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?

@gator1965

I have been discharged by the orthopaedic surgeon in December and the physio last week. Sadly no one seems interested in the on going pain, so probably I just need to learn to live with it. Even my GP, seems to be happy to prescribe repeat prescriptions for baclofen and amitriptyline. So I guess that I need to wait to see if the pain resolves?

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@gator1965 Maybe I'm just old fashioned, but I think if you are still in pain the surgeon has an obligation to try to diagnose what is causing it. Unfortunately, I see that a second opinion is not feasible economically. At eleven months out it seems to me like it should be much, much better than you indicate.
I wish I could say something more but it sounds as if for now you are in a very tough position since you don't have insurance.
I hope you manage to come up with some options that will allow you to move forward and get some help with your pain.
JK

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@contentandwell

@gator1965 Maybe I'm just old fashioned, but I think if you are still in pain the surgeon has an obligation to try to diagnose what is causing it. Unfortunately, I see that a second opinion is not feasible economically. At eleven months out it seems to me like it should be much, much better than you indicate.
I wish I could say something more but it sounds as if for now you are in a very tough position since you don't have insurance.
I hope you manage to come up with some options that will allow you to move forward and get some help with your pain.
JK

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Let me tell you my story. I have had six knee surgeries ( 2004, 2006, 2008, 2011, and 2017) all on the same knee! I have had 4 different Docs. The pain has gone from bad to worse and none of the Docs have suggested anything about working on the scar tissue – most have just given *pain pills* of the bad kind and given me some type of shot in the knee (I guess I should say I now get a shot in the other knee as well – it is now bone on bone, and crying out for replacement which I an not ready for right now!) I have walked with a brace with walker for 6 months – and now I use a walker full time and suspect there will be no recommended change.. Every step hurts, Sometimes I head for the pill bottle but mostly just live with it. I had PT to the max and generally was at 90+ a little better degrees and they said that was all I got. I am a 75 year old lady living in a nursing home and no one knows what to do with me besides giving me the pills!

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@trouble4343

Let me tell you my story. I have had six knee surgeries ( 2004, 2006, 2008, 2011, and 2017) all on the same knee! I have had 4 different Docs. The pain has gone from bad to worse and none of the Docs have suggested anything about working on the scar tissue – most have just given *pain pills* of the bad kind and given me some type of shot in the knee (I guess I should say I now get a shot in the other knee as well – it is now bone on bone, and crying out for replacement which I an not ready for right now!) I have walked with a brace with walker for 6 months – and now I use a walker full time and suspect there will be no recommended change.. Every step hurts, Sometimes I head for the pill bottle but mostly just live with it. I had PT to the max and generally was at 90+ a little better degrees and they said that was all I got. I am a 75 year old lady living in a nursing home and no one knows what to do with me besides giving me the pills!

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I am so sorry to read your story. This knee surgery is a terrible thing to go thru for most of us please hang in there and do the best you can

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@trouble4343

Let me tell you my story. I have had six knee surgeries ( 2004, 2006, 2008, 2011, and 2017) all on the same knee! I have had 4 different Docs. The pain has gone from bad to worse and none of the Docs have suggested anything about working on the scar tissue – most have just given *pain pills* of the bad kind and given me some type of shot in the knee (I guess I should say I now get a shot in the other knee as well – it is now bone on bone, and crying out for replacement which I an not ready for right now!) I have walked with a brace with walker for 6 months – and now I use a walker full time and suspect there will be no recommended change.. Every step hurts, Sometimes I head for the pill bottle but mostly just live with it. I had PT to the max and generally was at 90+ a little better degrees and they said that was all I got. I am a 75 year old lady living in a nursing home and no one knows what to do with me besides giving me the pills!

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@trouble4343 – I'm sorry to hear your story too. Are there any PT exercises that give you some relief? I've had two TKRs – the most recent 1/29/19. Sometimes just getting on the stationery bike gets me moving and gets things loosened up. I'm wishing you well and hoping you can find some relief.

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@trouble4343

Let me tell you my story. I have had six knee surgeries ( 2004, 2006, 2008, 2011, and 2017) all on the same knee! I have had 4 different Docs. The pain has gone from bad to worse and none of the Docs have suggested anything about working on the scar tissue – most have just given *pain pills* of the bad kind and given me some type of shot in the knee (I guess I should say I now get a shot in the other knee as well – it is now bone on bone, and crying out for replacement which I an not ready for right now!) I have walked with a brace with walker for 6 months – and now I use a walker full time and suspect there will be no recommended change.. Every step hurts, Sometimes I head for the pill bottle but mostly just live with it. I had PT to the max and generally was at 90+ a little better degrees and they said that was all I got. I am a 75 year old lady living in a nursing home and no one knows what to do with me besides giving me the pills!

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Please consider tkr. I was bone in bone. Now after replacement I can walk without pain. The first three weeks are tough after but it is worth it. I have friends who did the tkr also and are doing great with no complications.

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Apparently 2% -so said my 2nd option ortho 0, of tkr patients end up with excessive scar tissue which I have and is very painful-it is not inflammation, I am to visit a 3rd Dr tomorrow who can accept my health insurance and see what remedy there might be. I've never known such continuous pain and walk with a horrible limp.

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@damewocane

Apparently 2% -so said my 2nd option ortho 0, of tkr patients end up with excessive scar tissue which I have and is very painful-it is not inflammation, I am to visit a 3rd Dr tomorrow who can accept my health insurance and see what remedy there might be. I've never known such continuous pain and walk with a horrible limp.

