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?

@gordoapa

I had tkr on January 29,2018. I had 10 therapy sessions with the Pt. I had my pt manipulate the scar tissue with her thumbs on every sessions, I did my exercises at the gym. She also did dry kneedling when ever she found a tight spot on the thigh that was hindering the bend. The last few days I was instructed to bend my knee every 30 minutes even if I was sitting in a chair. I had a steady progress with many hours of hard work. She finally discharged me yesterday. I was very fortunate to be able to measure at 142 degree bend. I owe my success to lots of scar tissue manipulation by the Pt and the spinning bike. I was also very religious doing all the exercises I was told to do. I still can feel little snapping of the scar tissue in the knee while I’m biking. I had my other knee replaced in 2011 and it has a bend 146 degrees. I just wanted to share my success story so it might be an inspiration for someone.

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That’s an absolutely amazing degree of flexibility! Did you have a steady increase, or was it more towards the end when the swelling went down.? I’ve noticed a shift in just the last couple of days. My walking is almost normal. I’m just coming off of the golf course having played nine holes today and yesterday. I purchased a pulsating massager That I used for the first time yesterday. I really think it made a difference and I was able to sleep for the first time. I’m going to keep up with the Massage and PT and all of the exercises in the hopes that I can get to at least 130. Congrats on your success!

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@gordoapa

I had tkr on January 29,2018. I had 10 therapy sessions with the Pt. I had my pt manipulate the scar tissue with her thumbs on every sessions, I did my exercises at the gym. She also did dry kneedling when ever she found a tight spot on the thigh that was hindering the bend. The last few days I was instructed to bend my knee every 30 minutes even if I was sitting in a chair. I had a steady progress with many hours of hard work. She finally discharged me yesterday. I was very fortunate to be able to measure at 142 degree bend. I owe my success to lots of scar tissue manipulation by the Pt and the spinning bike. I was also very religious doing all the exercises I was told to do. I still can feel little snapping of the scar tissue in the knee while I’m biking. I had my other knee replaced in 2011 and it has a bend 146 degrees. I just wanted to share my success story so it might be an inspiration for someone.

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It was pretty steady. 5 days after the surgery the Pt measured me at 50, I still had the staples on the incision at that time. It was 80 the week after when I saw her again. My Pt used the tape that most athletes use to help with the bruises and swelling. It went steady from there 90, 98, 108, 120, into 130s. After 138 I had a set back and she measured me at 120 but she worked on it 7ntill she measure at 139, and it measured 140 and the last session at 142. I got released from the therapist yesterday And am enjoying a free day today but will be at it tomorrow morning to keep it 140s.

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@gordoapa

I had tkr on January 29,2018. I had 10 therapy sessions with the Pt. I had my pt manipulate the scar tissue with her thumbs on every sessions, I did my exercises at the gym. She also did dry kneedling when ever she found a tight spot on the thigh that was hindering the bend. The last few days I was instructed to bend my knee every 30 minutes even if I was sitting in a chair. I had a steady progress with many hours of hard work. She finally discharged me yesterday. I was very fortunate to be able to measure at 142 degree bend. I owe my success to lots of scar tissue manipulation by the Pt and the spinning bike. I was also very religious doing all the exercises I was told to do. I still can feel little snapping of the scar tissue in the knee while I’m biking. I had my other knee replaced in 2011 and it has a bend 146 degrees. I just wanted to share my success story so it might be an inspiration for someone.

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That’s awesome- and good to know if I have a setback it’s not the end of the world. I think everything will be worth it if I can get more flex- I’m sure u will

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@JustinMcClanahan

Hello @leithlane, welcome to Connect.

This is an experience very close to my own. I had my right knee replaced in 2006. I also had aggressive scar tissue immediately after my knee replacement. Ultimately, I had to have two post-surgery knee manipulations where they put me back under and broke the scar tissue up by bending my knee manually. Even after those two manipulations I still had issues with scar tissue. It took almost a full year and a half until I ended up breaking the scar tissue loose on my own when I jumped and landed awkwardly. Although it may be frustrating, sticking with your PT is a must.

I would like to invite @mnpat, @basa, @winning, @joanney, @emme, @kerri123, @gailfaith, @cautiousoptimism, @cheris, @ronnie3716, and @amberpep, to this discussion as they have all had knee replacements and may be able to provide some thoughts on their experiences with scar tissue after surgery.

@leithlane, have you heard of or tried a brace with hand cranks on it that you use to help with straightening and bending your knee? What does your therapist/surgeon say about your scar tissue problems?

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Hello all, I had a TKR of my left knee 4 months ago. I am stuck at about 95 degrees flexion. I have very sharp pain behind the knee when trying to bend past that. The MRI shows a very swollen Popiteal muscle, but my doctor says this is unusual and isn't quite sure what is causing this sharp pain. I was taken out of p.t. and just resumed it again. The pain sometimes is on the outer side of the knee as well. Has anyone experienced this sharp pain behind the Knee? This is really prohibiting the ability to bend the stupid knee! I have crazy tightness across the knee as well. I'm guessing scar tissue is the cause? Unfortunately, I have a bad ankle/foot on the opposite side too, it makes walking a challenge. I knew the recovery would be harder due to my limitations, I'm just frustrated, upset and hoping for a positive turn around. This site is great, the info I've read from everyone is so helpful. So, anyone with this behind the knee pain PLEASE…id love any info you have. Thank you

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@JustinMcClanahan

Hello @leithlane, welcome to Connect.

