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When dealing with scar tissue I have heard a lot about cross fiber friction and i was wondering if anyone knew of any other techniques to break up scar tissue? And maybe know of where to read up on it more or a place with videos with the techniques?

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Comment by Jessica Rooks on April 26, 2011 at 1:33pm


thank you for your detailed experience. i'll have to try that. thank you very much for all replies.

Comment by Stephen Jeffrey on April 26, 2011 at 2:56am

Hi Jessica,

My approach to scar tissue has changed completely over the years. I was taught to use cross fiber frictions but found it a rather barbaric approach on tissue that (even decades later) is highly sensitive.

Example = lateral ankle ligament scar tissue.

Using fingertips gentley palpate/massage around the lateral joint, the thickened scar tissue is easy to identify, constantly check in with your client's pain levels, scar tissue has the potential to rocket from a steady 4/5 to a 9/10 on a one to ten pain scale even with light pressure. (your clients will very much appreceate you warning them of scar tissue's potential to react like this). You will only need to work like this for a few minutes then whilst the blood flow brings natural pain killer to the joint its best to now work the medial side of the ankle joint in the same way (there may be no scar tissue this side but the joint needs this work to get balanced benifit.

Now you have worked both sides of the joint, return to the lateral scar tissue, the client should report a calming effect on the scar tissue.

The release phase will require slow static compression and should be done as follows =  very gently engage your thumb onto the thickest section of scar tissue, very slowly compress the tissue untill the client reports a 5 out of 10 ......wait for the tissue to release and follow the release by maintaining a 5/6 for pressure. When taking pressure off do so slowley. Repeat on different site of scar tissue and then do the same at least once on the medial side to balance treament throughout the joint.

I have used this technique many many times to very good effect as it avoids using strong cross fiber frictions that may cause agony (and micro scaring) to the client. Clients report the joint feels instantly stronger.

Dependant on age and thickness of the scar tissue the client may need another one or two treatments.


stop compressions if pulse is felt or client reports any referring sensations anywhere else in the foot. Otherwise this is a very safe effective technique. 



Comment by lee kalpin on April 25, 2011 at 11:34pm

Yes, when treating scar tissue it's important to soften it so you can work with it.  At lot depends on the stage of healing of the scar tissue. Many therapists use parafin wax application to soften a healed scar.


As well as cross fibre frictions, you can LIFT  the scar awary from the underlying tissue to free up adhesions

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