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?

I’m going for pool PT now. PT puts on tape but said rub it on – it’s the friction that keeps it on. I does make a difference – last for days even w showers.

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I had my first TKR 7 weeks ago and now am dealing with painful scar tissue as well Trying to work with PT to avoid manipulation as I have read varying reports of success with these procedures this is a very frustrating time and the PT is so very painful

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@tudorbeach

I had my first TKR 7 weeks ago and now am dealing with painful scar tissue as well Trying to work with PT to avoid manipulation as I have read varying reports of success with these procedures this is a very frustrating time and the PT is so very painful

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I feel your pain. I kept waiting for PT to less painful. Tomorrow will be visit # 15 and I can barely tolerate it. I am off all strong pain meds, so I did break down and take a vicodin 90 minutes prior. I think it helped. Use a roller on scar tissue….heat and ice to break it up. Keep moving. Don’t baby it.

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I had my left TKR 8 years ago when I was 44. My body created scar tissue fast. I had to have a manipulation 5 weeks after the original surgery. I went to PT religiously. I even slept with my CPM on. My body continued to grow scar tissue no matter what I did. I had arthroscopic surgery 7 months later to remove the scar tissue. My body made more scar tissue.
For the next surgery, they placed an outpatient epidural in my lower spine. 2 incisions were made on either side of my knee to clean out the scar tissue under my knee. The doctor arthroscopically remove the scar tissue on top. I was doing well with PT until the 5th week. I started hallucinating and was in extreme pain. I was taken to the emergency room by ambulance. They thought I was drug seeking and sent me home. My husband had been out of town and when he returned, he took me to the hospital. They thought I was drug seeking and sent me home. I was finally able to contact my surgeon (the emergency room refused to call him), and was admitted when I went back to the hospital. They removed the epidural. It turned out that I had a spinal infection up to T10. I was sent to a hospital that had an infectious diseases ward. I was told not to move. They put me on some very strong meds for the pain. I was released 6 days later. In descending order of what the doctors expected to happen to me was: death, quadriplegic, paraplegic, or like I am now. I lost all of my mobility in my left knee. I don’t remember things very well anymore, and I search for words when speaking.
I had my 2nd TKR 11 months later done by a different doctor. Again, I worked at PT and did my home exercises. I went to PT and stayed until my therapist said that I had to go home. But again, my body started growing scar tissue. My leg was permanently stuck at 45 degrees. This doctor refused to see me anymore. I found another doctor who couldn’t help me, but referred me to 3 other doctors that were in LA, Chicago, and Boston. The LA doctor wasn’t accepting new patients. I saw the other two for evaluations. Both refused to help. Apparently, I was too much of a liability considering my history. I was referred back to my original surgeon.
He came up with a plan. The first surgery was done arthroscopically to remove scar tissue on top of my knee. The second surgery, a year later, removed the scar tissue underneath my knee. Again went to PT and did everything I could.
That was 3 years ago. I’m now 52 years old. My current range of motion is 20-50 degrees on a good day. I use a cane to walk. I haven’t been able to go back to my job because I’m not very steady on my feet. I am in constant pain. 6 months ago, I had a Radio Frequency Ablation procedure to reduce the pain. I kills the nerves so there isn’t any pain. It’s a short term treatment that’s supposed to last 1 year. My pain started to come back after 4 months.
Believe it or not, neither of my surgeons have done anything wrong. This is how my knee is.

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OMG HOW HORRIFIC SO Terrible how a generally successful surgery turned out to be your nightmare my sympathies

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WOW…..I am so sorry! This sounds like a nightmare!

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@kibe75

Hi. Just joined today after finding this thread while googling about scar tissue after knee replacement. I am 42 years old and 6 weeks out from a partial knee replacement, at my post op visit this week was basically scolded by the PA I saw about my flexion and extension (9-100) and was told with “only” a partial I should be back to my pre-op of 0-130 and break up the scar tissue. I left that visit so discouraged. I have been doing my physical therapy religiously daily, but the pain has been so bad that I’m in tears most days. The PA upped my physical therapy appointments back to 3x/week. My physical therapist said yesterday that he feels somewhat responsible in the development of the scar tissue because he should have been more aggressive from the beginning but because of the severe pain I was in backed off some hoping that as the pain subsided I would be able to tolerate more. Well, the pain hasn’t subsided but I’m still having to push more through the pain to try to get “normal”. I was in tears at physical therapy from the pushing he was doing on the knee to get it to bend further and to break up that tissue. I’m back on the Diclofenac I was pre surgery to try to help with the inflammation and was given Tramadol to take before PT and at night to help with the pain, unfortunately that doesn’t really help much. I feel like every time I call my surgeon’s office to ask for something more for the pain I’m treated like a drug seeker. I was told that if I don’t make significant progress in the next couple of weeks, I would probably be needing a manipulation. I’ve been through 3 surgeries in the past year (knee scope-where the severe osteoarthritis was discovered, the partial knee replacement, and gallbladder removal), that thinking about anesthesia again makes me ill – and I’m almost out of medical leave benefit. My emotions are all over the place these days. Thanks for letting me vent, for reading, and for helping me to realize I’m not so alone in this journey.

