Torn Posterior Cruciate Ligament (PCL)

Overview

This condition occurs when the posterior cruciate ligament (PCL), a band of tissue that connects the femur to the tibia inside the knee joint, becomes torn or worn away. A torn PCL causes pain and instability of the knee.

Causes

PCL tears most commonly result from severe injury or trauma to the knee. A sudden blow to the front of the knee while the knee is bent can force the tibia backward, tearing the PCL. This occurs most frequently in motor vehicle accidents.

Symptoms

The most common symptom of a torn PCL is pain in the knee. Other symptoms may include immediate weakness or popping sound in the knee after an injury, swelling, stiffness, and bruising. Walking is painful and the knee may feel unstable.

Treatment

Treatment options for torn PCL include rest, cold compress, wrapping the knee, elevating the knee, physical therapy, and anti-inflammatory medications. If pain or instability of the knee worsens, surgery may be required.



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