What is the best method for breaking up scar tissue after knee surgery?

Over time, scar tissue is often re-absorbed by the body and more elastic tissue laid down. The extent to which this process occurs depends on a number of factors: the nature of the injury, the circumstances surrounding its repair, your age, genetics and lifestyle choices.

Slow, thoughtful, rigorous progressive resistance movements applied to exercises like quadriceps extension (use a unilateral “Hammer” type of machine if you have access to one), supported one-legged squats, hack squats, leg curls (also unilateral, if possible) at different angles, etc. are good for this. But take care and proceed with caution, weight is not as important here as form and volume (high number of reps/set).

The major problem after surgery here is not necessarily the scar tissue formed from the cut (or cuts) made during the surgery into the surrounding skin and muscle, but the reformation and remodelling of the repaired connective tissue.

The tissue laid down after is always going to be of an inferior quality to the original, uninjured ligament and tendon material. The formation and arrangement of the cells will not be of the same standard. Medical technology, at this point in time at least, doesn’t offer you much to remedy this sorry state of affairs.

This is why it is important to start off with a rehabilitation strategy soon after surgery. This period is the critical and most sensitive part of the time frame of the recovery process and needs to be handled with some finesse and guts.

Getting the best out of the physiological remodelling processes depends a great deal upon getting in there quick, getting in there right and proceeding with care and caution.

Knee rehab, it’s a tricky business.

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