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Had another follow up today (16 weeks since my partial knee replacement) – have been having a lot more pain since last week while walking, intense sharp pain where it stops me in my tracks. I'm back to using a cane when walking to make sure I don't fall. My surgeon said there is nothing wrong, it's just normal postoperative pain and that I'm a "straggler" when it comes to recovery. He told me to up my neurontin to 2 a night to see if that helps so I can sleep, about once a week I've been taking one of the hydrocodone I have left just so I can get one night of ok sleep a week. Otherwise, he said I just need to keep at it. My flexion is "excellent" according to him, which was really good to hear, but he still isn't happy with my extension. Still doing physical therapy twice a week to get work on that. This has been so trying and wearing on me, I'm not even the same person I was before this happened. I was started on an anti-depressant about a month ago. My surgeon could tell this is really challenging me in a lot of ways. He spent a lot of time just talking to me and encouraging me. Because of the pain in my right knee, my left knee is now starting to bother me (I had been told I have osteoarthritis in that knee as well), and I'm very concerned about it – I don't want to have to go through this again with that knee.

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@kibe75

Hi. Just joined today after finding this thread while googling about scar tissue after knee replacement. I am 42 years old and 6 weeks out from a partial knee replacement, at my post op visit this week was basically scolded by the PA I saw about my flexion and extension (9-100) and was told with “only” a partial I should be back to my pre-op of 0-130 and break up the scar tissue. I left that visit so discouraged. I have been doing my physical therapy religiously daily, but the pain has been so bad that I’m in tears most days. The PA upped my physical therapy appointments back to 3x/week. My physical therapist said yesterday that he feels somewhat responsible in the development of the scar tissue because he should have been more aggressive from the beginning but because of the severe pain I was in backed off some hoping that as the pain subsided I would be able to tolerate more. Well, the pain hasn’t subsided but I’m still having to push more through the pain to try to get “normal”. I was in tears at physical therapy from the pushing he was doing on the knee to get it to bend further and to break up that tissue. I’m back on the Diclofenac I was pre surgery to try to help with the inflammation and was given Tramadol to take before PT and at night to help with the pain, unfortunately that doesn’t really help much. I feel like every time I call my surgeon’s office to ask for something more for the pain I’m treated like a drug seeker. I was told that if I don’t make significant progress in the next couple of weeks, I would probably be needing a manipulation. I’ve been through 3 surgeries in the past year (knee scope-where the severe osteoarthritis was discovered, the partial knee replacement, and gallbladder removal), that thinking about anesthesia again makes me ill – and I’m almost out of medical leave benefit. My emotions are all over the place these days. Thanks for letting me vent, for reading, and for helping me to realize I’m not so alone in this journey.

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welcome to the club. Its been 5 years. knee is still swollen, aches, especially after exercise. My other knee was worn out so went to stem cells. Due to get a booster shot this spring to keep arthritis away. I did not want another nightmare experience of having another tkr. I do know people to have good luck with there tkr. Not sure why some have no problems and others suffer.

