Stretching across the back of your knee, your posterior cruciate ligament, or PCL, is the strongest ligament in your knee. It connects your shin and thigh bone and is responsible for keeping your knee stable. A sudden sharp or violent impact to your knee can overstretch or even tear your PCL, causing pain and, in some cases, limited mobility.
What Causes a PCL Injury?
Though most knee injuries are often sports-related, a PCL injury occurs when something forces your knee to twist, bend, or overextend very suddenly, which is typically the result of a car crash. If an accident causes you to slam your shin against the dashboard, or causes your knee to bend in a way it isn’t supposed to, you may be left with PCL strain or damage.
What Are Common Symptoms of a PCL Injury?
Many patients with a PCL injury experience knee pain and swelling. If you tore or strained your PCL, you may also experience knee stiffness or feel like your knee can no longer support you. Some patients also have difficulty walking.
To ensure an accurate diagnosis, your physician will perform a physical exam while looking closely at your knee and shin. If your knee appears to droop, or if your shin moves more than normal when your knee is held at a 90 degree angle, you probably injured your PCL.
Depending on the severity of the damage, your doctor may recommend the following treatments:
- Rest It At Home: For milder PCL damage, your doctor may tell you to rest your knee at home. This may include icing it, staying off of your feet and keeping it bandaged and elevated.
- Physical Therapy: For worse cases, you may need to visit a physical therapist (PT). Your PT will help you strengthen your leg and knee and help you get back to a full range of motion. Physical therapy may last up to six months before your knee is fully healed.
- Surgery: Though rare, some severe PCL injuries may require surgery, especially if some other parts of your knee are also hurt. Your doctor will provide you with the best treatment plan for your specific situation. Some patients can heal more quickly with minimally-invasive surgery. During the procedure, your doctor will replace the damaged tissue with new tissue arthroscopically. This allows you to heal more quickly and with less scarring. However, if the damage to your PCL is too severe, your doctor may recommend open knee surgery.
Extremity and Joint Injury Treatment at Minivasive Pain
At Minivasive Pain, our mission is to treat the causes of your pain with the highest standards of both quality and care. Using minimally-invasive techniques to ensure maximum results and a speedy recovery, we’ll help you with your PCL injury and get you back to the joys of life in no time. Plus, we have several locations throughout the Greater Houston Area for your convenience. To schedule an appointment, please call (346) 800-6001.
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