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Author Topic: Persistent stiffness/swelling at my knots/incision points, after scope  (Read 2384 times)

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Offline mello

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Hello!
I had an arthroscopy 4 months ago to fix some irregularities inside my kneecap. I got a new problem from that: strange stiffness at my incision points from the surgery, below the kneecap.

Two knots of scar tissue have been formed at the incision points. These sometimes lock up the knee, are a bit tender, and make cracking sounds, but that is quite normal I have read. It is not a big worry.

My problem is that I get all stiff around both knots and then the knee won't move properly, it will not slide along like a normal knee does. So I often have to limp a bit on this leg - which is very frustrating! I feel both knots clearly with each step I take, they resist the movement of the knee. The stiffness is concentrated around the knots.

This happens whenever I try to use my legs for something other than very short walks. For example a longer walk or standing up for some time, all lead to limping. When I have tried lighter weight training I feel pain and a lot of stiffness, so I only did that in the beginning after the surgery. If I am unlucky I can feel the effects of activities for many days afterwards.

My doctor says he has not heard about this before, usually there are no problems whatsoever with these knots...They advise me to train more legs.

The last two months I have mostly been doing some slow cycling, almost no other type of activity for the legs. I did a lot of sports before the surgery and now I do nothing. This breaks one down mentally. I easily did squats with 100+ kg before the surgery, but now I get this stiffness and some pain just doing bodyweight squats. So my problem is likely not lack of muscles, but I have managed to irritate (inflammate?) these incision points in some bizarre way.

Anyone have any experience/advice regarding this - it surely would be deeply appreciated!!

(I can help you with strength training advice, I used to be good at that before this happened)

Offline kimb

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Others can guide you more I am sure, but there are self massages you can do to help loosen scar tissue. It'll help the tissue break up.
That said, some swelling and stiffness even with a somewhat minor arthroscopy can take many months to let up. When I had mine done my OS said to expect stiffness and pain that comes and goes for up to a year, and even beyond that. The knots and the locking don't sound entirely normal to me though, especially if they are causing the knee to catch.

Offline Mistyd

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I agree with kimb, massage would be a great thing to start doing.  Moving the scar tissue around helps to break it up, dislodge it if it has adhered somewhere, and dissipate edema/swelling.  I would try this for a couple of weeks along with your normal exercises.

I do agree that it doesn't sound normal for the knee to catch due to the incisions... but I guess if you had an excess of scar tissue it could get in the way of normal movement.  I'm sorry you are going through this...always frustrating to think your problem totally resolved only to find you have a new one ???

hang in there and keep us posted on what transpires.

God Bless,

Misty
Living for the Audience of ONE: Jesus Christ

'95 -knee injury
5-'04 -knee scope cleaned up grade III tears
12-'12-knee scope cleaned up tears
2-'13-harvested cartilage for upcoming ACI
...awaiting ACI

Offline WonkeyDonkey

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I sympathise with your situation, I had my second arthroscopy four days before Christmas 2012, so am about the same post op time as yourself.
I was recommended to massage directly across my scars with Bio Oil a couple of times a day to reduce the scar tissue which had formed underneath. This needs to be done fairly hard but not hurting you. I have done this and have seen a huge change in the scar and the tissue underneath as well. I was told that the more times they use the same area for the incisions the more chances of scar tissue.
Training more may not necessarily be the right course of action, I would suggest that you see a good physio, who could help you with your situation. I see a couple of fab physios, who fully understand all the trauma my knee/leg has been through, they work with me to adjust/change and suggest exercises to help each stage of my recovery. I have had a blip in my recovery but after a visit to see one of them, I am starting a new recovery programme, hopefully leading to a better leg/knee.
Do you ice your knee at all? I find this can help in many ways, particularly after exercise and when it aches like mad.

Stay positive and keep going, it will get better

WD

Offline mello

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Thanks for your answers guys, you are great!!! It is good to have someone to talk with.

Kimb: Interesting that your doctor talked about possible stiffness up to a year! That is a long time, I have heard “one or a couple of months” previously. If that should happen it is a downer, but the upside is that a lot of positive development still can take place.

I think I should move around more, without making strenous exercise. I have been very passive the last month, mostly sitting on a chair, at work and home. It is generally good for the body to move. I am just worried that I will do too much and hinder the healing. Like I have done before.

I will try some massaging! It sounds counter-intuitive to put force on sore points that should heal, but I suppose you have had positive experiences. The knots do press against something, even though they are small.

I have done a similar arthroscopy on my other knee some years ago (also a sports related injury) and then I felt fine in about 5-6 weeks, I did not visit a physio then, I just started moving. Therefore, I am surprised now.

I have been to two physios and they said completely different things! One said rest more and it “might be some serious inflammation, perhaps an inflammation below the scars, more inside the knee”. The other said train more and “I don’t see anything wrong” and “just train through it”. I am starting to believe that the medical area is so complicated that doctors/physios/etc are wrong about as often as they are right… As patients we should think a lot beforehand and have a good dose of scepticism. These kind of “simple” procedures are always described as routine, but that is not the case.

Wonkeydonkey: I have not used ice. It sounds a bit worrying if your knee would ache like mad after exercise, perhaps the exercise is a bit too hard if that happens?

Offline WonkeyDonkey

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Hi Mello

It is not the exercise that makes the knee ache, it is general day to day living! Exercise makes it swell more i.e. more fluid, which in turn makes there less room in the knee joint so causes more aches and pains.
I am no stranger to exercise and what I can and cannot do, I have been doing physio on and off (more on than off) for over four years, so have become accustomed to how my knee feels on a good day and what is wrong on a bad day.  I have been to 8 physio's over the time and have found two that I trust completely.
My knee is still stiff and some days doesn't always want to bend, but I am working on that with and without physio's help. This is my third knee op and the one in the middle was an HTO, so am used to pain and discomfort.
My cryo cuff is my best friend and often get advised to start using it again on a flair up, to help control the swelling.
Good luck, as we all need it.
WD















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