One of the primary concerns associated with knee scar tissue is its impact on joint mobility. The denser nature of scar tissue can restrict the range of motion in the knee joint. This limitation may result in discomfort, stiffness, and difficulty performing everyday activities. Physical therapy and targeted exercises can help manage these issues by gradually breaking down and reorganizing the scar tissue. Additionally, specialized techniques like massage, stretching, and ultrasound therapy may be employed to improve flexibility and restore optimal function.

Physical therapist working to heal knee scar tissue.

If your knee scar tissue is causing you significant discomfort or limiting your range of motion, it’s important to consult a healthcare professional.

  1. Persistent Pain or Discomfort: If you experience ongoing pain, discomfort, or aching in your knee, especially near a previous injury or surgery, it’s advisable to seek medical attention. This is particularly crucial if the pain interferes with your daily activities or quality of life.
  2. Limited Range of Motion: If you notice a reduction in your ability to extend or flex your knee fully, or if you’re having difficulty with activities that require bending or straightening your leg, it’s a good idea to consult a healthcare professional. Limited range of motion could be a sign of restrictive scar tissue.
  3. Stiffness or Tightness: If you feel a sense of stiffness or tightness in your knee that doesn’t improve with gentle stretching or mobility exercises, it’s worth discussing with a doctor. Scar tissue can contribute to these sensations and may require specific interventions.
  4. Recurrent Instability or Weakness: If your knee feels unstable, wobbly, or weak, especially after a previous injury or surgery, it’s important to have a qualified medical professional assess it. Scar tissue can sometimes interfere with joint stability, increasing the risk of further injuries.
  5. Noticeable Swelling or Redness: If you observe any unusual swelling, redness, or warmth around your knee, it could indicate inflammation related to scar tissue. A healthcare provider should evaluate this to rule out any potential complications.

Treatment for Knee Scar Tissue

Woman with knee scar tissue wearing a brace.

The treatment plan for knee scar tissue depends on the severity of the issue and how it’s affecting your mobility and comfort.

  1. Physical Therapy: A physical therapist can design a targeted exercise program to improve knee flexibility, strength, and range of motion. They may use manual manipulation, stretching, and specialized exercises to break down scar tissue and enhance joint function.
  2. Massage and Soft Tissue Mobilization: Skilled therapists can use massage techniques and manual manipulation to help break down scar tissue and improve blood flow to the affected area. This can help reduce pain and increase mobility.
  3. Arthroscopic Surgery: Sometimes, your surgeon will suggest arthrolysis, a minimally invasive surgery to remove scar tissue. This treatment is becoming common. 

Additional Resources