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?

@katp

Thanks, got it. No one ever put it that way, about developing straight. It’s just the pain that’s so hard to live with.

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We should look into medical marijuana. And I hear that the hemp oil capsules really work. A nurse friend is using it after her second TKR is causing much more pain than her first one did.

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@katp

Awww, you are so sweet. Will you share why you need a revision? I am shaking my head at your story. It does create depression. I may give this another week or so and ask my gp for an antidepressant. I’m crying a lot and life just is no fun. I am going for my first aquatic exercise hour on Thursday, though. I hope that may bring me some giggles.

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@katp First of all I would *definitely* ask for meds for depression. I'm a therapist, so I know both from my clients' and my own experiences that they can make a huge difference. And get in the water! There's nothing I want to do more!

The short version of my story is that I had my initial R TKR in July 2018. I didn't really pay any attention to the first 3 months as I expected those to be rough. However, when my surgeon told me at 6 months that all was OK I knew it was time to get another opinion. Here in Boston there are no surgeons who will make a second opinion on a TKR until you are one year out. So I suffered with terrible pain in and around my knee. I rode a stationary bike daily – no pain doing that – and did some at home PT, some outpatient PT but the pain just got too terrible. I've also had terrible scar problems: I didn't wear pants, tights, etc. for at least 8 months. Couldn't have a sheet against my knee, etc. So I'm wondering if a plastic surgeon might be worth talking to.

Fast forward and at the one-year mark I saw a terrific surgeon who confirmed that I would need a total revision: he said my femur is misaligned, my patella is off-center and something is wrong with a ligament – don't remember the details of that. He referred me to a colleague who he said he would send any loved one to for a revision like mine. He told me that in his 30 years of practice he's only seen one other surgeon as gifted as the one I'm seeing tomorrow! So, even though I was crushed when I was told I needed another revision, I'm going in with eyes open, the right questions, and lots of hope.

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@babette

@katp "a ruined existence" is the perfect phrase for us in chronic big pain. I'm so sorry to hear about what you're going through and I'm walking the same path. It's such a shock to become disabled, isn't it? I see people walking past my house and just want to shout "you can walk! Without any difficulty!" Ditto when I see people doing other everyday things.

I had my TKR over a year ago and it needs to be completely revised. I'm seeing my new surgeon tomorrow about the details. When I first heard about the revision I was shocked into such a depression. The first year+ has been hell and now I need to do it AGAIN?! I'm getting a better perspective but am still really angry. As for the "at least I don't have cancer" thought, I understand what you're saying however that doesn't negate or invalidate the pain we DO have!

I don't have an OTC formula to share. I wish I had magic.

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@babette and @katp – I understand what you are saying. Before my first knee surgery, I was crutches – after years of taking a 3 mile walk every morning. I can remember seeing people walking around and really feeling jealous and angry as I thought "That person doesn't know how lucky she is to be walking. She doesn't even know to be grateful. I hate her." Really – and I'm not a hateful person. Pain and immobility can really alter one's perspective. Babette – I'm wishing you the best tomorrow as you see your surgeon and hoping this one is the one that turns things around. And @katp, I don't have a magic mix either. Wish I did. I hope you get some relief.

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@ellerbracke

JK: Hope you can convince one of your physicians to prescribe more pain meds. With your track record, going back years, if you’d be a candidate for addiction, you’d already be hooked. Between shoulder surgeries, knee surgeries, and involved dental procedures I have been prescribed Oxycodone or Percocet on 6 different occasions, never got dependent, never needed (chose to) take all the was given. Still going to the wedding?

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@ellerbracke I agree, I have had these medications so many times with no problems that I think that should be considered.

Yep, I went to the wedding and it was beautiful. There were numerous events prior to the actual wedding so I overdid it every day and had to really rest every morning. We are at Denver airport now, way too early for our red-eye flight (shall I say long story?). I am looking to two or three days of just resting it.

I had enough tramadol to see me through the weekend, taking usually one a day in the morning. I can be less active at home so I will be able to handle the discomfort better with just Tylenol – limited to 2000 mg a day.
JK

FA1876D4-7B4C-46A1-9D90-D1CC81DCC670

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@zakcat

Maybe try medical marijuana. Or, a nurse friend tried capsules of the over the counter version, and said it helps greatly. Had three letters; not THC, something else. Does anyone know?

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CBD oil ! Also called Hemp oil, too.

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@babette

@katp First of all I would *definitely* ask for meds for depression. I'm a therapist, so I know both from my clients' and my own experiences that they can make a huge difference. And get in the water! There's nothing I want to do more!

The short version of my story is that I had my initial R TKR in July 2018. I didn't really pay any attention to the first 3 months as I expected those to be rough. However, when my surgeon told me at 6 months that all was OK I knew it was time to get another opinion. Here in Boston there are no surgeons who will make a second opinion on a TKR until you are one year out. So I suffered with terrible pain in and around my knee. I rode a stationary bike daily – no pain doing that – and did some at home PT, some outpatient PT but the pain just got too terrible. I've also had terrible scar problems: I didn't wear pants, tights, etc. for at least 8 months. Couldn't have a sheet against my knee, etc. So I'm wondering if a plastic surgeon might be worth talking to.

