After an injury or surgery, our bodies naturally make scar. Scar tissue can become a problem if it limits function and/or is unpleasant to look at. Scar tissue can be treated. A physical or occupational therapist who specializes in treating upper extremity injuries can help. There are several factors a therapist assesses to determine the best course of action for scar management. These factors may include the following:
Scars continue to grow and change throughout the recovery process which may take from twelve to eighteen months. Scar massage is an effective way to decrease scar tissue build up and help make scars less noticeable. Massage will not help soften a scar more than two years old.
Treatments include surgery to remove the scar, steroid injections, or silicone sheets to flatten the scar. Smaller keloids can be treated using cryotherapy (freezing therapy using liquid nitrogen). You can also prevent keloid formation by using pressure treatment or gel pads with silicone when you are injured
The scar won't disappear completely and you'll be left with a visible mark or line. Fine-line scars are common following a wound or after surgery. They aren't usually painful, but they may be itchy for a few months. On darker skin types, the scar tissue may fade to leave a brown or white mark.
If you have a scar that is causing pain or is limiting the use of your hand or arm, a hand therapist can help using the following treatments: