How to Get Rid of Painful Scar Tissue

Scar tissue is essentially the body’s version of a Band-Aid.

Also known as fascia or connective tissue, scar tissue sticks around after an injury because it helps protect the injured area.

The tissue can be very sensitive to pain. It can also get tight over time and stay tender.

To get rid of this painful tissue, most people employ a technique called Myofascial Release, more commonly known as a “foam roller”. This technique sounds straightforward and easy, and it is.

The only downside of the foam roller method is that it is extremely painful. Putting all of your weight on the spot where you are most sensitive is not a gentle approach. Nor are the other techniques that people use like a tennis ball or knuckle to apply a deep tissue massage.

There is another way.

Working with the nervous system allows you to get to the source of the pain without hurting. Your body can be taken to a place of comfort and your nervous system will relax and let go of the tension.

When the tension is released those places with scar tissue will be less sensitive. While this method can take more time, it allows your body to release pain naturally so that your body responds and starts to heal itself.

The best approach to tender scar tissue is to combine these two methods into one. If you start by relieving the tension indirectly through the nervous system, you will desensitize the area after a week or two.

When most of the tension is released, you can utilize the direct approach and break up the remaining scar tissue with a foam roller or tennis ball. This won’t be as painful, and you will still see all of the results.

If you would like to try this out, you can watch my series of online videos called The Comfort Zone where you will find the 11 stretches that release the tension in your knees. Click here to get started with the Comfort Zone stretches.

I know this method is not your mainstream solution, but if you have trouble with painful scar tissue, passive stretching lets your nervous system unwind. And this release lets the pain melt away.

Comments

  1. Alan Kelch says:

    Bill,
    Thank you for taking the time reading my question. I am hoping you can give me some feed back on my condition. Short history: 2 years ago I started running. I pushed myself too much (and was not running properly) and started to have major calf tightness. Mainly at the top of my calves and behind my knee. I know now I was running to much on my toes causing my calves to work too hard and putting pressure on my knee. Like a normal hard headed guy…I tried to running it off. It got worst. Now the pain started covering my whole knee to the point I could hardly walk the next day. I had a MRI done and they said there was nothing physically wrong with my knee other then what looks like some tendonitis. Fast forward…I gave my knee a rest from running for 8 months though it was better I still couldn’t run a mile without having major pain.
    I saw a therapist and she helped me tremendously. She worked mostly on my hip, relieving tightness and some scar tissue built up. I started using a foam roller to work out the tightness in my hip and upper thighs. I started slowly running again. It has been a month since my therapy and I still have some knee pain around the sides and behind my knee when I run. Though it is not nearly as bad as it was it still effects my running. I can recreate the pain when I step into a small lunge position. I feel that it is scar tissue built up around the knee joint and/or were my calf muscle connects behind the knee.
    I am currently trying to stretch it out by doing “downward dogs” and “squats” which seems to help but not completely. I still have trouble running.
    My question: What do you think is wrong (scar tissue or muscle tightness in calf)? What can I do to fix it (graston hall treatment or a depth message)?

    Thanks again for taking the time to help,
    Alan

    • Alan – “scar tissue” is connective tissue or fascia that collects in certain areas of the body to protect it from getting injured further. There are 2 ways to deal with that direct (aka knuckles or foam roller) or indirect (passive stretching like in my book, “The Comfort Zone.” I’m not a big fan of pain of unnecessary pain. I’d try the comfort zone for a couple of weeks and let me know how it goes. It gets pretty great results in a short period of time. If that doesn’t do it then we can setup a time to talk and figure out a strategy as I do work privately with clients from time to time. Here’s the link for the comfort zone: http://www.thekneepainguru.com/lp/comfort-zone-stretches/ Keep me posted…Bill

  2. Bill, what is your take on hyaluronic acid? Thanks

  3. Victor Faulk says:

    I had watch your video and I want to learn more about it. I have being scaring down in my for a few years now so I need help to break up the scar tissue and I want to learn how to do it and my left knee will not fully straighten out cause of the scar tissue.

    • Barbara says:

      How cAan i break down the scar tissue that is in my knee after a total knee replacement i am walking with a limp because of it cant straight out knee this has been going on for three years.

      • Knee Pain Support Team says:

        Hi there Barbara!

        Thank you for reaching out to us. I’m sorry to hear what your experiencing. Have you tried The Comfort Zone Stretches yet? These are really good exercises to break up scar tissue and will help you create comfort in the knee joint (only the knee) by systematically working with the tiny movements in the knee that squeeze on the nerves the width of an eyelash letting you know you have knee pain. It’s a great place to start to get a feel for the program. I have provided the link below.

        http://www.thekneepainguru.com/lp/comfort-zone-stretches/

        Feel free to reach out to us for further assistance.