This is an experience very close to my own. I had my right knee replaced in 2006. I also had aggressive scar tissue immediately after my knee replacement. Ultimately, I had to have two post-surgery knee manipulations where they put me back under and broke the scar tissue up by bending my knee manually. Even after those two manipulations I still had issues with scar tissue. It took almost a full year and a half until I ended up breaking the scar tissue loose on my own when I jumped and landed awkwardly. Although it may be frustrating, sticking with your PT is a must.

I would like to invite @mnpat, @basa, @winning, @joanney, @emme, @kerri123, @gailfaith, @cautiousoptimism, @cheris, @ronnie3716, and @amberpep, to this discussion as they have all had knee replacements and may be able to provide some thoughts on their experiences with scar tissue after surgery.

@leithlane, have you heard of or tried a brace with hand cranks on it that you use to help with straightening and bending your knee? What does your therapist/surgeon say about your scar tissue problems?

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Hi Charlie,I am 31/2 months outI don’t have pain behind my knee but I continue to have swellingI am trying to do more walking but have been told the swelling may take 6 months to resolveTudor beach 

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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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After the first TKR failed, 2nd TKR was done 2 yrs later. I will never have another one. The pain was too sever for me. I will never have another TKR done! It has taken 4 yrs for the calf muscles to have feelings

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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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It’s been 4 months for me since my double. Had poor flex and they went back in and manipulated me at the 7 week mark. Immediately scar tissue built back up again even as I went to PT daily.
I’m slowly building up flex. I went to a massage person that specialized in the lymphatic system. She got the swelling down pretty quickly.
I’m at 115 and 120. I’m hoping I’ll get more flex or they’ll have to go in orthiscopically.
St Patty’s day I ran into another gimp in a bar. He had knee replacement the same day I did and was struggling with pain in the back of his knee. His surgeon thought it was scar tissue and was waiting a few months to go in and clear it out.
Ice, ice , ice! That’s what everyone has told me to do. It does seem to help. Hang in there. Linda

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@golfshrink

I’m 53 and had a double total knee replacement 3 1/2 months ago. I knew it was going to be hard work, but it’s been an agonizing winter. My Dr opted to do an early manipulation when I could only get 90 degree flex.
The manipulation allowed me to get to 125 degrees, but progressively my flex lessened even though I did daily, brutal PT. After being treated like a failure by my surgeon and enduring screaming crying PT sessions, I opted to go with a gentler approach. I’m praying I’m making the right decision as everyone has scared the crap out of me that I have a limited time before scar tissue can’t be moved.
I see a massage therapist twice a week who specializes in lymphatic drainage and a PT person who doesn’t force my knees to bend, but has me use gravity to improve flex and strength. I also use theCMS machine even though studies say they don’t help.
Ok- that was a long winded intro to ask if anyone has ever used the pulsating massagers that supposedly can break up scar tissue . Thinking about getting one, but seems to good to be true.

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I am very interested in hearing how you ROM is going using this kinder, gentler PT. I told my pysical therapist that I do not want him to hurt me when he stetches me. Mainly because he doesn't stop as soon as I say enough. So now he has me pushing myself and he watches. At home I use gravity to bend and stretch. I haven't been to PT since Friday, (go back tomorrow) and my bend and stretch is the same when I get up and when I go to bed. When PT was forcing everything by the time I went to bed I couldn't bend or straighten my knee for the swelling. Please post back how it is going for you.

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@golfshrink

I’m 53 and had a double total knee replacement 3 1/2 months ago. I knew it was going to be hard work, but it’s been an agonizing winter. My Dr opted to do an early manipulation when I could only get 90 degree flex.
The manipulation allowed me to get to 125 degrees, but progressively my flex lessened even though I did daily, brutal PT. After being treated like a failure by my surgeon and enduring screaming crying PT sessions, I opted to go with a gentler approach. I’m praying I’m making the right decision as everyone has scared the crap out of me that I have a limited time before scar tissue can’t be moved.
I see a massage therapist twice a week who specializes in lymphatic drainage and a PT person who doesn’t force my knees to bend, but has me use gravity to improve flex and strength. I also use theCMS machine even though studies say they don’t help.
Ok- that was a long winded intro to ask if anyone has ever used the pulsating massagers that supposedly can break up scar tissue . Thinking about getting one, but seems to good to be true.

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Hi it seems that the scar tissue is the issue so my PT just keeps massaging the scar tissue for 30 minutes and asked me to do 30 minutes each day between visits I believe it’s helping I have 3 days feeling better than one day regression but he says that’s normal

I think the scar tissue is the issue.  the muscles around the knee start to ache because they haven’t been used in the same way as before the surgery, We are also different in our recovery and how much scar tissue we produce some people go through the PT pain

others say no take a gentler approach, after 10months I am going the gentle and patient route.

