Posterior cruciate is strong ligament situated at the back of the knee. It is one among the ligaments which join thigh bone to shin bone. Being a strong and tough ligament, posterior cruciate damage occurs only with high force. As a result, acute pain and instability is developed in the knee. An early treatment will help to prevent further discomforts.
A powerful blow to the front part of a bent knee is the main cause of posterior cruciate ligament injury. It may occur during sport activities or accidents. The other causes include:
- Falling on knee during knee bent
- Stretching of ligament
- A simple misstep
- Trauma to knee
Usually a clicking or popping sound is not heard during PCL injury. The symptoms of this injury include:
- Mild pain and swelling
- Burning sensation in knee
- Unstable knee
- Difficulty in movement
The damaged part is closely examined by the doctor before choosing the treatment procedure. Imaging tests such as x-rays, MRI scan, etc gives an image of the damaged tissue and ligament. Upon diagnosis, proper treatment method is chosen regarding doctor-patient preference. The treatments included are:
- Non-surgical Treatment:
The non-surgical treatment of PCL injury uses following measures:
The activities which may damage the knee should be restricted. A proper rest is essential.
- Ice packs
The pain and swelling can be relieved by regularly applying ice packs on the affected area.
A pain relieving drug or injection is useful to control the discomforts caused by the injury.
- Knee braces or crutches
For reducing excess pressure on the knee, braces or crutches are preferred. It provides stabilization to the knee. Also it protects the knee from further injuries.
- Physical therapy
A set of stretching and strengthening exercises are suggested. It retains the mobility and flexibility of knee.
- Surgical Treatment:
In case of severe injuries, surgery is recommended. The surgery involves rebuilding the torn or damaged ligament. A tissue graft from any other part of the body or human donor, is used to replace injured ligament. This tissue graft is arthroscopically inserted through a small incision made in the knee. It usually takes several months for the graft to completely heal into the bone.
A rest to the body along with physical therapies helps to regain the functionality of knee. The therapy usually begin 1-4 weeks after surgery. It includes mild exercises and medications to enhance healing. The recovery is a slow process. The duration varies with the severity of the condition. Braces or casts are recommended after surgery to straighten the knee.
The possible risks in the treatment of posterior cruciate ligament injury include:
- Irregular shape of knee
- Long-term healing