Posterior Cruciate Ligament Injury

(PCL Tear)

Definition

The posterior cruciate ligament (PCL) is connective tissue located within the knee. The PCL connects the thighbone to the shinbone. This connection keeps the shinbone from moving too far backward, stabilizing the knee.
Posterior Cruciate Ligament
si55550644 97870 1 Posterior Cruciate Ligament
Copyright © Nucleus Medical Media, Inc.

Causes

The PCL ligament can become strained or torn when a strong force is applied to it. This force can occur during sports or other high-stress activity.

Risk Factors

Factors that may increase your chance of injuring the PCL include:
  • Sports injury
  • Motor vehicle accident
  • Fall on a bent knee
  • Strong force to the leg immediately below the kneecap
  • Knee dislocation

Symptoms

A PCL tear may cause:
  • Pain and swelling in the knee
  • Soreness in the area behind the knee
  • Weakness or instability in the knee
  • Difficulty walking
  • Pain when moving the knee

Diagnosis

You will be asked about your symptoms and medical history. A physical exam will be done. Images may need to be taken of the internal structure of your knee. This can be done with:Ligament sprains are graded according to their severity:
  • Grade 1—Mild ligament damage
  • Grade 2—Partial tearing of the ligament
  • Grade 3—Complete tearing of the ligament

Treatment

Talk with your doctor about the best treatment plan for you. Recovery time ranges depending on the grade of your injury. Treatment steps may include:

Supportive Care

Your ligament will need time to heal. RICE is often the main part of treatment:
  • Rest—Activities may need to be restricted at first. Normal activities will be gradually reintroduced.
  • Ice—Ice therapy may help relieve swelling. Heat or cold may be recommended throughout recovery if they provide benefits.
  • Compression—Used for a limited time, compression bandages can provide gentle pressure to help move fluids out of the area.
  • Elevation—Keeping the area elevated can help fluids drain out or prevent fluids from building up.
Your doctor may recommend a knee brace to stabilize the knee, and crutches to keep extra weight off your leg.Prescription or over-the-counter medications may be advised to reduce pain.

Physical Therapy

A physical therapist will assess your knee. An exercise program will be created to help recovery and to strengthen the muscles.

Surgery

Surgery may be needed to fully restore function of the knee. The decision to have surgery should be made after discussion with your doctor about your athletic needs, age, and associated factors.

leave comments
0
Did you like this? Share with your family and friends.
Related Topics:
Current Research From Top Journals


Chewing Gum After Surgery May Improve Digestive Tract Recovery
April 2015

A systematic review found that participants given chewing gum after abdominal surgery may have a faster return to normal for their digestive system. Unfortunately, the quality of trials is low and more research will need to be done before this simple solution is confirmed.

dot separator
previous editions

Early Peanut Consumption Associated with Lower Risk of Peanut Allergy in High Risk Children
March 2015

Breastfeeding May Decrease the Risk of Childhood Obesity
February 2015

Tonsillectomy May Reduce Number of Sore Throat Days in Children
February 2015

dashed separator

Advertisement

Our Free Newsletter
click here to see all of our uplifting newsletters »

 

Advertisement

Advertisement

DiggDeliciousNewsvineRedditStumbleTechnoratiFacebook