Knee – PCL Injuries in Austin Texas
Knee – PCL Injuries
The PCL is located at the back of the knee and keeps the tibia from sliding backward. The cruciate ligaments sit inside of the knee joint and cross over each other, helping control back and forth motion of the knee.
Ligament injuries are a form of sprain and diagnosed on a severity scale:
- Grade 1: Mild damage, slight stretching, the knee remains stable
- Grade 2: A stretched ligament that becomes loose and may have slight tearing
- Grade 3: A complete tear, causing an unstable knee joint
PCL injuries are fairly uncommon and usually result from a powerful force. Instances may include:
- Direct trauma to the front of the knee (such as a bent knee hitting a dashboard in a car crash, or a fall onto a bent knee in sports)
- Sudden pulling or stretching of the ligament
- A misstep
Immediately after the injury, patients typically experience pain, swelling, and instability of the knee. In a few hours post-injury, there is often substantial knee swelling, loss of range of motion, pain in the knee joint and difficulty walking.
Depending on the degree of PCL tear, nonsurgical treatment can have favorable results.
Treatment can include:
- RICE protocol (rest, ice, compression elevation)
- Targeted, progressive physical therapy can restore the knee’s stability and help prevent future injury.
- The orthopedic doctor may suggest a knee brace to limit movement
In compound tears or if the knee is dislocated, surgery is often required. The goal of PCL reconstruction surgery is to restore function to the torn ligament and prevent instability, allowing the patient to return to sports and other activities. Torn PCLs are replaced with new grafts of tendon rather than sutures.
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