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The PCL is a band of tissue that connects the shin bone to your thigh bone. Damage to this area caused by a fall or trauma can leave you immobile for weeks or even months. To make a full recovery, it is important that you have access to suitable care as a PCL knee injury can cause problems in later life, such as arthritis.

Measuring a PCL Injury

If you have a PCL injury, it will be classified into one of three categories:

  • Grade 1 is for a partial tear.
  • Grade 2 is for a partial tear that leaves the ligament loose.
  • Grade 3 is for a complete tear causing instability in the knee.
If you have a PCL injury, it will be classified into one of three categories

Symptoms of a PCL Injury

The most obvious symptom is pain in the knee, however, some people often hear a “popping” sound when they are injured. Other symptoms include:

  • Swelling
  • A loose feeling in the knee
  • Difficulty putting weight on the knee

If the pain is unbearable, you should visit your nearest A&E department as soon as possible. If you are not hurting badly, don’t ignore the injury and book an appointment with your GP. A PCL injury is usually easily identified by a simple examination, however, an X-ray or magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scan may also be used to diagnose the injury.

Preventing Injury

To avoid a PCL injury, the best thing you can do is ensure you have a proper warmup and cool down when exercising. If playing or participating in a sport likely to cause damage to your knees, you should ensure you wear appropriate safety gear to keep you protected from any knocks or bumps.

Treatment

If you suspect you have suffered a PCL injury, you can start treatment at home using the PRICE method. This involves:

  • Protecting the joint from further damage by using a brace
  • Resting the joint as much as possible
  • Icing the joint for 15-minutes then leaving for an hour
  • Compressing the joint with a brace or bandage
  • Elevating the joint above the level of your heart

Once you have visited your GP and had the injury diagnosed, there is a number of solutions available to you. Firstly, if you’ve suffered a grade one or two injury, suitable treatment might be physical therapy and strengthening exercises. During this time, a knee brace may be worn to offer protection and support to the knee. Crutches may be necessary if you are struggling to bear the weight.


Movement therapy might also be a suitable form of treatment. This involves putting your leg through its range of motion by hand, in a pool or by using a machine.

If you have suffered a grade three injury, it is likely you need to have the torn ligament reattached to the bone. This is done through either open knee surgery or by using an arthroscope.

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