        Kind regards,

        Mimi
        Customer Support
        customerservice@thekneepainguru.com

  4. Hi bob i have got a built up of scar tissue just below my knee cap after knee surgery . I am struggling to break it down. can you help in some way.

  5. Hi Bill
    9 weeks ago I did a huge tibial plateau fracture, 4 weeks post op the doctor told me my range of movement was poor mostly due to the lack of education I had in moving the leg.
    This has caused what the doc calls scar tissue causing excrutiating pain when flexing, in 3 weeks with physio I have gone from 70 degrees of movement to 110 degrees but the whole knee joint is so tight. I am working hard to progresivley bend and break through the scar tissue, pain is my personal friend at the moment. Do you have any further techniques that would assist in my recovery. previous to my injury my kung fu sifu takes a fascia strech session which I was attending so have a small knowledge of the importance of fascial flexibility.
    steve , Brisbane Australia

  6. Hi Bill, My name is Crisha and I am in the military. I have recently had 2 scope surgeries and one surgery to implant Donovo( cadaver cartilage) into my knee. After the third surgery it took 6 weeks to get into physical therapy and now I have a TON of scar tissue. It is more painful than I can even explain now that I am in physical therapy. My body actually fights with my therapist when my knee no longer wants to bend. It is so painful that when I have to let my leg hang from the side of the table I cry and my body lifts to one side (the non injured) to find relief. I would really like to know what exercises you recommend to break up the scar tissue.
    Thank you
    Crisha

    • Crisha – I’m not so sure that scar tissue is giving you the biggest challenge with your knee. I would look at the knee and the hip too by creating comfort to let go of the tension your body is holding onto to protect is self from the initial injury and then 2 surgeries. This would be the program that I would start with and then keep me posted as to how it goes over the next couple of weeks. http://www.thekneepainguru.com/lp/comfort-zone-stretches/ Bill

  7. Gunter Wartmann says:

    Hi ! After the 2nd knee replacement 2.5 years ago , the pain from Scar tissue started to get worst . By now I know only pain , day & night . I do not know what to do anymore i can not think strait because of the pain . Coming across your Web side gave me some hope that maybe you could give me advice what to do ! I am 84 years JUNG and would like to have at least a view years without this excruciating pain in my left knee . I would be grateful for your help , because I am desperate ! Hope for an answer , Thank you . E. G. Wartmann

    • Knee Pain Support Team says:

      E.G. Wartmann,

      Thank you for reaching out to us, we greatly appreciate your interest. To better assist you, I have contacted you via email to discuss what your experiencing and recommend some great products/programs for your pain-free journey.

      Kind regards,

      Mimi L |Customer Support

  8. Gunter Wartmann says:

    Hi Bill ! Does it make any different that i have a Knee replacement ? I bought your E book and Videos , i am set on licking my pain . Could you answer please ? E. G. Wartmann

  9. Glenn Deag says:

    Hi, i broke my leg in April this year, my left tibia plateau, and made quite a mess of it apparently. There is a bit of metal holding it together and i am at a point of attaining ROM to approximately 95 degrees bent and to 15 degrees off straight. I have worked, recumbant bike, pool stretching, anchoring 10kg of weights to ankle to straighten the thing and now working on walking in my endevour to straighten the thing. Walking partially at present with stick and partial free waking with limp. Yesterday i walked 1.1km and to me a major feet, free walking, towards the end just to a shuffle. What more can you help me with in order to get this thing straight and break up severe scar tissue? There is tightening around the front of knee, but mainly around the rear at the top end of the calf and knee bend. Squats i am doing, calf stretching yes but cant seem to budge this thing straight. Please advise knee guru

    Glenn

    • Knee Pain Support Team says:

      Hello Glenn,

      Thank you for reaching out to us about your knee pain! to better assist you, I have contacted you via the email provided. Please feel free to contact us at 502 638 2567 for additional questions or concerns.

      Kind regards,

      Mimi

    • Glenn, This may not be scar tissue limiting your ROM. The mechanics of the hips, lower back as well as the tension in your nervous system can play a huge role in whether or not the knee can fully extend and flex. Here’s a link to my online calendar to setup a time to talk and figure out strategy for what you have going on. Funny I just started working with a client last week who has a similar situation in his left leg – Here’s that link: http://www.thekneepainguru.com/lp/knee-recovery-program/ Talk soon Bill

  10. I had a total right knee replacement on 1/4/2013 and still have scar tissue that will not heal. After my replacement I had to have a manual manipulation in April 2013 to further gain my range of motion. My surgeon says that they can do scope surgery to help with the scar tissue, but a doctor that I went to for a second opinion said to not do the surgery as it could create more scar tissue. I still have a “tight band” feeling on one side of my scar and it can get very painful. I still ice often and wear an elastic knee brace that helps to hide the usual tight feeling. The second opinion doctor did say to get E oil and to use my thumb to really work the area. I am hoping that you may have other ideas that may help. Thanks so much.