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@golfshrink

I’m 53 and had a double total knee replacement 3 1/2 months ago. I knew it was going to be hard work, but it’s been an agonizing winter. My Dr opted to do an early manipulation when I could only get 90 degree flex.
The manipulation allowed me to get to 125 degrees, but progressively my flex lessened even though I did daily, brutal PT. After being treated like a failure by my surgeon and enduring screaming crying PT sessions, I opted to go with a gentler approach. I’m praying I’m making the right decision as everyone has scared the crap out of me that I have a limited time before scar tissue can’t be moved.
I see a massage therapist twice a week who specializes in lymphatic drainage and a PT person who doesn’t force my knees to bend, but has me use gravity to improve flex and strength. I also use theCMS machine even though studies say they don’t help.
Ok- that was a long winded intro to ask if anyone has ever used the pulsating massagers that supposedly can break up scar tissue . Thinking about getting one, but seems to good to be true.

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Hi I am post TKR. 18 months ago and one year ago. I found massaging the knee at night with Vitamin E oil really helped. Scars on knees very small. Also I followed a suggestion from a friend. I have a glider/rocker. Sitting in the chair gently gliding it back and forth can slowly stretch your knee. Start out slow but by positioning your knee and how much bend you want really works. You can be as gentle or as aggressive as you want. Sounds simple but it really works. Also had deep tissue massage from PT>

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@gordoapa

I had tkr on January 29,2018. I had 10 therapy sessions with the Pt. I had my pt manipulate the scar tissue with her thumbs on every sessions, I did my exercises at the gym. She also did dry kneedling when ever she found a tight spot on the thigh that was hindering the bend. The last few days I was instructed to bend my knee every 30 minutes even if I was sitting in a chair. I had a steady progress with many hours of hard work. She finally discharged me yesterday. I was very fortunate to be able to measure at 142 degree bend. I owe my success to lots of scar tissue manipulation by the Pt and the spinning bike. I was also very religious doing all the exercises I was told to do. I still can feel little snapping of the scar tissue in the knee while I’m biking. I had my other knee replaced in 2011 and it has a bend 146 degrees. I just wanted to share my success story so it might be an inspiration for someone.

ReplY

Jump to this post

How does your PT therapist work on increasing your bend? Also what type of tape are you referring to? I am 16 weeks out and want to get to 130. Seems like it will never happen. I fluctuate from 120-125. I had both TKR at the same time. Healing nicely but still pain in the left knee my PT says is soft tissue. Does that mean scar tissue? He has started scrapping to increase blood flow. Ouch

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@golfshrink

I’m 53 and had a double total knee replacement 3 1/2 months ago. I knew it was going to be hard work, but it’s been an agonizing winter. My Dr opted to do an early manipulation when I could only get 90 degree flex.
The manipulation allowed me to get to 125 degrees, but progressively my flex lessened even though I did daily, brutal PT. After being treated like a failure by my surgeon and enduring screaming crying PT sessions, I opted to go with a gentler approach. I’m praying I’m making the right decision as everyone has scared the crap out of me that I have a limited time before scar tissue can’t be moved.
I see a massage therapist twice a week who specializes in lymphatic drainage and a PT person who doesn’t force my knees to bend, but has me use gravity to improve flex and strength. I also use theCMS machine even though studies say they don’t help.
Ok- that was a long winded intro to ask if anyone has ever used the pulsating massagers that supposedly can break up scar tissue . Thinking about getting one, but seems to good to be true.

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It’s definitely all about the scar tissue! Weekly I go to a massage person that uses a suction instrument and massage to break it up. I also bought a massager. I use it at night when I can’t sleep

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This is very similar to my Father’s experience! He is now 4yrs post op TKR and continues to struggle daily with pain and generalized discomfort. The only relief he gets is thru movement- walking and exercise bike however one cannot be doing this 24hrs a day! Scarring has been said to be his issue as well. Early on he went thru the manipulation efforts and consistent PT, temp treatments etc. We have consulted several doctors in the last 4yrs and all indicate that nothing can be done as his body will continue producing this scar tissue and he must just get used to living this way. They offer no alternatives or possibilities. Is this the message all are getting? It just sounds so unreasonable from Medical professionals in this day and age! Anyone have any suggestions or success elsewhere? My father is now 73 and was a marathon runner – ran 24 NYC marathons so certainly no stranger to pain, dedication and sacrifice. Hard to see him in this situation – he is a prisoner to his knee – with no pathway for hope! 🙁

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So sorry to hear your dads problem this scar tissue is really a problem for many, if scar tissue grows back even after second manipulation or did they recommend arthroscopic surgery ?

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Unfortunately, this was not recommended. Both respected world renound specialists i had him see indicated very adamantly to “not allow anyone else to touch. He must learn to live this way.” However, I am concerned as of recent that this situation is now beginning to impact his cardiovascular health. Has anyone seen a CV component while going thru these stressful episodes of trying to force or “unstick” the scar tissue?

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