PCL Tear Treatment in Arlington, VA
The posterior cruciate ligament (PCL) is one of four ligaments that help to protect the stability of your knee joint. Along with the anterior cruciate ligament (ACL), the PCL connects the femur to the tibia.
PCL injuries account for up to 20% of knee ligament injuries yet are often massed by ACL tears. Injuries to the PCL range from mild (a partial tear) to severe (when the ligament tears completely). Similar to ACL tears, PCL injuries often occur through sports collisions or from trauma to the knee while it is bent.
Symptoms of a PCL Tear
Unlike ACL tears, PCL tears do not create a popping noise and the pain associated with a PCL tear is less severe when the injury first occurs. However, in the days and weeks to follow, several painful symptoms will arise:
- Knee pain
- Difficulty walking
Diagnosing PCL Injuries
There are several ways to diagnose a PCL injury. Your healthcare provider will begin by gathering a thorough history of how the injury occurred and a physical exam will be performed. During the physical exam, your healthcare provider will examine the knee by pressing it against your upper shin. Certain knee movement during the exam usually suggests a PCL tear.
A PCL injury is graded on a scale of 1 to 3 with 3 being the most severe. The grading is based on the amount of the ligament that tears.
Depending on the severity of the injury, your doctor may order imaging tests to help confirm the diagnosis. A Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) is the most effective way to diagnose a PCL injury because it gives your doctor the ability to view high-quality images of the ligaments, tendons, muscles and cartilage around the PCL.
PCL Tear Treatment
PCL tear treatment varies depending upon the severity of the injury. Non-surgical treatments are effective in relieving your pain and minimizing symptoms but may not fully heal the PCL tear. These therapies include:
- Icing the knee in short intervals, several times a day
- Elevating the knee
- Pain-relieving medication
- Physical therapy
- Wearing a knee brace
Arthroscopic surgery is generally the preferred treatment method to fully restore PCL function as it is a minimally-invasive treatment that provides quicker recovery times than other types of surgical procedures. During this outpatient procedure, the ligament is reconstructed using soft tissue grafts taken from the back of your thigh or heel. Through small incisions in the skin, thin cameras and surgical instruments help to guide and place the new tissue graft. Physical therapy will begin a few weeks after your surgical procedure as you begin rehabilitation.
Most people are able to return to regular activity within a few months, although each patient reacts differently to treatment. Full recovery typically takes six to twelve months as the tissue graft heals to your bone.
Request more information about PCL Tear Treatment today. Call (540) 356-3353 or contact Dr. Anne Truong online.
Truong Rehabilitation Center
Address10340 Spotsylvania Ave
Fredericksburg, VA 22408
8:30 am - 4:30 pm
Tue: 8:30 am - 5:30 pm
Wed: 8:30 am - 4:30 pm
Thu: 8:30 am - 5:30 pm
Fri: 8:30 am - 4:30 pm