagnosed neuropathic pain.

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St. Johns, Santa Monica CA// there is a chart -with All Ca hospitals and the records of the ones that don't have patients getting infection. St. Johns is the only one w dots in column with None or the Least infections for hospital stays. I wish u well.

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@mari

St. Johns, Santa Monica CA// there is a chart -with All Ca hospitals and the records of the ones that don't have patients getting infection. St. Johns is the only one w dots in column with None or the Least infections for hospital stays. I wish u well.

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@mari Thank you for this information I live in Long Beach my Dr deals with Memorial here. Ive been fortunate I don't have to go to a hospital again.Be well Linda

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@sdhkkjmz

I’m interested in your overall outcome. I’m 2 weeks post op and in top of all the issues that follow that, have developed sciatica and find it uncomfortable to sit, stand, lay, everything! I’m miserable and doing 2 weeks of in home pt have brought me to the point of complete discouragement. I thought I hurt before the surgery- it’s nothing compared to after!. The pain meds help minimumally but they have never had the pain managed from the very beginning. I cry a lot and it seems no end in sight. I can’t use chiropractor until incision is healed enough to stand the laying in my stomach for adjustment, etc. I’m depressed and often wish I’d never done this but at 54 I’m active and want to be able to do things with my husband who has been a troooer helping me but I’m sick of Percocet being a daily pill and not working well!!!! Getting ready to begin outpatient pt at a facility. I get to choose that facility. Am interested in what kind of facility I should look for… one with hydrotherapy, one with the various types of therapy mentioned here. Scar tissue is building up and the pain is unbearable. I’m glad and saddened that I’m not alone in my journey.

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@sdhkkjmz New to group. Healing takes so much longer than we think it'll be. I did bilateral 8 mos.ago. I'm having intense tendon pain behind knee esp after exercise, if anyone has thoughts … Anyway, for those with ROM issues , read below, there's a great – really great — option to look into. Pain-killers: I needed for long time. Percocet was useless, get a stronger pain reliever, the strongest you can! But… you are ONLY 2 weeks post op ! You need a few months to evaluate how you are. I was lucky to get into rehab facility with good PT for 2 weeks … but various levels of pain continued for a long while from multiple sources. Sleep was difficult (sleep aid is helping). I don't think your scar tissue is building up at this point. Here are a couple ideas. Water exercise (with lots of bending) has been good (it's a bit too early for you, due to wound). For you at this early point, I'd work on the ROM a lot now. And I used an amazing machine to help do that. X-10 machine. It's not a CPM, I found that horrible. The testimonials are true. It's not covered by insurance except in Michigan, and it's hard to get a machine (rent) bec there's so much demand, but it was worth every penny. You sit comfortably, it gently moves your leg; you control the slight increases (each day you improve); most people get to full ROM quickly. (My PT was so amazed at how I was doing that they totally slacked off with me – with bad consequences now). The say the best time to use X-10 is a week or 2 post op. Can't recommend it enough.

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@lkinny

@sdhkkjmz New to group. Healing takes so much longer than we think it'll be. I did bilateral 8 mos.ago. I'm having intense tendon pain behind knee esp after exercise, if anyone has thoughts … Anyway, for those with ROM issues , read below, there's a great – really great — option to look into. Pain-killers: I needed for long time. Percocet was useless, get a stronger pain reliever, the strongest you can! But… you are ONLY 2 weeks post op ! You need a few months to evaluate how you are. I was lucky to get into rehab facility with good PT for 2 weeks … but various levels of pain continued for a long while from multiple sources. Sleep was difficult (sleep aid is helping). I don't think your scar tissue is building up at this point. Here are a couple ideas. Water exercise (with lots of bending) has been good (it's a bit too early for you, due to wound). For you at this early point, I'd work on the ROM a lot now. And I used an amazing machine to help do that. X-10 machine. It's not a CPM, I found that horrible. The testimonials are true. It's not covered by insurance except in Michigan, and it's hard to get a machine (rent) bec there's so much demand, but it was worth every penny. You sit comfortably, it gently moves your leg; you control the slight increases (each day you improve); most people get to full ROM quickly. (My PT was so amazed at how I was doing that they totally slacked off with me – with bad consequences now). The say the best time to use X-10 is a week or 2 post op. Can't recommend it enough.

