02 May Suffering From PCL Injuries
The PCL is one of the four main ligaments in the knee and is responsible for providing stability to the joint. At New York Sports Medicine Institute, our team would like to explore who is at risk for PCL injuries, the symptoms, and the treatments available from our orthopedic specialist. Continue reading to discover more!
Who is at Risk for PCL Injuries?
The knee is the largest and most important hinge joint in the body that allows you to move your leg. The knee contains four main ligaments that strengthen the joint and prevent your bones from dislocating. The posterior cruciate ligament (PCL) is the strongest in the knee and is necessary to keep your bones in place and facilitate smooth movement. The PCL acts as the primary stabilizer of the knee and prevents it from rotating too far backward or to either side. A strain on the PCL is a common injury, especially for those involved in sports or high-impact activities. They are caused by a sudden twist or blow to the knee, causing the PCL to stretch or tear. Anyone participating in high-impact sports or activities is at risk for PCL injuries. These activities include football, basketball, soccer, skiing, and gymnastics, to name a few. However, there are other factors that increase the risk of PCL injuries, such as:
- Previous knee injury
- Weak knee muscles
- Poor alignment of the knee
- Lack of flexibility
Symptoms of PCL Injuries
The symptoms of PCL injuries can range from mild to severe and may develop gradually or suddenly. The most common symptoms of a PCL injury include the following:
- Pain and swelling in the knee
- A feeling of instability in the knee
- Difficulty walking or bearing weight on the injured knee
- A knee that “gives out” or buckles
- An audible popping or snapping sound at the time of injury
If you suspect a PCL injury, it’s best to consult with our orthopedist at New York Sports Medicine Institute for a diagnosis.
Diagnosing PCL Injuries
If you suspect you have a PCL injury, it is crucial to seek medical attention as soon as possible. Your orthopedic specialist will perform a physical examination of your knee and may request imaging tests such as X-rays, MRI, or CT scans to confirm the diagnosis.
Treatments for PCL Injuries
The treatment for PCL injuries will depend on the severity of the injury and the patient’s activity level. In some cases, conservative treatments such as therapeutic exercises and bracing may be sufficient. However, surgery may be necessary in more severe cases to repair or replace the damaged PCL.
Non-surgical treatments for PCL injuries may include:
- Exercises to help strengthen the muscles around the knee and improve the range of motion
- Bracing to provide stability and support to the knee
- Anti-inflammatory medication to reduce pain and swelling
- Ice and elevation to reduce swelling
Surgical treatments for PCL injuries may include:
- PCL reconstruction surgery to repair or replace the damaged ligament
- Arthroscopy to clean up any debris or damage in the knee joint
- Lateral release surgery to realign the knee
PCL injuries can be painful and disruptive to your daily life. It is vital to seek medical attention if you suspect you have a PCL injury and to follow your orthopedic specialist’s recommended treatment plan. With the proper treatment and care, most patients can return to their normal activities and enjoy a healthy and active lifestyle.
At New York Sports Medicine Institute, our orthopedic specialists are here to help you overcome your PCL injury and return to the activities you love. Be sure to contact our office today to learn more and request an appointment!