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@kibe75

Hi. Just joined today after finding this thread while googling about scar tissue after knee replacement. I am 42 years old and 6 weeks out from a partial knee replacement, at my post op visit this week was basically scolded by the PA I saw about my flexion and extension (9-100) and was told with “only” a partial I should be back to my pre-op of 0-130 and break up the scar tissue. I left that visit so discouraged. I have been doing my physical therapy religiously daily, but the pain has been so bad that I’m in tears most days. The PA upped my physical therapy appointments back to 3x/week. My physical therapist said yesterday that he feels somewhat responsible in the development of the scar tissue because he should have been more aggressive from the beginning but because of the severe pain I was in backed off some hoping that as the pain subsided I would be able to tolerate more. Well, the pain hasn’t subsided but I’m still having to push more through the pain to try to get “normal”. I was in tears at physical therapy from the pushing he was doing on the knee to get it to bend further and to break up that tissue. I’m back on the Diclofenac I was pre surgery to try to help with the inflammation and was given Tramadol to take before PT and at night to help with the pain, unfortunately that doesn’t really help much. I feel like every time I call my surgeon’s office to ask for something more for the pain I’m treated like a drug seeker. I was told that if I don’t make significant progress in the next couple of weeks, I would probably be needing a manipulation. I’ve been through 3 surgeries in the past year (knee scope-where the severe osteoarthritis was discovered, the partial knee replacement, and gallbladder removal), that thinking about anesthesia again makes me ill – and I’m almost out of medical leave benefit. My emotions are all over the place these days. Thanks for letting me vent, for reading, and for helping me to realize I’m not so alone in this journey.

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I would've loved to do stem cells instead due to my age and knowing I'll need at least one revision in my lifetime, but insurance wouldn't cover it and I don't have the money to pay for it out of pocket. Before doing the PKR I also tried to get insurance approval for a cartilage transplant, but that wouldn't be covered either. So now I feel stuck. I remain hopeful though that eventually things will even out and get better, just was hoping to be a little further along at this point, and not having to take time out of work for physical therapy still.

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I had a TKR October 1 and a manipulation mid February. Got sick at hospital and confined to bed for a few days which made the manipulation almost useless. Started therapy 3 times a week. No improvement yet. Pain is still there not as extreme but not good. Frustrating. I was better off before TkR.

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@mickie75

I had a TKR October 1 and a manipulation mid February. Got sick at hospital and confined to bed for a few days which made the manipulation almost useless. Started therapy 3 times a week. No improvement yet. Pain is still there not as extreme but not good. Frustrating. I was better off before TkR.

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welcome to the club. i was told water therapy but everytime i did it my knee swelled. still does 5 years later/

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I feel the same I was better off before the surgery medical science doesn’t know which person will be successful and which will not after knee replacement in my case it’s an over abundance of scar tissue waiting for June to have it removed arthroscopically hopefully that will solve good luck

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@kibe75

Hi. Just joined today after finding this thread while googling about scar tissue after knee replacement. I am 42 years old and 6 weeks out from a partial knee replacement, at my post op visit this week was basically scolded by the PA I saw about my flexion and extension (9-100) and was told with “only” a partial I should be back to my pre-op of 0-130 and break up the scar tissue. I left that visit so discouraged. I have been doing my physical therapy religiously daily, but the pain has been so bad that I’m in tears most days. The PA upped my physical therapy appointments back to 3x/week. My physical therapist said yesterday that he feels somewhat responsible in the development of the scar tissue because he should have been more aggressive from the beginning but because of the severe pain I was in backed off some hoping that as the pain subsided I would be able to tolerate more. Well, the pain hasn’t subsided but I’m still having to push more through the pain to try to get “normal”. I was in tears at physical therapy from the pushing he was doing on the knee to get it to bend further and to break up that tissue. I’m back on the Diclofenac I was pre surgery to try to help with the inflammation and was given Tramadol to take before PT and at night to help with the pain, unfortunately that doesn’t really help much. I feel like every time I call my surgeon’s office to ask for something more for the pain I’m treated like a drug seeker. I was told that if I don’t make significant progress in the next couple of weeks, I would probably be needing a manipulation. I’ve been through 3 surgeries in the past year (knee scope-where the severe osteoarthritis was discovered, the partial knee replacement, and gallbladder removal), that thinking about anesthesia again makes me ill – and I’m almost out of medical leave benefit. My emotions are all over the place these days. Thanks for letting me vent, for reading, and for helping me to realize I’m not so alone in this journey.

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I hear your pain and frustration…..I am now 3 months out and the night pain is so unpredictable. Sometimes tolerable, and sometimes off the charts. I always ask myself what I did differently either at home or at the gym that day. I can walk okay but slow. Not my usual pace. I too have been so so disappointed at my results for a TKR. I am still at the gym 3 days a week. On leg press, 30 minutes on a tall bike where my knee is almost fully extended, abductor and adductor machines, and really anything to make my quads stronger so I can work on a better leg extension. I am religious about this routine. If I had it to do over again, I would never have had this done in winter. Not a time for healing and feeling better. Thats for sure. My other knee was done in late April, 9 years ago and recovery was nothing like this. I was so positive and hopeful going into this and now I doubt my actions. PT 2 days a week is over, and it was sheer torture every visit. I wondered if that keep me from healing. Keep the faith. You are lucky. You have more time under your belt with your knee than me.

