Can Scars Affect Performance?

What affect can scars from surgical repair or previous injury have on athletic performance?

Alexander Nurse Bey
April 21, 2021

While they may not affect performance directly- decreasing speed or force output for example, they can certainly impede an athlete’s ability to stay healthy. Scars and scar tissue, being more tonic than other tissue, can affect the recruitment patterns of adjacent or related tissue- especially other muscle groups involved in the same or related movements. As an example, scarring of the abdominal oblique musculature may affect the ability to kick or strike with the lower body, even though to the eye these areas (abs and legs) do not appear to be related.

We have had consultations with athletes who have small, nagging issues that become exacerbated later in the program. Lo and behold, if they have had surgeries or accidents the athlete is sometimes diagnosed with impairments related to the scars. This can even be the case when the scars are years old. The good news is that this issue can typically be resolved with some direct myofascial release of the scar followed by some corrective or activation-type of exercises. If you have noticed or innately felt that things have not been quite the same after the presence of a scar whether from surgical repair or an accident, you may very well be right.

If this is something that sounds familiar to you and would like more information about how to get help, please reach out and ask about common protocols that we have had success with, or for a referral to a therapist who we think will be able to help..

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