Scar Tissue and Adhesions

Symptoms

Symptoms of post-surgical scarring include limited range of motion or persistent discomfort in a joint that has undergone one or more surgical procedures. Other symptoms can include tough or rigid patches in muscle tissue surrounding a post-surgical site, and crunching or “creaky” sensations through a range of motion.

Causes

Post-surgical scarring is the scar tissue left in or around a site after any injury or surgical procedure. Scar tissue can also be the result of an injury that has not been formally or properly treated. Repetitive rolling of the ankle or hyperextension of the knee, although not necessarily requiring medical or surgical intervention, can damage muscles, tendons or ligaments and leave scar tissue behind.

shutterstock_159548795Background

Scar tissue is a term used to describe the tissue that replaces fibrous connective tissue that has been damaged. It is a tough tissue that is not as functional as the tissue that previously occupied the space. Scar tissue can form on the skin (visual scars left behind by cuts or puncture wounds) or within muscle tissue, tendons, ligaments or internal organs. After a surgical procedure, a joint may be structurally intact and healthy, but repaired or damaged tissue can be less functional than the tissue that was once present. The scar tissue has a limited blood supply and is therefore limited in terms of circulation, movement or sensation. Typically, scar tissue is accompanied by adhesions or the sticking together of adjacent tissues that would optimally move freely and independent of one another. These adhesions can further limit range of motion and function post-surgery and cause pain.

Aligned Medical Group’s Approach

A treatment plan often includes joint mobilization or manipulation, therapeutic stretching and strengthening exercises, muscle stimulation, ice therapy or moist heat application. In addition to these therapies, Graston Technique is a very effective and specialized treatment that aids in breaking up scar tissue and adhesions and restores range of motion to an affected joint. During this therapy, stainless steel instruments are used to glide along the scar tissue to enhance mobility and encourage resorption.