“To speak to medical professionals who specialise in sports injury was a breath of fresh air. The experience for me was the best it could be, especially as an athlete with a potentially career-ending injury. Everyone was caring and I was given the hope I so badly needed. It was now possible that... Read More”
Posterior Cruciate Ligament Injury
Posterior cruciate ligament injury happens far less often than injury to the anterior cruciate ligament (ACL). The posterior cruciate ligament and ACL help to hold your knee together. If either ligament is torn, you may experience pain, swelling and a feeling of instability.
Ligaments are strong bands of tissue that attach one bone to another. The cruciate ligaments connect the thighbone (femur) to the shinbone (tibia). The anterior and posterior cruciate ligaments form a cross in the centre of the knee.
While a posterior cruciate ligament injury generally causes less pain, disability and knee instability than does an ACL tear, it can still cause knee pain for several weeks or months.
Causes include road accidents and contact sports. A dashboard injury occurs when the driver’s or passenger’s bent knee slams against the dashboard, pushing in the shinbone just below the knee and causing the posterior cruciate ligament to tear. Athletes in sports such as football and rugby may tear their posterior cruciate ligament when they fall on a bent knee with their foot pointed down. The shinbone hits the ground first and it moves backward. Being tackled when your knee is bent can also cause this injury.
The main symptoms following a PCL injury are pain at the back of the knee. Instability is less common than in ACL injuries. In people who have injured the PCL months or years before, pain at the front of the knee can become a problem as the knee struggles to maintain stability and the kneecap cartilage wears out.
What treatments are there for Posterior Crucial Ligament Injury?
Treatment depends on the extent of your injury and whether it just happened or if you’ve had it for a while. In most cases, surgery isn’t required.
A physiotherapist can teach you exercises that will help make your knee stronger and improve its function and stability. You may also need a knee brace or crutches during your rehabilitation.
Aspiration uses a syringe to remove fluid from the joint. Aspiration may be performed if you have significant swelling of the knee that interferes with the joint’s range of motion and your ability to use your knee or leg muscles.
If your injury is severe, especially if it’s combined with other torn knee ligaments, cartilage damage or a broken bone, you may need surgery to reconstruct the ligament. Surgery may also be considered if you have persistent episodes of knee instability despite appropriate rehabilitation. This surgery can usually be performed arthroscopically by inserting a camera and long, slender surgical instrument through several small incisions around the knee.