Unfortunately, due to wear and tear of my knee I have had to undergo surgery. This is not ideal when I work as a massage therapist and need to stand to complete my work.
Surgery was undertaken for a full thickness Chondral surface defect, using a new procedure called osteochondral grafting. The surgery went well, however they were unable to perform this via arthroscopy and had to open my knee up. Now it’s the road of recovery. A large scar, leg brace for 6 weeks, crutches and lots of physio. I am determined that I will get back to fitness as soon as my body lets me. I know this will take time and not to push it. Physio is hard work and at times painful.
To assist with my recovery I am also completing self massage of my leg muscles. When you are unable to move your leg for 6 weeks, and are using crutches, there is muscle degeneration. The muscles become lack when not being used, causing weakness to set in to muscles and surrounding joints. This makes walking an unstable exercise to perform.
Performing massage on my leg aids the blood supply to the area and promotes healing. It helps to reduce swelling, relieve pain and gives a soothing effect for my painful knee when it is aching.
Once the brace is off and my scar has healed enough I will begin to perform scar tissue massage, so that the area does not become tight.
How can scar tissue massage help?
Massaging the scar includes rubbing and moving the skin and the underlying tissue. I use a non perfumed cream such as vitamin E. This helps moisturise the skin and the scar. Massage can help to soften the scar tissue and keep it flexible.
Scar tissue can be sensitive, or it can be painful when touched. Regular massage helps with the skin’s sensitivity, thus improving the skin’s sensations.
Self help scar tissue massage – How to
Using your thumb or finger massage the scar with slow, circular movements. The pressure should be firm, but not too firm as you may cause damage to the skin.
When to massage?
Wait until the scar is fully healed before you proceed with massage. You can then massage the scar 2-3 times a days for 5-10 minutes.
As I progress on the road to recovery, the weekly physiotherapy sessions commence.
Gentle exercises for the first week, ensure that my leg muscles don’t waste away with lack of use. Week 2 and I begin the exercises to bend my knee again, only 30 degrees with slow gentle movements. This will then increase to 45 degrees in week 3 with the expectation that I should be able to bend my knee to 90 degrees by the end of week 4! By this point I will have had my knee in the brace for 6 weeks. Then starts the retraining of my leg to walk again and strengthen all the muscles.