Arthrofibrosis of the Knee: Symptoms, Causes, and Treatments

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Published On

Sep 21, 2023



Arthrofibrosis of the knee is a condition characterized by abnormal scar tissue growth around the knee joint. This condition may limit mobility and cause pain, requiring prompt and effective treatment to restore knee function. Our orthopedic knee surgeon at The Noyes Knee Institute can assess your knee health and recommend suitable treatment. Here are some of the causes, symptoms, and treatments of knee arthrofibrosis:

Causes of Knee Arthrofibrosis

The two major causes of knee arthrofibrosis are trauma to the surrounding area and knee surgeries, like total knee arthroplasty and ACL reconstruction. When the knee joint becomes inflamed due to these causes, scar tissue naturally starts to accumulate. This is the body’s way of healing itself, but problems occur when scar tissue grows in excess.

Abnormal scar tissue growth happens when the healing process is disrupted, usually by an infection. Scar tissue grows abnormally in some people, becoming so thick and fibrous that it restricts knee joint mobility. If you suspect you may be suffering from knee arthrofibrosis, schedule a consultation with our orthopedic knee surgeon at The Noyes Knee Institute. We can help determine the cause of your knee condition and suggest the best action plan.

Symptoms of Knee Arthrofibrosis

Limited joint mobility is the main symptom of knee arthrofibrosis. If you find it difficult to extend your leg fully or bend your knee, this could be a sign of arthrofibrosis. The excess scar tissue growth interferes with the knee joint’s regular operation, making you walk unevenly or with a limp. Pain is another common symptom of knee arthrofibrosis. This can range from a dull ache to sharp pain when moving the leg.

In some cases, you may experience swelling around the knee joint due to inflammation caused by scar tissue buildup. You may also hear a grating sound when moving the knee. These symptoms can range from mild to severe and can be debilitating. Knee arthrofibrosis can significantly affect your ability to complete daily tasks if left untreated. If you notice any of these symptoms, visit an orthopedic knee surgeon as soon as possible.

Treatments for Knee Arthrofibrosis

The purpose of treatment for knee arthrofibrosis is to relieve symptoms and restore the knee’s range of motion. Depending on the severity of the condition, your orthopedic specialist may suggest physical therapy as the primary treatment method. This typically involves stretching and strengthening exercises to reduce stiffness in the knee. If physical therapy alone does not reduce your symptoms, your orthopedic specialist may suggest arthroscopic surgery to remove the excess scar tissue.

Arthroscopic surgery involves a surgeon inserting a tiny camera and instruments through small incisions in the knee joint to remove scar tissue buildup. Open knee surgery may be necessary in severe cases. Our knee specialist may also recommend various medications to help reduce the chances of knee arthrofibrosis returning. These may include interleukin-directed medications, oral steroids, and PRP (platelet-rich plasma) injections.

Visit an Experienced Orthopedic Knee Surgeon

Knee arthrofibrosis can cause severe pain and limited range of motion if left untreated. Timely diagnosis and treatment can help restore joint mobility and reduce pain. The Noyes Knee Institute specializes in treating various knee conditions, including arthrofibrosis of the knee. Our expert orthopedic knee surgeon can identify the underlying cause of your symptoms and implement an effective treatment plan. As one of the most experienced Knee Arthrofibrosis Centers, patients travel from across the United States for treatment from The Noyes Knee Institute. Contact us today to book an appointment and learn more about treatment options.