Fast forward and at the one-year mark I saw a terrific surgeon who confirmed that I would need a total revision: he said my femur is misaligned, my patella is off-center and something is wrong with a ligament – don't remember the details of that. He referred me to a colleague who he said he would send any loved one to for a revision like mine. He told me that in his 30 years of practice he's only seen one other surgeon as gifted as the one I'm seeing tomorrow! So, even though I was crushed when I was told I needed another revision, I'm going in with eyes open, the right questions, and lots of hope.

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O goodness, please keep us posted. My story is so much like yours. My leg skin is on fire. One year feels like torture, but I’ve experienced that phenomenon, no one will see you till then.

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@zakcat

Maybe try medical marijuana. Or, a nurse friend tried capsules of the over the counter version, and said it helps greatly. Had three letters; not THC, something else. Does anyone know?

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I think you mean cbd?

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@JustinMcClanahan

@kibe75,

I had a right TKR in 2006. My recovery was awful. It was a combination of many factors: I wasn’t aggressive enough on my rehab, the pain was intense and made rehab difficult, and I had really aggressive scar tissue growth. I ended up having to have two manipulations because my range-of-motion post replacement was a dismal 15-60 or so. Eventually I “popped” the scar tissue loose on my own, on accident, and my range-of-motion has been 0-105/110 ever since.

I learned then, and especially now on these threads, that we are all so much different. We heal differently, we react to medications differently, our bodies grow scar tissue at different rates. All I can say for certain is stick with it and keep pushing yourself. Try not to get too discouraged and quit. In total, my recovery was well over a year, but I got there. I have had no setbacks and virtually no pain in my right knee for the past 12 years.

@kibe75, how is your mobility on the knee? Are you able to use a stationary bike?

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My ROM is about 60. I cannot use a stationery bike and have trouble going up stairs. How did you pop your knee? Can you explain? I am so distressed as my knee is making my job impossible. I am waiting for a second opinion.

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@donheads

My ROM is about 60. I cannot use a stationery bike and have trouble going up stairs. How did you pop your knee? Can you explain? I am so distressed as my knee is making my job impossible. I am waiting for a second opinion.

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@donheads, how long ago was your replacement? Mine "popped" as an accident when I was playing catch football with a couple of friends. I jumped for a ball, landed, heard/felt a pop and over the following days it slowly loosened. I had to continue my PT, but eventually was able to get to 105ish bend. In total, it was probably a good 12-18 months after the initial surgery.

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@JustinMcClanahan

@donheads, how long ago was your replacement? Mine "popped" as an accident when I was playing catch football with a couple of friends. I jumped for a ball, landed, heard/felt a pop and over the following days it slowly loosened. I had to continue my PT, but eventually was able to get to 105ish bend. In total, it was probably a good 12-18 months after the initial surgery.

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did it ever tighten up? Mine is lose now and i know it when i bike or walk.

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@JustinMcClanahan

@donheads, how long ago was your replacement? Mine "popped" as an accident when I was playing catch football with a couple of friends. I jumped for a ball, landed, heard/felt a pop and over the following days it slowly loosened. I had to continue my PT, but eventually was able to get to 105ish bend. In total, it was probably a good 12-18 months after the initial surgery.

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Hi l had it done just over a year ago. It is like a piece of wood .

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@debbraw

@babette and @katp – I understand what you are saying. Before my first knee surgery, I was crutches – after years of taking a 3 mile walk every morning. I can remember seeing people walking around and really feeling jealous and angry as I thought "That person doesn't know how lucky she is to be walking. She doesn't even know to be grateful. I hate her." Really – and I'm not a hateful person. Pain and immobility can really alter one's perspective. Babette – I'm wishing you the best tomorrow as you see your surgeon and hoping this one is the one that turns things around. And @katp, I don't have a magic mix either. Wish I did. I hope you get some relief.

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Read your post. Enjoy.
Having arthroscopic on 24th. Scar tissue causing patella clunk. Back to OS on nov. 8th. Range of motion 118 and -4. After tissue removal how long is PT usually if range is good.

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@dickiedo

Read your post. Enjoy.
Having arthroscopic on 24th. Scar tissue causing patella clunk. Back to OS on nov. 8th. Range of motion 118 and -4. After tissue removal how long is PT usually if range is good.

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Mine is on going very slow progression my physical therapist wants me to do 30 minutes a day at home and it’s frustrating and sometimes I don’t do it we’re all different you might recover very quickly

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@rayreich3

Mine is on going very slow progression my physical therapist wants me to do 30 minutes a day at home and it’s frustrating and sometimes I don’t do it we’re all different you might recover very quickly

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What exactly is it you are to do 30 min a day.

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@rayreich3

Mine is on going very slow progression my physical therapist wants me to do 30 minutes a day at home and it’s frustrating and sometimes I don’t do it we’re all different you might recover very quickly

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@rayreich3 @dickiedo it’s amazing how differently we all react to TKRs. I suspect for people with scar tissue that really being faithful to PT is the only possible remedy, if there is any. I’ve come to realize how fortunate I have been to not have had these problems after either of my TKRs.
I think a successful TKR requires a great surgeon but even the best possible surgeon can’t do anything about a person whose body generates scar tissue.
I hope you both have some success in defeating this problem. If you do please keep us updated, there are so many with this or similar problems.
JK

Liked by sophiecat

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