Have you ever heard of a posterior cruciate ligament? I didn’t until just recently when I started writing my previous articles on anterior cruciate ligament. So, what is there to know about it? Well, a lot actually. The PLC is actually holds a very important function in your knee, and you wouldn’t even know it unless you injured yourself. So, lets take this one step at a time.
For starters, if you are unfamiliar with what a ligament is lets catch you up to speed. It is a thick fibrous band of tissue that connects one bone to another. With that said, the PCL is the ligament that connects the thigh bone to the shinbone. It plays a crucial (no pun intended) in holding the knee in place. Its sister ligament, the ACL essentially forms a cross with the PLC at the center of the patella, or kneecap. While these ligaments are working hard to control and stabilize the knee cap, they are not invincible to injury. Although, not as common an injury as the ACL, the PCL can be a nagging injury that with a mild to difficult recovery, depending on the severity.
The most notable way to injure or tear your PCL is a car accident. What many know as the dashboard injury, this is common for people who’s knee impacts with the dashboard, ultimately causing the shinbone to push up towards the kneecap. This injury happens typically after motor vehicle accidents, contact sports, running or falling on a flexed knee.
However, a PCL injury has a different agenda than an ACL injury. I strongly urge you to read my previous articles on ACL injuries, therefore you will be adept to know the difference incase you come across one of these unfortunate injuries.
When you injure you PCL, it may not be noticeable right away. With an ACL tear, most likely you will hear a pop. This is not the case with your PCL. At first you will most likely see swelling, suffer slight pain and possible instability or looseness of the knee within the first few hours of injury. However, there are many instances where this injury will rear its ugly head down the line in terms of symptoms. For the most part, you may not notice anything is severely wrong and continue normal activity, essentially worsening the problem. I am an avid runner, and until I lost a decent amount of weight my knees swelled up and were painful all the time. I wouldn’t have known if I had a PCL tear or not because the symptoms seemed on par with bearing a lot of heavy impact on my joints. Just be careful to detect if something feels wrong opposed to the standard aches and pains of everyday wear and tear.
In the next article on posterior cruciate ligament injuries I want to delve into the varying treatment for a PCL injury and what kind of recovery you would hypothetically be looking at.