    • Madeline – I do have a few ideas. Scar tissue develops as a result of your body protecting itself from a perceived threat. It essentially armoring so you don’t get hurt more. One way of breaking up this scar tissue is to get in there an break it up which can hurt and your body already feels unsafe. My approach would be focusing on comfort and creating the conditions so your body can heal itself. If this is something you’d be interested in speaking with me further about then click on the following link to get access to my online calendar: http://www.thekneepainguru.com/lp/knee-recovery-program/ Speak soon, Bill

  11. Hi!

    I am a sophomore in high school and in October of 2013 my knee has been aching a lot. Back in 2nd grade I fell on my knee causing scar tissues and a noticeable scar on top of the knee. I am going to physical therapy to take care of it and it isn’t getting at all better. They are thinking is is the scar tissue in my knee and i have been doing these exercises and nothing seems to work. Do you have any ideas of what I should do?

    I need to get better soon because the pain in my knee seems to be getting worse and worse. Also I have sports coming up soon in the spring.

    Thanks!

  12. Jessica Allain says:

    Hi there, to give you a bit of history, I was involved in a motor vehicle accident a few years ago which resulted in the tearing of 3 ligaments to my left knee. A week later I had them replaced during surgery, I had very poor aftercare and developed arthrofibrosis and had 2 subsequent surgeries to remove scarring. The last surgery was a year ago and helped somewhat but I am still so tight and missing a lot of range of motion despite doing all the correct things to keep the scarring from returning. I suspect since my knee cap does not move well that the majority of the returning scarring developed in he frontal region of the knee. I am very aggressive with massage and stretching and keeping it mobile, I really do not want another surgery, is there any advice you could give me to breakup this scarring and get my kneecap moving once again?
    Jessica

    • Knee Pain Support Team says:

      Hi Jessica,

      Thank you for reaching out to us! to better assist you with your questions, I have contacted you directly via email. Again, thank you for reaching out to us and I look forward to speaking with you soon.

      Kind regards,

      Mimi |Customer Support

  13. Allen Yang says:

    Hi, I had a ACL surgery last year on june 28 and from then tip now, my knee has not been fully straight. I had the option of going to therapy, but I could not afford it and so I did exercises on my own. Now my doctor who performed the surgery said that my knee will no longer straighten even if I stretched it 8 hours day. This devastated me. I watched your video and it gave me hope. I have a question though: what would happen if my knee(the one that had surgery) were to move beyond the range of motion due to scar tissue?

    • Knee Pain Support Team says:

      Hi Allen!

      Thank you for reaching out to us. To better assist you with your question, I have contacted you via email.

      -Mimi
      Customer Support

  14. Claire Hampson says:

    2 1/2 weeks ago My 14 year old son had an accident playing rugby. He scored a try and slid straight into a concrete edge which was holding the rubber running track in place that surrounds the field.
    He had a full thickness laceration to his knee (the laceration covered his whole knee cap) and went into theatre for cleaning and to be stitched up. He has just had his stitches out but his knee feels very tight even though he is healing very well and his skin has bonded together lovely. He is eager to get back to playing rugby and just needs advice on how to soften the tightness of his skin. Are there any exercises he could start doing??

    • Knee Pain Support Team says:

      Hello Claire,

      Thank you for reaching out to us! I suggest booking a free 30 min consultation/knee evaluation with Bill to discuss what your experiencing. Bill will be able to provide great advice and recommendations/solutions for whats going on. If your interested, please click on the link below to complete the consultation form and schedule a date and time that is best for you. Feel free to reach out to me for further assistance.

      http://www.thekneepainguru.com/lp/knee-recovery-program/free-introductory-session/questionnaire/

      Kind regards,

      Mimi | Customer Service

  15. Diego Castillo says:

    Hello, I had surgery a year ago on my ACL and I can’t seem to straighten it out all the way. Every morning I wake up with my leg bent and it hurts when i try to straighten it. Do you think it could be a scar tissue!? If so, how could I get rid of it?

