Scar tissue can occur on the outside or inside of your foot, especially when your injury disrupts the skin. Scar tissue is also common after surgery. This scar tissue can inhibit your foot's movement and strength.
Whether you see a physical therapist or perform rehab at home, interventions help manage scar tissue as you heal and regain strength and flexibility. Your rehabilitation program will focus on your supporting muscles and tendons as your scar forms and prevention of further injury.
Manage Your Swelling
Intermittently rest your foot regularly to avoid overexertion during daily activity. Many physical therapists provide ice or heat treatments to reduce swelling and speed healing to your scar tissue. This is done throughout your rehabilitation.
You may also be instructed to prop your foot at home and apply ice or heat to aid in the healing process. In between sessions, you might be instructed to keep your foot wrapped with an elastic bandage to help flatten your scar and reduce swelling.
Perform Scar Massage
Massage your foot at the injury site for five to 10 minutes per day. According to Marjorie Brook, a New York-based licensed massage therapist, scar massage increases circulation to scar tissue, helping rebuild and distribute collagen fibers, decreasing scarring and speeding the healing process.
Move Your Foot
Stretch your ankle, foot and toes two to three times daily to increase flexibility. As scar tissue forms, your foot's natural movement is inhibited as your muscles become stiff. This is a normal part of the healing process. Stretching your foot muscles will warm the affected area and help prevent stiffening from occurring.
Do Ankle Circles
Rotate each joint in your foot daily to increase range of motion as part of a program for breaking down scar tissue in your foot. Range of motion is important to restoring full movement and healing potential to scar tissue.
By rolling your ankle or flexing your foot several times a day, you can increase natural movement and help increase blood circulation to scar tissue after surgery. Focus on the movements that stretch your scar. For example, if you have scar tissue on the top of your foot, spend more time pointing your toes down toward the ground.
Return to Function
Increase your exercise routines gradually. Returning to full activity can worsen scar tissue and cause further injury. Begin exercising a few minutes each day, gradually adding one to two minutes to your exercise time each time. This allows scar tissue to heal and muscle strength to return naturally.
Preventing Excess Scar Tissue
Although many rehab treatments focus on breaking down scar tissue in the foot, medical interventions also exist that focus on decreasing excess scar formation during the healing process.
According to a 2017 study published by Burns & Trauma, natural materials such as honey, curcumin, extract from pine bark, relaxin and crocodile oil have all been shown to decrease scar formation after injury.
Take all medications as prescribed by your doctor. Medication is an integral part of your rehabilitation.