PCL Repair Options from Orthopedic Knee Specialists in Houston, TX
A PCL repair may be necessary if the posterior cruciate ligament – one of four key ligaments in the knee joint – becomes torn or is otherwise damaged. The PCL stretches across the back of the knee, connecting the shin bone (tibia) to the thigh bone (femur) and preventing the tibia from moving too far backward.
Usually, a PCL injury results from a direct blow to the tibia that forces the knee to bend backward. This can occur through a fall onto the shin, a football tackle or a vehicle accident that causes the shin to strike the dashboard. Much like an anterior cruciate tear (ACL) tear, a PCL tear can affect the stability of the knee, but the latter injury is far less common. Nevertheless, the need for a PCL repair should be taken seriously. If left untreated, the damage can potentially worsen over time.
What are the symptoms of a PCL tear?
A PCL tear can cause:
- Pain and bruising, especially at the back of the knee
- Swelling and stiffness in the knee joint
- Difficulty walking
- A feeling that the knee is unstable or about to “give out”
Additionally, a torn PCL may cause the knee to droop unnaturally backward when the leg is straightened.
What does a PCL repair involve?
Depending on the extent of the damage and other individual factors, a PCL repair may involve:
- Home care – For a relatively minor PCL injury, a physician may recommend resting with the knee elevated and applying ice for 10-15 minutes every 3-4 hours. To reduce pain and prevent further injuries, the knee may be stabilized in a brace or elastic bandage. If necessary, nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) can be taken to reduce swelling and provide further relief.
- Physical therapy – Specific exercises can be performed to restore range of motion and strengthen the leg muscles that support the knee. Usually, the intensity of the program will increase gradually as healing occurs and comfort allows.
- Surgery – Surgical repair may be considered if a PCL tear is severe or other knee ligaments are damaged.
With an experienced team of knee specialists on site, Advanced Orthopaedics & Sports Medicine of Houston, Texas, provides comprehensive PCL repair options, including arthroscopic knee surgery. To learn more or schedule a consultation at one of our offices in the Houston, TX, area, contact us today.