Unlike a tear of the ACL, when the proverbial pop is heard at the time of injury, with a posterior cruciate ligament injury, the signs can be initially vague and then gradually become more noticeable. It may take time for the pain to intensify and for your knee to prove unstable.
While an X-ray cannot assess a torn ligament, it can reveal if there are any bone fractures. Magnetic resonance imaging, an MRI, will create images of soft tissues and can show if your posterior cruciate ligament has been torn.
Treatment depends on the extent of your injury. For milder cases, the employment of protection, rest, ice, compression and elevation therapies work well. Physical therapy exercises may also be an added component to your treatment plan.
If the injury is severe enough, your doctor might recommend surgical intervention to reconstruct the joint, especially if you have sustained other injuries to the same area, such as cartilage damage or a broken bone.
Be sure to rest your injured knee and protect it. You may need to use crutches. Ice packs on your knee for 20 to 30 minutes every three to four hours for a few days can be used to alleviate the pain. Place a pillow under your knee to elevate it. Ibuprofen can be an effective pain reliever, as well. Even wrapping an elastic bandage around your knee can help with the stability and protect it.
By observing the advice of your doctor during your recuperation phase, you increase the chances of restoring full and pain-free use to your knee! After all, you are going to “knee’d” that joint for quite some time!