PCL Injury

PCL Injury Specialist

Sports Medicine Physician

Are you an athlete who participates in contact sports? If so, you may be at risk of sustaining a PCL injury. A PCL injury is caused by a powerful force to the front of the knee. This typically occurs from falling on a bent knee during a sporting activity. PCL tear specialist, Dr. Mark Getelman provides diagnosis and both surgical and nonsurgical treatment options for patients in Los Angeles who have sustained a PCL tear. Contact Dr. Getelman’s team today!

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An Overview on a Posterior Cruciate Ligament Injury
(PCL Injury)

The posterior cruciate ligament (PCL) is located in the back of the knee joint and keeps the tibia (shin bone) from moving too far backwards. The PCL is also responsible for keeping the tibia in position below the femur (thigh bone). A posterior cruciate ligament injury commonly occurs when a patient experiences an impact to the front of the knee, such as in an automobile accident, in sports activities or another traumatic event. Van Nuys, Thousand Oaks and Los Angeles, California area orthopedic knee specialist, Dr. Mark Getelman specializes in treating patients with a PCL injury, such as a PCL tear.

A PCL injury requires a powerful force to the front of the knee. This typically occurs from falling on a bent knee during a sporting activity or a bent knee hitting a dashboard during an automobile accident.

A posterior cruciate ligament injury is graded on a severity scale, including a simple PCL injury to a complete PCL tear.

  • Grade I: A simple stretch or strain to the ligament
  • Grade II: A stretch or partial tear to the ligament that creates looseness but the ligament remains intact
  • Grade III: A complete PCL tear where the ligament is split into two pieces

PCL Injury Symptoms

A PCL injury is typically marked by knee pain and swelling. The vascular nature of the PCL causes it to swell soon after impact, caused by internal bleeding. A PCL tear may cause a patient to experience instability and limited mobility.

PCL Injury Diagnosis

A thorough physical examination of the knee will be performed by Dr. Getelman to diagnose a posterior cruciate ligament injury. A posterior sag may be identified with the knee in a flexed position and specific tests, such as the Quadriceps Active test and posterior drawer test, will be performed to check for any abnormality or changes in appearance of the injured knee compared to the uninjured knee. Dr. Getelman may also recommend a series of X-rays or an MRI scan to confirm the diagnosis.

Have you sustained a PCL injury?

Schedule an office consultation with Dr. Getelman today.

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PCL Injury Treatment

Non-Surgical

An isolated PCL injury is typically treated with non-surgical measures. The RICE (rest, ice, compression and elevation) method and the use of crutches and/or a knee brace are typically recommended treatment options by Dr. Getelman. Anti-inflammatory and pain medications are prescribed in many cases to alleviate pain and swelling. Physical therapy may also be prescribed to strengthen the surrounding muscles of the injured knee and increase flexibility.

Surgical

Some high grade or even complete PCL tears can be managed non-operatively even in elite athletes. A complete PCL tear can occur in combination with injuries to the MCL or the posterolateral knee structures. Such combined injuries involving the posterior cruciate ligament may require a PCL reconstruction surgical approach. In many cases, surgery is needed when serious instability is present and/or other ligaments are damaged. A PCL reconstruction is performed in these cases by Dr. Getelman to reconstruct the torn ligament and restore knee stability.

For more resources on a posterior cruciate ligament injury (PCL injury), please contact the Van Nuys, Thousand Oaks and Los Angeles, California orthopedic office of Dr. Mark Getelman – knee specialist.