PCL Injury Causes, Symptoms And Treatment

by Craig W. Goodhart, MD 28. March 2017 03:01

PCL (posterior cruciate ligament) is located behind the knee and connects tibia to femur. It is responsible for coordinating the backward movement of the leg. A  PCL injury refers to the tearing of this PCL ligament, which may occur due to an impact from a strong external force. The condition is commonly witnessed in sportspersons involved in football, baseball, skiing etc.

Types of PCL Injuries –

  • Grade I – Partial tearing of PCL
  • Grade II - Partially torn PCL, but severe than grade I
  • Grade III – Complete tearing of the ligament leading to an unstable knee
  • Grade IV – PCL is damaged along with other ligaments

Causes

  • A sudden jerk to knee while playing contact sports
  • A blow to the knee during a traumatic car accident

Symptoms

  • Pain
  • Swelling and stiffness
  • Imbalanced knee
  • Difficulty in walking
  • Unable to bear weight on the knee

Diagnosis

The doctor may perform a thorough physical examination to diagnose the condition. He may move the knee in different directions and angles to see the range of motion. In case, the knee appears to sag backwards, he may recommend an X-ray or MRI scan.

Treatment

Nonsurgical Treatment – For grade I or II injuries, the doctor may suggest conventional mode of treatment options such as –

  • RICE (rest, ice, compression and elevation) – This may be recommended to reduce swelling and pain. It may also help the scar tissues to heal the damaged area and increase blood circulation.
  • Immobilization - Wearing a knee brace may help to restrict knee movement and prevent the patients from putting excess weight on the injured leg.
  • Physical Therapy - The patient may be asked to perform rehabilitation exercises to restore the strength and movement of the knee.

Surgical Treatment – In case of a severe damage, an arthroscopic surgery may be recommended. During the procedure, the surgeon may make a small incision and insert a small camera in the affected area. This may allow him to clearly view the damaged bones, tissues and ligaments. He may then extract a healthy tissue from the surrounding area and place it over the damaged PCL. This implant may act as a support for the injured ligament and help it to regrow itself.

For effective treatment of PCL injury, patients in Carrollton, TX can consult Dr. Craig Goodhart. He is a well-known orthopedic surgeon specializing in sports and knee injuries. To schedule an appointment call at (972) 899 – 4679.

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