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BTW, It looks like the above was posted under wrong name??? I probably messed up! Anyway I'm LKinNY

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@gator1965

My scar tissue started occurring at just under 3 weeks post TKR, certainly this was when a very observant physio noticed that things were not progressing as they should do. At this point my knee flexion was under 70 degrees, and then despite intensive physio this continued to worsen in between physio appointments. It felt like my knee was surrounded by concrete. I had a manipulation under anaesthetic at 11 weeks post TKR, I was then advised that I had arthrofibrosis. The scar tissue reformed at 2 weeks post manipulation despite more intensive physio, and I was unable to maintain by range of movement between physio sessions. 13 weeks after the manipulation I underwent arthroscopic arthrolysis and debridment of left knee for extensive fibrosis . It is a daily battle to keep my knee flexion at 90 degrees, it feels as though my knee is surrounded by Velcro.

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@gator1965 For the ROM, the X-10 machine is really amazing. Look it up. I used it early on and wish I could have used it longer. (Its hard to rent a machine bec there is such demand.) Now, some 4 months later, (8 months post op) without enough good PT, I feel like I have bubble wrap around knees. Am learning here that it sounds like scar tissue.

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@lkinny I'm confused about the efficacy of the X-10 machine if you now have scar tissue … did you not use it long enough? Did you stop PT too soon?

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@lkinny

@gator1965 For the ROM, the X-10 machine is really amazing. Look it up. I used it early on and wish I could have used it longer. (Its hard to rent a machine bec there is such demand.) Now, some 4 months later, (8 months post op) without enough good PT, I feel like I have bubble wrap around knees. Am learning here that it sounds like scar tissue.

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This x10 machine looks good. I used a CPM machine post TKR, MUA and following my recent arthroscopic arthrolysis and debridment of left knee surgery, but only when I was in hospital, as both the surgeon and physio wanted me to get the ROM by myself. After the TKR and MUA I was having physio twice weekly and they were using a cybex machine, but the scar tissue was reaccumulating between these sessions.

Although the physio at the operating hospital has discharged me on Tuesday , she said the knee flexion was 120, the Royal Orthopaedic Hospital said ROM yesterday was +5-105, so slightly confused! I am still having hydrotherapy, but this caused a lot of pain yesterday and this morning. My knee still feels like it is surrounded by Velcro, which I have to break down every day….

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@babette

@lkinny I'm confused about the efficacy of the X-10 machine if you now have scar tissue … did you not use it long enough? Did you stop PT too soon?

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I'm experiencing a persistent , painful tendon pain back of knee. Don't actually know if scar tissue is the cause .. thought I'd read this group's experience. I haven't found much info about this. You are right: I couldn't get the machine as long as I wanted. I think my PT was so amazed at my early progress that they were way too "easy" and stopped too soon. They also told me to go easy on the exercises, so I wasn't aggressive at home. The literature says I am more prone to scar tissue due to 40 years of knee problems and dozens of dislocations. The machine is pretty amazing and I've asked to get it back again. Like most who use it my ROM had initially and easily, comfortably, with zero PT pushing, had gotten to 122- 128. Then had to give back machine 🙁

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@gator1965

This x10 machine looks good. I used a CPM machine post TKR, MUA and following my recent arthroscopic arthrolysis and debridment of left knee surgery, but only when I was in hospital, as both the surgeon and physio wanted me to get the ROM by myself. After the TKR and MUA I was having physio twice weekly and they were using a cybex machine, but the scar tissue was reaccumulating between these sessions.

Although the physio at the operating hospital has discharged me on Tuesday , she said the knee flexion was 120, the Royal Orthopaedic Hospital said ROM yesterday was +5-105, so slightly confused! I am still having hydrotherapy, but this caused a lot of pain yesterday and this morning. My knee still feels like it is surrounded by Velcro, which I have to break down every day….

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What exactly do they do in hydrotherapy? I am really not as informed as others on this blog … I also feel I have to "restart" to some degree each day… doesn't everyone in the first 3 -12 months? The stationary bike helps with that. My understanding from friends and the surgeon was that it would 3 – 12 months for that to improve. Especially true for me since my problems started 40 years ago when I was young and I did bilateral. I had a very unrealistic picture from the healthier people I read about on the internet!

