Just What I Kneeded

What happens after a life-altering knee injury?

Scar tissue


Scar tissue. It’s a necessary and natural part of the healing process. It’s also a song by the Red Hot Chili Peppers. “Scar tissue that I wish you saw/Sarcastic Mr. Know-It-All…” Then there’s a lot of singing about birds. Yeah, I don’t know either.

I was warned by my surgeon to expect a rather large incision after surgery. He pointed to the two places on my knee where it would begin and end. I’ve measured it now, and it’s just a hair over 6 inches. It seemed longer to me, but I guess that’s because it’s my knee that I’m looking at. My knee isn’t exactly scar-free to begin with, and I haven’t worried too much about scars before because I just figure they serve as reminders. But I wanted to be more proactive about this scar because it’s, by far, the longest one.

The last time I saw my PT, I got the ok to begin massaging my scar. So I consulted YouTube as soon as I got home. Obviously. I wanted to see if there were different techniques for massaging a scar and breaking up the scar tissue that could build up under the skin incision.

There were a few videos that purported to tell me what I need to know about massaging scar tissue, but the one that I liked was this video from a masseuse in Kentucky. I can easily do all but the last technique that she demonstrates. The last one is a “skin roll” that I’ll try when my scar isn’t quite so tender.

The whole purpose of the massage is to break up any scar tissue that might keep me from having full range of motion (ROM). To that end, I’m working on the scar at the same time that I do my exercises. Not every single time, but a few times a day. I have no clue what’s enough or what’s too much.

I took a picture of the scar today, and I’ll keep track over the next few weeks to see if it’s making a difference. I’m also using some lotion with Vitamin E and alternating with Bio-Oil. I’ve definitely heard about Mederma, but I’ve never used it. Turns out the active ingredient is onion, and research has not exactly proven the effectiveness of the cream. It’s also expensive, so instead, I might just start rubbing onions on my knee.

Scar at 4 weeks

I have to admit that the scar doesn’t look all that bad in this picture. I think it looks worse on me. You can see there is some puckering around the scar where, I can only assume, the internal stitches are still holding things together. The small, almost butterfly-shaped scar at the bottom is from my arthroscopy last year. I’ll post another picture in a month or so to see how the scar looks after doing the massage and using the lotion.


Author: Laura

I have a fern I named Frankenstein. I like leprechauns, practicing kung fu moves on my dining room furniture, and pretending that one day I will move to Fiji. I dislike my neighbors' kids, anything that is chartreuse, and Ben Roethlisberger.

2 thoughts on “Scar tissue

  1. Ah yes, cross friction massage. it’s a punk, but keep on keepin’ on, my fellow Laura. In the long run, it will pay off and really will help with your achievement of full ROM. On the days that PT is especially hard, know I’m thinking of you and cheering you silently along in your journey to returning fully to your kung fu moves on your dining room furniture.

  2. Hey LG! Thanks for the encouragement! I think that, when the PT really gets tough, I’m going to need a cheering squad to accompany me to my appointments. I’m sure that won’t bother anyone there…

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