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Posterior Cruciate Ligament (PCL) Injury

 What is a PCL tear?

– The PCL is located at the back of the knee and stops the tibia moving backwards.
– It is less common to injure the PCL than other types of knee ligament injuries such as the ACL.
– Impact injuries like dash boards of cars hitting the knee or hyper-extension injuries are the typical mechanisms of injury.
– The PCL injury may be categorised as a grade 1, 2 or 3 injury, where grade 3 is a complete rupture.

What are the symptoms of a PCL tear?

– Pain and swelling within a few hours of injury.
– This can be mild to moderate and cause a limp or difficulty walking.
– Instability and the feeling of the knee giving way or the knee feeling loose.
– Loss of range of motion.
– Surgical treatment may be advised if the patient wishes to return to a high level of function.

How is a PCL tear diagnosed?

– The MRI can clearly show a PCL tear and also helps assess if other ligaments are involved. X-Rays can’t detect damage to the ligament but can detect concurrent small breaks, where a small part of the bone attached to the ligament, pulls away from the main bone. This is called an avulsion fracture.

 What are the treatments for PCL tears?

– In many cases surgery is not required and treatments include OTC pain relief, anti-inflammatory medications and physiotherapy to improve knee function.
– If imaging still doesn’t paint a clear picture of your injury, or especially if the injury is severe and other ligaments are involved, Dr Herald may perform an arthroscopy for Patellofemoral Pain Syndrome (Runner’s Knee)