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A Posterior Cruciate Ligament injury is generally suffered by sports people who have received some form of trauma to the upper part of the shin. However, it’s also commonly caused through a car accident due to the shin hitting the dashboard.
The ligament is located within the knee and runs from the thigh bone to the shin bone. The function of the PCL is to stop the shin bone from sliding backwards to the thigh bone. Patients who suffer from knee ligament damage, such as a tear to the PCL, do not always exhibit specific symptoms. This can make it hard to diagnose and treat the injury. Once treatment has been started, wearing a form of knee support can aid the recovery process, as well as protecting the ligament from future problems.
The difficulty with this type of injury is that it can be hard to diagnose. There are very few obvious symptoms. A posterior cruciate ligament injury is not generally associated with swelling or pain around the knee, which is usually an indication of Anterior Cruciate Ligament damage. The most common symptoms of a PCL tear are previous knee trauma and instability or unsteadiness around the knee. This ligament is not essential to operate normally, which is why many people can have this injury but it’s not diagnosed. However, if these injuries are not treated they can cause further problems in the future, such as osteoarthritis.
In order to diagnose this type of knee ligament damage, a specialist will generally undertake a number of physical checks. For confirmation of diagnosis, or to assess the severity of the injury, an X-ray or an MRI scan can also be beneficial.
The treatment programme for a PCL tear will depend on the severity of the injury. For minor to moderate knee ligament damage there should be no need for surgery. Strengthening and movement exercises will help to build up the capabilities of the ligament and reduce the risk of future injuries.
If this fails to resolve the situation or further damage occurs, surgery may be necessary. More severe damage to the ligament will probably require reconstruction surgery. After surgery, the joint will need to be immobilised with a knee brace. Once the joint has recovered from the operation, treatment from a physiotherapist will help a patient to regain strength in the area.
Following treatment for a pcl knee injury, it’s generally acceptable to resume sports or training in around four to six weeks. However, this will depend on the guidance of your physiotherapist or sports injury specialist. It will also be based on the degree of damage to other parts of the knee or any instability felt in the joint. Patients should exercise caution when first returning to physical activity and are advised to wear some form of knee support or brace to protect the area from further damage.