Presentation and management of arthrofibrosis of the knee: A case report

Sara A. Scholtes, Lynnette Khoo-Summers, Katherine J. Damico

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations


Study design: Case report. Background: Arthrofibrosis is a debilitating condition that results in pain, decreased range of motion, and decreased function. Although surgical management of arthrofibrosis has been well described in the literature, rehabilitation of the arthrofibrotic knee is less well described. Case description: A 28-year-old female presented with swelling, pain, and decreased strength, range of motion, patellar mobility, and function following an exploratory arthroscopy of her left knee. After failed conservative management, the patient underwent two additional surgeries to remove scar tissue. Following each surgery, the emphasis was on decreasing inflammation and maintaining patellar mobility while increasing joint range of motion and strength. Therapy progression was determined by the presence or absence of inflammatory signs. The second scar tissue removal surgery resulted in a femoral neuropathy that further complicated the rehabilitation process. Outcomes: At 3-year follow-up, the patient continued to present with decreased range of motion and strength compared to the uninvolved limb, but had returned to a modified running program and reported pain no longer limited her ability to participate in activities of daily living. Discussion: This case report highlights the importance of recognizing that arthrofibrosis may result following a minor knee surgery and with minimal range of motion loss. Additional complications also may result during arthrofibrosis treatment. Progressing rehabilitation based on the inflammatory response may decrease the likelihood of additional scar tissue formation and potentially improve the outcome for the patient.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)815-824
Number of pages10
JournalPhysiotherapy Theory and Practice
Issue number10
StatePublished - Oct 3 2017


  • Arthrofibrosis
  • inflammation
  • neuropathy
  • rehabilitation


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