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Michigan Sports and Spine

Posterior Cruciate Ligament (PCL) Injury

Overview
The posterior cruciate ligament is located in the back of the knee. It is one of several ligaments that connect the femur (thighbone) to the tibia (shinbone). The posterior cruciate ligament keeps the tibia from moving backwards too far.  An injury to the posterior cruciate ligament requires a powerful force. A common cause of injury is a bent knee hitting a dashboard in a car accident or a football player falling on a knee that is bent.

Causes
A direct blow to the front of the knee
Pulling or stretching the ligament (such as in a twisting or hyperextension injury)
Simple misstep

Symptoms
Pain with swelling that occurs steadily and quickly after the injury
Swelling that makes the knee stiff and may cause a limp
Difficulty walking
The knee feels unstable, like it may "give out"

Diagnosis
Physical examination and medical history consultation
X-rays
MRI

Treatment
RICE (Rest, Immobilization, Compression, Elevation)
Physical therapy
Surgery

Source: http://orthoinfo.aaos.org/topic.cfm?topic=a00420

 

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