Posterior Cruciate Ligament Injury: Things You Need To Know About It
Our body comprises numerous elements that work together to keep us moving. Every component is crucial and has a different job role. From top to bottom, you can find a number of body parts that many of us are not completely aware of. Or maybe we don’t know the functions handled by them. This time, the team of Mewar Hospital will talk about a kind of ligament that is known as the posterior cruciate ligament. Before moving toward this topic, let’s have a quick look at the meaning and functioning of a ligament.
What Is A Ligament?
You can understand ligaments as tough bands of tissues that often help to connect the bones together, especially in the joints. Our body contains 900+ ligaments which are helpful in joining the organs, joints, and bones. Such ligaments can be found in different parts of the body. They also help to keep them in their respective position. They handle a lot of functioning that includes stabilizing the muscles and joints. Additionally, they keep the bones together and avoid dislocation.
Types of Ligament In The Knees
Now, moving toward the ligaments of the knees, there are a total of four prime ligaments in each knee. The posterior cruciate ligament is one of them. The rest three ligaments of the knee are:
- Anterior cruciate ligament (ACL)
- Medial Collateral Ligament (MCL)
- Lateral Collateral Ligament (LCL)
There are a lot of reasons through which the health of ligaments can affect badly. It can also tear and eventually, requires medical attention. This time, we are describing some useful information, particularly about the posterior cruciate ligament.
About Posterior Cruciate Ligament
It stands as the most powerful and the biggest intra-articular ligament in the knee. The working of the posterior cruciate ligament is to attach the upper leg to the lower one. The PCL along with the ACL is helpful to attach the femur to the tibia at the knee joint. Out of these four ligaments, injury with the ACL is supposed to be common. And PCL, being a stronger and larger ligament than ACL, can also face an injury. If it happens, there can be a presence of pain, swelling, and some other disturbances.
If damage is found in these important tissues, a person must need to be attentive and visit the doctor. Otherwise, not only they will promote pain and other problems, there can be an effect on the overall well-being of the knee.
Causes of PCL Injury
One of the main causes of getting a posterior cruciate ligament injury is trauma. We are listing some conditions by which a person can suffer from PCL injury.
- If a person falls from somewhere on a bent knee, an injury can take place.
- When someone meets with an accident or a fall resulting in the dislocation of the knee.
- When someone takes a jump and gets back into the land in an incorrect manner.
- When the knee meets with a hard hit. For example, at the time of a motor vehicle collision.
- If the knee is overextended or twisted with a sudden approach.
Symptoms of PCL Injury
Now, moving on to the symptoms of posterior cruciate ligament injury, the primary indication is a pain in the knee. If there is damage to the ligament and is left untreated, the pain can get worse over time. Apart from pain, there can be swelling and tenderness. The knee will behave unstable, especially at the time of walking or standing. The site of pain can be in the back side of the knee. In the front portion, the pain can appear after some days or a week, depending on the level of injury. A person can have some limitations in moving his knees. Like, he may not go downstairs properly.
Level of PCL Injury
There are different levels or grades in which the injury is categorized. Like, this help to tell whether a person is suffering from mild, moderate, or serious damage to the ligament. Some grades are there to see which helps explain the damage to the PCL.
- Grade I
If there is minor damage that usually occurs due to extra stretching of the ligament. You can also understand it as a partial tear to the PCL.
- Grade 2
This is said when the ligament is torn partially and feels loose. A person can experience instability in this grade.
- Grade 3
Here, a complete tear is found in the ligament and due to this event, the knee turns out to be unstable.
- Grade 4
This grade is known to be a severe grade. Here, the ligament is completely torn and a person can’t get able to stand up properly on his feet. The other ligaments can also get damaged in this grade.
Diagnosis of PCL Injury
If you visit the doctor for a ligament problem in the knee, he will have a look at the knee’s condition. He will take a physical examination to know about the motion range and may ask some questions. For example, the level and site of pain. You may also need to answer why the pain occured. The detailed inspection of the physical examination involves checking both knees, the one which is hurting and the normal one. This is for the comparison of the injured knee with the uninjured. In many cases, they suggest imaging tests to know how much damage has been caused. Such tests can be X-rays, MRIs, or CT scans.
Treatment Options For PCL Injury
Now, regarding the treatment options, it will depend on the grade of damage. Like, in the form of an initial treatment plan, there is a RICE therapy that includes rest, ice, compress, and elevate.
* The first thing is to take a rest properly. Don’t put weight on the legs.
* Next, you can put ice on the affected part for not more than 20 minutes. But make sure that you follow this activity at least 3 to 4 times a day.
* Regarding compression, you can wrap the painful site with elastic bandages.
* The last one is to elevate the leg by slowly raising them to the level of the chest.
Some medicines are also recommended in these cases to lessen pain and swelling. If the damage is higher, you may need a splint. If there is a severe injury, for example, if the knee has been dislocated, the treatment will be in the form of surgery. Surgery will also be there if the PCL is pulled away from the bone or if there is an injury in multiple ligaments. The surgical treatment of PCL doesn’t allow for repairing the torn PCL. A torn PCL may not heal completely. In fact, it can tear again. Therefore, the surgeon removes the old ligament and places a tissue in its place that can be in the form of a piece of tendon or tissue from a deceased donor.
In case of surgery, some months will be needed for a complete recovery. Also, to bring back most of the activities, there will be a need to perform physical therapies regularly. You can talk to our doctors for suggestions and information about the surgeries or treatment options used for PCL injury.
Even if surgery isn’t needed and there is a feeling of pain and swelling in the knee side, you can talk to the physical therapist. He will help you with techniques to improve the strength of the legs.
Ways To Prevent PCL Injury
We know exercise helps to solve various problems. On the other side, it can also keep us away from various troubles. In the case of keeping your ligament away from an injury, several kinds of exercises can help positively.
- The first one includes stretching. If you deal with a sporting event, like tennis, football, baseball, or cricket, try to get warm up first. You will need to perform some stretch-related exercises that will help in getting rid of a PCL injury.
- Along with stretching, it is important to strengthen the muscles so they could assist in protecting the ligaments.
- You also need to be attentive. Like, at the time of playing sports and taking care of the hurdles that may force to fall or affect the balance.
The Ending Note From Team Mewar
We hope you must have learned a lot of new things from this blog. Apart from the reasons and treatment options, we have mentioned the ways to keep this ligament away from an unpleasing event. So, try to take care of such aspects. If you feel anything wrong with the ligaments or any other kind of a problem leading to the knees, we have a giant team of orthopedic surgeons to assist. Kindly contact us so we could assist you to get rid of the problem. You can talk to our experienced surgeons for any other kind of orthopedic complaint by taking an appointment through mentioned contact details.
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