How to break up scar tissue after bunion surgery
When some of the bones of your foot move out of place at the joint of your big toe and form a bony bump at the base of your toe, it is called a bunion. This shifting can also cause the top of your big toe to excessively pull toward your smaller toes. Over time, extra bone grows where the toes meet the base of the foot.
Bunions can be caused by the shape of your foot; the wearing of narrow, tight-fitting shoes; foot deformities; or medical conditions such as arthritis. Bunions are not limited to your big toe — the joints of your little toe can also develop small bunions called bunionettes. Bunions are typically caused by prolonged pressure on the feet. Women are more likely to develop bunions than men. Bunion formation can also run in families.
Symptoms of bunions can include:
- Bulging bumps on the outside base of the big toe.
- Swelling/soreness or redness around the big toe that comes and goes.
- Corns or calluses.
- Limited movement of toes.
Bunions often do not require medical treatment, podiatrists or orthopedic foot specialists. However, occasionally bunions require surgical removal. Bunion surgery, typically an outpatient surgery, is necessary when nonsurgical treatment methods have been exhausted and relief has not been found. Recovery from surgery takes about six to eight weeks while full recovery from bunion removal can take an average four to six months.
Ways to reduce scar tissue
Due to bunion surgery involving an incision, scar tissue can develop. If scar tissue develops, it is completely normal. Scar tissue occurs when fibrous tissue replaces normal tissue during the healing process. It also restricts the supply of oxygen and nutrients to soft tissue. Scar tissue can form post-surgery. It is not always painful but potentially can become painful over time. Symptoms of scar tissue can include but are not limited to: inflammation and swelling, redness, throbbing pain, sensitivity to the touch, and a reduced range of motion. Removing scar tissue helps promote the return of normal soft tissue.
If scar tissue pain becomes too uncomfortable or unbearable, there are treatments available that can help.
- Topical solutions — Certain areas of scar tissue may respond well to topical solutions containing vitamin C. Over-the-counter antihistamine creams can also help with itchy scars.
- Injections and injectables — Corticosteroid injections can help decrease pain and inflammation.
- Physical therapy — Physical therapists can use manual therapy modalities such as soft tissue mobilization to help reduce scar tissue pain by breaking up scar tissue
How physical therapists can help break up your scar tissue
After an injury is not the only time physical therapy is beneficial. One beneficial method of physical therapy that can assist in the breaking down of scar tissue is manual therapy.
Manual therapy involves the manipulation of tendons, muscles, skin, and other soft tissue. It is imperative to only pursue manual therapy treatment to break down scar tissue once healing is fully completed. If healing is not completed, manual therapy could interrupt the process.
Manual therapy breaks down scar tissue with deep, firm pressure from the physical therapist’s hands. This can also lead to a decrease in pain and reduction of stress due to pain. In addition, manual therapy is designed to increase blood flow as it assists in breaking down the scar tissue.
Several other benefits of breaking down scar tissue with manual therapy include:
- Improving the mobility of soft tissue around the wound.
- Helping you regain feeling and sensation in the affected area.
- Making you less dependent on pain medication for relief by easing your pain.
Physical therapists are experts in the musculoskeletal system and the body’s movements. Whether or not they decide to use manual therapy to help you will depend on your physical therapist’s evaluation of your specific condition. You and your condition are unique, and treating you as such is extremely important to your physical therapist.
Let Franklin Rehabilitation help you after your bunion surgery
Are you ready to break up your post-bunion surgery scar tissue? Franklin Rehabilitation physical therapists are ready to help you with this process. Our physical therapists are highly trained and experienced in helping treat scar tissue and the symptoms it causes, and they’ll use research-based methods for your therapy program.
The first step in your physical therapy journey is to come in for an initial evaluation so our specialists can determine what your specific needs are. They can then help you make the best decision for your care and work to help you achieve long-term relief.
Contact our team today for more information or to schedule an initial appointment.