London Running PT

5 tips to help improve the appearance of your scars

This blog post was inspired by a patient I saw last week. The patient in question was a paratrooper who had ruptured his ankle ligaments following a bad landing from a parachute jump. He had subsequently undergone a Brostrom repair, this is a surgical procedure that reconstructs the lateral ankle ligaments.

He was 12 weeks down the line and progressing well. We were working on improving weight bearing dorsiflexion (bane of my life when rehabbing ankles by the way) and during the conversation he told me how much he hated the scars…but hey, there’s nothing you can do about it, right?…well maybe there is… 

I think it’s unlikely that a big scar is going to disappear completely but can you improve the appearance of the scar?…I believe you can. There are a few simple and effective techniques that I give out to my post-op patients to help them improve appearance of their scars… and because I like you, I’ll share them with you as well…so here’s my top 5 tips to managing scar tissue.

1) Moist heat

10 mins at a time. Helps the pliability and flexibility of the scar. Good options are paraffin wax or moist heat packs.


2) Bio-oil


Lubrication of the scar helps soften and increase its pliability and prevent the scar from drying out and re-opening.

3) Lymphatic drainage


Making gentle circular pumping motions on or around the scar helps drain congested lymph fluid.

4) Myofascial release


Stretch the skin next to the scar. Place two or three fingers at the beginning of the scar and stretch the skin above the scar in a parallel direction. Then move the fingers a quarter of an inch further along the scar and repeat the stretch of the adjacent tissue, working your way along the scar

5) Deep transverse frictions


A deep, non-gliding, oil-less friction stroke, cross-fibre friction is administered with a braced finger or thumb moving across the grain of the scar. Your thumb/finger and the skin move as one over the exact site of the scar. The stroke must be applied directly at the site of the scar, at right angles to the fibres, and be broad enough to separate the fibres without bouncing over them. The treatment is painful, though always within tolerance, and should be initiated only once explained by your physiotherapist. It should never be applied during the initial inflammatory stage in an acute injury.

 Here’s a quick vid demonstrating those manual techniques

Aim for 5-10 mins of massage daily.

Any questions then please let me know. I would highly recommend running these techniques through with your health professional before trying them to make sure they are happy that the scar is in the right stage of healing for the techniques to be used.

Any question, please pop them in the comments box. 

May 14, 2016

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