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@damewocane I hope this surgeon will be able to help you. Living in pain is really miserable. I am sure that if you find the right doctor he/she will be able to figure this out and give you relief.
Let us know how the appointment goes.
JK

Liked by damewocane

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@amberpep

Hi there …. yes, I’ve had scar tissue develop also. It developed slowly over time, but by the time I hit the 1 year mark, my surgeon went in – arthroscopically – and cleaned it up. But, it never was right, and in another year I had to have a revision – a totally new replacement. Since then, my knee could not be any better. I don’t know why this happens to some and not to others … but after several other options had been tried, including the arthroscopic surgery, I opted to just do the revision …. I’m glad I did.
abby

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@ I read amberpep's post I have a very similar result. My knee was hurting really bad 13 months after my total knee replacement.The knee was keeping me up at night The doctor performed an arthroscopy and cleaned all the scar tissue he could. It helped some as I could sleep at night. I am still in a lot of pain. I have not been excercising as much due to the weather being terrible. Should keep on exercising, or look a having surgery again?

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@contentandwell

@damewocane I hope this surgeon will be able to help you. Living in pain is really miserable. I am sure that if you find the right doctor he/she will be able to figure this out and give you relief.
Let us know how the appointment goes.
JK

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I am 11 months out still walk with a terrible stiff knee and can not sleep at night I go to the gym every day walk and ride bike and do water exercises but still no relief my surgeon just laughs at me and keeps saying it will get better , I am trying another surgeon but no one will see me around here until 1 year after surgery date and get released from him

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@kneeproblem

I am 11 months out still walk with a terrible stiff knee and can not sleep at night I go to the gym every day walk and ride bike and do water exercises but still no relief my surgeon just laughs at me and keeps saying it will get better , I am trying another surgeon but no one will see me around here until 1 year after surgery date and get released from him

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Have you asked to return to PT? A great therapist can change everything. Mine weren't listening to me and I specifically requested a certain PT (not PTA). After a another evaluation it was determined the muscles behind my knee, calf and around my knee were extremely tight (constricted). I've been only focusing on aggressive stretching. It has made all the difference in pain, spasms and range. For me, walking made it worse. I focus on water therapy stretching, swimming, bike and the ARC (the machine that lets you glide, stride, or climb). The higher I climb the bigger the bend and the stretch. It's not always scar tissue or doing something wrong. Sometimes it's needing a person that listens and helps. Best of luck to you.

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@trouble4343

Let me tell you my story. I have had six knee surgeries ( 2004, 2006, 2008, 2011, and 2017) all on the same knee! I have had 4 different Docs. The pain has gone from bad to worse and none of the Docs have suggested anything about working on the scar tissue – most have just given *pain pills* of the bad kind and given me some type of shot in the knee (I guess I should say I now get a shot in the other knee as well – it is now bone on bone, and crying out for replacement which I an not ready for right now!) I have walked with a brace with walker for 6 months – and now I use a walker full time and suspect there will be no recommended change.. Every step hurts, Sometimes I head for the pill bottle but mostly just live with it. I had PT to the max and generally was at 90+ a little better degrees and they said that was all I got. I am a 75 year old lady living in a nursing home and no one knows what to do with me besides giving me the pills!

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I resisted and was fearful of TKR for many years … accepted huge limitations and pain. So I feel like one of those 6 surgeries you had should have been a TKR! Why didn't they do it, and why do you say you're not ready? Even with many challenges, some ongoing pain, disappointing (but functional) flexion, a longer than expected recovery time, still, overall it's gradually better than before (one year out of double knee TKR). In my opinion, the walker, "every step hurts" and years of pain pills are pointing you in one direction, which may well result in an improvement over your current symptoms. Best of luck.

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@3737

5 knee operations, 3 knee replacements resulting in severe scar tissue/ nerve damage.

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@3737 Oh my word, you really have had knee problems. What is being advised at this point? I am so sorry to hear you are in pain still. I truly hope that it's not too late for a doctor to help you and rid you of the pain. Keep us up to date on it, please.
JK

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@tims1224

@ I read amberpep's post I have a very similar result. My knee was hurting really bad 13 months after my total knee replacement.The knee was keeping me up at night The doctor performed an arthroscopy and cleaned all the scar tissue he could. It helped some as I could sleep at night. I am still in a lot of pain. I have not been excercising as much due to the weather being terrible. Should keep on exercising, or look a having surgery again?

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@tims1224 Has the doctor mentioned what the next step would be if you need the doctor to intervene? Since you have had an arthroscopy already I think that I personally would try exercising a bit longer, but I also would check with my doctor and/or physical therapist. If you can't damage the knee by continuing to exercise it, and if you won't lose a window of time when the doctor could do something, you have nothing to lose.
JK

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@kneeproblem

I am 11 months out still walk with a terrible stiff knee and can not sleep at night I go to the gym every day walk and ride bike and do water exercises but still no relief my surgeon just laughs at me and keeps saying it will get better , I am trying another surgeon but no one will see me around here until 1 year after surgery date and get released from him

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@kneeproblem Not much time to wait if other surgeons will see you at one year. I think that's a great idea, to get another opinion. Make sure you pick the best possible orthopedist that you can find. I hope the new surgeon will be able to give you some help. Having discomfort for that long is no picnic.
JK

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@contentandwell

@damewocane I hope this surgeon will be able to help you. Living in pain is really miserable. I am sure that if you find the right doctor he/she will be able to figure this out and give you relief.
Let us know how the appointment goes.
JK

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My new Dr is quite scientific and has sent me for blood tests for myalgia. No operation can be considered if there is any infection in my huge ugly knee. He twisted it in every way possible to see my pathetic ROM and I came home in greater pain and ache -the kind where you feel you are going to throw up. I have a follow up with his PA in 2 weeks.

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