Certified hand therapist Laura McCarthy, OTR, CHT demonstrates how to massage scar tissue and “break down the scar”, or soften the scar tissue on your hands and fingers with lotion and a variety of massage techniques.
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Softening the Scar to Improve Joint Motion in Your Hand
Scars are less pliable than normal skin. Often times they look thick or tight. Softening the scar with massage can improve the appearance but also improve the function of your hand. In the hand, there are many tendons which have to glide under the skin. If these tendons are caught in scar, the tendon does not move as far a distance as it needs to move, thus the joint can’t move as much as it should. By using massage as a treatment for scar tissue, you can improve the range of motion of a joint.
You’re Not “Breaking Down The Scar”. You’re Actually Softening It
You can soften your scar by massaging it in a circular motion using lotion as a lubricant. Apply firm, but comfortable, pressure. Although many people refer to this as “breaking down the scar”, scars do not break down, but rather soften with massage. Softening allows the skin and tendons to move more freely. Be careful not to rub the scar with too much pressure, as it may break open, which causes more scar tissue to form.
Massage The Scar 2-3 Times Per Day But Don’t Overdo It
Massage your scar two to three times per day with lotion for five minutes. You may adjust this time frame depending on how the scar looks and feels. The scar should be soft and roll when you roll the skin. Do not massage the scar until the wound is completely healed.
Don’t Concentrate On Just The Scarred Area
Trick of the Trade: Massage areas that swelled around the scar because swelling can leave scar tissue behind, so don’t limit your massage to just the visible scar.
Have you sustained an injury between or including your shoulder and fingertips? Do you suspect that your workplace environment is causing you pain? If so, you could be a candidate for hand therapy services at LB Hand Therapy in Maryland. Visit our Where to Begin page to become a patient.
Video Transcription | How To Massage Scar Tissue And Break It Up In Hands and Fingers
Hi, I’m Laura McCarthy of LB Hand Therapy.
Today, we are going to talk about how to mobilize scar (or how to massage scar tissue and break it down).
Scar management in the hand is very important because the tendons and muscles underneath the skin move the joints. Often times, if you cut your hand or you have had surgery, the structures underneath – the tendons and muscles – aren’t able to move as freely as they need to. So once the scar has healed, we do scar massage.
So say my scar is here. (points to the area between the thumb and index finger)
I take lotion and I do firm, circular massage. (demonstrates circular massage pattern on hand)
Now what most people do is they really focus on the actual scar.
But scar actually forms anywhere you’ve had swelling. So, if you’ve had surgery on this joint you want to massage all around the entire joint because there’s scar tissue forming on all of those structures underneath the skin.
And you want to do this for about five minutes and really soften it (scar tissue) up.
You can also do some scar rolling which is pinching it like this. (demonstrates scar rolling technique by pinching the tissue of her hand)
Or even some scar friction massage where you sort of lengthen the scar.
Or you pull the scar back the other way.
People refer to this as “breaking down the scar” but you’re actually not breaking down the scar.
What you’re actually doing is softening it (the scar). And the more you massage the scar, the softer it will get.
And of course you dont want to massage it so much that you start finding that it’s opening up. That’s too much.
But 2-3 times per day of massaging the scar will make everything else work much better.
Thank you for watching this video. I hope you found it helpful. If you need further information, please check out our website at LBHandTherapy.com
And, again, thanks for watching.