Located in the back of the knee, the posterior cruciate ligament (PCL) keeps the shinbone from moving backwards too far. Injuries to the PCL – much less frequent than those to the more vulnerable ACL – are often partial tears that heal on their own.
What causes it?
Injury to the PCL is related to a powerful force, such as a direct blow to the front of the knee, commonly a car accident (dashboard injury to the knee) or football contact (being tackled when the knee is bent).
How do you know you have it?
The typical signs of a posterior cruciate ligament injury are:
How we fix it
The orthopedic experts at OSI are here to listen, discuss your concerns, and examine you for signs and symptoms of a PCL injury. While under our expert care, you may undergo the following:
- Physical exam: Your OSI physician will talk to you about your medical history and the symptoms you have been experiencing. The doctor will check knee structures for injury and compare the injured knee to the non-injured knee.
- X-rays: An X-ray might be ordered to reveal the presence of an avulsion fracture.
- MRI: An MRI could confirm a diagnosis by supplying an enhanced image of the PCL.
- Diagnostic arthroscopy: If the severity of the injury is uncertain, the doctor may use a tiny camera inserted into the knee joint to get a clearer picture.
Nonsurgical approaches are often quite successful in healing an injured PCL:
- RICE protocol: Rest, Ice, Compression, Elevation.
- Physical therapy: Exercises to improve strength.
- Bracing: Immobilization of the injured knee may be recommended; crutches may be utilized as well.
A severe injury or one combined with tears to other ligaments/cartilage damage might require reconstruction of the PCL. A surgical solution might also be recommended with persistent episodes of instability. Often these repairs are done arthroscopically.