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@kibe75

Hi. Just joined today after finding this thread while googling about scar tissue after knee replacement. I am 42 years old and 6 weeks out from a partial knee replacement, at my post op visit this week was basically scolded by the PA I saw about my flexion and extension (9-100) and was told with “only” a partial I should be back to my pre-op of 0-130 and break up the scar tissue. I left that visit so discouraged. I have been doing my physical therapy religiously daily, but the pain has been so bad that I’m in tears most days. The PA upped my physical therapy appointments back to 3x/week. My physical therapist said yesterday that he feels somewhat responsible in the development of the scar tissue because he should have been more aggressive from the beginning but because of the severe pain I was in backed off some hoping that as the pain subsided I would be able to tolerate more. Well, the pain hasn’t subsided but I’m still having to push more through the pain to try to get “normal”. I was in tears at physical therapy from the pushing he was doing on the knee to get it to bend further and to break up that tissue. I’m back on the Diclofenac I was pre surgery to try to help with the inflammation and was given Tramadol to take before PT and at night to help with the pain, unfortunately that doesn’t really help much. I feel like every time I call my surgeon’s office to ask for something more for the pain I’m treated like a drug seeker. I was told that if I don’t make significant progress in the next couple of weeks, I would probably be needing a manipulation. I’ve been through 3 surgeries in the past year (knee scope-where the severe osteoarthritis was discovered, the partial knee replacement, and gallbladder removal), that thinking about anesthesia again makes me ill – and I’m almost out of medical leave benefit. My emotions are all over the place these days. Thanks for letting me vent, for reading, and for helping me to realize I’m not so alone in this journey.

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Thanks for your comments. I am nearing my 3 month mark and escaped  manipulation, thankfully I am now switching to strengthening exercises and have 2 more PT visits.I feel I have turned the corner at night, having slept 6 hrs uninterrupted past 2 nightsHoping to get back to golf this seasonDeb

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@kibe75

Hi. Just joined today after finding this thread while googling about scar tissue after knee replacement. I am 42 years old and 6 weeks out from a partial knee replacement, at my post op visit this week was basically scolded by the PA I saw about my flexion and extension (9-100) and was told with “only” a partial I should be back to my pre-op of 0-130 and break up the scar tissue. I left that visit so discouraged. I have been doing my physical therapy religiously daily, but the pain has been so bad that I’m in tears most days. The PA upped my physical therapy appointments back to 3x/week. My physical therapist said yesterday that he feels somewhat responsible in the development of the scar tissue because he should have been more aggressive from the beginning but because of the severe pain I was in backed off some hoping that as the pain subsided I would be able to tolerate more. Well, the pain hasn’t subsided but I’m still having to push more through the pain to try to get “normal”. I was in tears at physical therapy from the pushing he was doing on the knee to get it to bend further and to break up that tissue. I’m back on the Diclofenac I was pre surgery to try to help with the inflammation and was given Tramadol to take before PT and at night to help with the pain, unfortunately that doesn’t really help much. I feel like every time I call my surgeon’s office to ask for something more for the pain I’m treated like a drug seeker. I was told that if I don’t make significant progress in the next couple of weeks, I would probably be needing a manipulation. I’ve been through 3 surgeries in the past year (knee scope-where the severe osteoarthritis was discovered, the partial knee replacement, and gallbladder removal), that thinking about anesthesia again makes me ill – and I’m almost out of medical leave benefit. My emotions are all over the place these days. Thanks for letting me vent, for reading, and for helping me to realize I’m not so alone in this journey.

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@kibe75, I completely understand your frustration. I had a TKR in 2006 when I was 19. My initial recovery was quite frustrating and difficult. I had to have two manipulations from aggressive scar tissue formation. I was battling an atrophied knee joint from end-stage arthritis that started when I was nine years old. The muscle and ligament atrophy combined with aggressive scar tissue formation made for an extremely difficult recovery. It took well over a year that included manipulations, pain management, and physical therapy to get to my new normal, which I am happy to report is 0-110 degree ROM. I know the frustration you are experiencing, but it can get better, even if it doesn't seem like it will.

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