    • Knee Pain Support Team says:

      Hello Diego,

      Thank you for reaching out to us. I’m sorry to hear that your still experiencing pain. Have you tried The Comfort Zone Stretches yet? These are really good exercises to break up scar tissue and will help you create comfort in the knee joint (only the knee) by systematically working with the tiny movements in the knee that squeeze on the nerves the width of an eyelash letting you know you have knee pain. It’s a great place to start to get a feel for the program.

      http://www.thekneepainguru.com/lp/comfort-zone-stretches/

      Feel free to reach out to us for further assistance

      Mimi
      Customer Support
      customerservice@thekneepainguru.com

  16. LINDA PANARIELLO says:

    I HAD A TOTAL KNEE REPLACEMENT LAST JULY. I WAS DOING WELL BUT NOW EVERY
    TIME I GO UP & DOWN THE STAIRS, & WHEN I TRY TO GET UP FROM SITTING I GET POPPING, RUBBING, & GRINDING IN MY KNEE & IT FEELS TERRIBLE. WHEN I WALK IT’S FINE. MY SURGEON SAID I HAVE SOME SCAR TISSUE & SHOULD EXERCISE. I DO, BUT IT STILL CONTINUES TO BE THE SAME. WILL THIS EVER GO AWAY? WHAT CAN I DO?

    • Knee Pain Support Team says:

      Hi Linda!

      Thank you for reaching out to us. I’m sorry to hear that your still experiencing pain. Have you tried The Comfort Zone Stretches yet? These are really good exercises to break up scar tissue and will help you create comfort in the knee joint (only the knee) by systematically working with the tiny movements in the knee that squeeze on the nerves the width of an eyelash letting you know you have knee pain. It’s a great place to start to get a feel for the program.

      http://www.thekneepainguru.com/lp/comfort-zone-stretches/

      Feel free to reach out to us for additional questions or concerns at customerservice@thekneepainguru.com

      Mimi
      Customer Support

  17. Hi,

    I had a total knee replacement 12/11/13. I did all of my physical therapy and
    exercises at home. My knee would not bend or straighten all of the way before
    my surgery (for years) and also I was extremely knock kneed.

    I had to have a manipulation under anesthesia after the surgery, to help my knee get
    more flexibility. My surgeon says I may not be able to get to the 125 degrees, that he
    got me to, while I was under anesthesia.

    I am very active and an athlete. I really am trying to get my knee to 125 degrees. I have a big
    lump of scar tissue (I believe) on the right side of my knee just above the knee cap, as I am looking down on my right knee. It is not painful, but it is a big lump. I have been using “The Stick” on the lump, which doesn’t really seem to help.

    Do you have any suggestions?

    • Knee Pain Support Team says:

      Hello Sharyn,

      Thank you for reaching out to us. I’m sorry to hear that your still experiencing pain. Have you tried The Comfort Zone Stretches yet? These are really good exercises to break up scar tissue and will help you create comfort in the knee joint (only the knee) by systematically working with the tiny movements in the knee that squeeze on the nerves the width of an eyelash letting you know you have knee pain. It’s a great place to start to get a feel for the program.

      http://www.thekneepainguru.com/lp/comfort-zone-stretches/

      Feel free to reach out to us for further assistance.

      Mimi|Customer Support

  18. Jim Flynn says:

    Hi, I had a total knee peplacement March 2014. On the second day after the op during Physio I had a bleed within the knee. (I am on Warfarin). This left the knee swollen and painful. It was very hard to do the exercises properly as the knee just became swollen and painful. After 12 weeks I had Manipulation under Sedation and they managed to move it 110 degrees but I spite of doing exercises and using a CPM Machine I gradually lost this movement. I now have about 40 degree movement. What would you recommend for me now.
    Thanks

  19. I had reconstructive meniscus arthroscopy on a bucket tear which seems to be healing well ( 4 mos after) bbut I cannot straighten my knee, recent MRI suggests scar tissue restricting movement. There is not much pain. Can I get rid of the scar tissue without further surgery? Thx

    • Knee Pain Support Team says:

      Hi there,
      Thank you for reaching out to us. I’m sorry to hear that your still experiencing pain. Have you tried The Comfort Zone Stretches yet? These are really good exercises to break up scar tissue and will help you create comfort in the knee joint (only the knee) by systematically working with the tiny movements in the knee that squeeze on the nerves the width of an eyelash letting you know you have knee pain. It’s a great place to start to get a feel for the program.

      http://www.thekneepainguru.com/lp/comfort-zone-stretches/

      Feel free to reach out to us for further assistance

  20. i had an acl reconstruction and meniscus repair surgery on feb 2014, and till now i am not able to straighten my knee. there is no stiffness but thr is slight pain in the knee. can u plz help me know how to straighten my knee, as i m doing all sort of exercises and stretches.

Speak Your Mind

*