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Posterior Cruciate Ligament (PCL) Injury

  • What is a Posterior Cruciate Ligament (PCL) Injury?

    The posterior cruciate ligament (PCL) is the strongest ligament in the knee. Tt prevents the tibia (shin bone) from moving too much and slipping behind the femur (hip bone). A PCL injury is an injury to this ligament and its severity can vary from a stretch to a tear.

  • Injury to the PCL occurs when direct force is applied to the front of the knee when it is bent, such as hitting the dashboard in a car accident or falling hard on a bent knee. The ligament may also be pulled or stretched when the knee is twisted, which can be caused by landing awkwardly after a jump.

  • Symptoms include:

    • Knee joint instability
    • Knee joint pain
    • Swelling and tenderness in the space behind the knee (popliteal fossa)
  • Treatment includes:

    • A brace to support the knee
    • Crutches to lessen the weight put on the knee
    • Physiotherapy to strengthen the supporting muscles and increase the range of motion
    • Rest, raising the affected leg above heart level and ice therapy to reduce swelling

    Depending on the situation, the doctor may advise ligament repair through surgery.

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