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@lkinny

I'm experiencing a persistent , painful tendon pain back of knee. Don't actually know if scar tissue is the cause .. thought I'd read this group's experience. I haven't found much info about this. You are right: I couldn't get the machine as long as I wanted. I think my PT was so amazed at my early progress that they were way too "easy" and stopped too soon. They also told me to go easy on the exercises, so I wasn't aggressive at home. The literature says I am more prone to scar tissue due to 40 years of knee problems and dozens of dislocations. The machine is pretty amazing and I've asked to get it back again. Like most who use it my ROM had initially and easily, comfortably, with zero PT pushing, had gotten to 122- 128. Then had to give back machine 🙁

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I used it very early on and then PT discharged me before I wanted. So now it's like 5 – 6 months later. I've developed the tendon pain more recently.

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@lkinny

What exactly do they do in hydrotherapy? I am really not as informed as others on this blog … I also feel I have to "restart" to some degree each day… doesn't everyone in the first 3 -12 months? The stationary bike helps with that. My understanding from friends and the surgeon was that it would 3 – 12 months for that to improve. Especially true for me since my problems started 40 years ago when I was young and I did bilateral. I had a very unrealistic picture from the healthier people I read about on the internet!

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Hydrotherapy is really lush, like getting into a warm bath but it is a very small swimming pool. The warmth of the water relaxes the muscles and eases the pain of the joint. The water supports your weight meaning that you can get a better range of movement.

The exercises are very similar to what you normally do post knee replacement, so lots of knee bending, stepping up and down , pool walking etc. The session I have usually lasts for 30 minutes with 3 other people with similar conditions and a physio gets in the water too. Your exercises are individually tailored to your needs. I have had 6 weekly sessions to date, I am due another one on Thursday and the physio said she will reassess me then as to further treatment.

I had been going to our local swimming pool prior to hydrotherapy and been exercising however the water is much colder so I found I could not bend as much as I can in hydrotherapy.

Like you I have to restart every day trying to bend the knee, it is hard work!

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@gator1965

Hydrotherapy is really lush, like getting into a warm bath but it is a very small swimming pool. The warmth of the water relaxes the muscles and eases the pain of the joint. The water supports your weight meaning that you can get a better range of movement.

The exercises are very similar to what you normally do post knee replacement, so lots of knee bending, stepping up and down , pool walking etc. The session I have usually lasts for 30 minutes with 3 other people with similar conditions and a physio gets in the water too. Your exercises are individually tailored to your needs. I have had 6 weekly sessions to date, I am due another one on Thursday and the physio said she will reassess me then as to further treatment.

I had been going to our local swimming pool prior to hydrotherapy and been exercising however the water is much colder so I found I could not bend as much as I can in hydrotherapy.

Like you I have to restart every day trying to bend the knee, it is hard work!

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OK, I didn't understand; thought hydrotherapy caused some pain. Sounds nice. I hate how cold pools are.

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@lkinny

OK, I didn't understand; thought hydrotherapy caused some pain. Sounds nice. I hate how cold pools are.

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No, it is normally quite painless, they get you to stop an excercise if it becomes painful , and always check how you are following the last session. I have heard mixed reports from people about hydrotherapy but for me it has helped.

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I’m 3 weeks out from knee replacement and have experienced the same issues you have with the scar tissue. It is very painful and nobody told me about this part of the process. I began outpatient therapy yesterday with a new therapist. She elevated my feet out the e-stem machine on the 4 corners of the knee, avoiding the incision. She then out cold packs right out of the freezer in it and set it for 15 minutes as high as I could tolerate the electric stimulus. At first it seemed comfortable but the last about 4-5 minutes is almost more than I could handle. Next time I’ll ask that she not out the ice packs directly on skin as it burns. Afterward I had leased pain and could move the knee a little more.

I think if I were you, have dr write a script for an at home tens unit and try to duplicate something like this at home. My insurance bobs did pay for it 100% – maybe your wil to. If the dr is aware of your situation see if you can get therapy 5 days a week for awhile. The pt I go to is also going to use hydro therapy in the pool once my incision is completely healed in about a month. Said it would help in movement but also in breaking scar tissue. Maybe find someplace near you with a pt with a pool- they are out there and I can’t wait to get started in moving again.

Until then I feel your pain and nobody that hasn’t experienced this cannot imagine the intense pain that comes with it. I’m sick of the almost constant pain and discomfort. Hang in there, I know it’s hard. Find a way. Rad about therapies online and ask a lot of questions and don’t take no for an answer!

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