Knee injuries, particularly to the four ligaments within the joint, are very common in sports. One of the ligaments that become injured while playing a sport is the PCL or posterior cruciate ligament. This ligament sits behind the ACL – another common ligament to tear. The PCL’s job is to prevent your shin bone from sliding too far backward.
Injuries to the PCL are commonly caused when the knee is bent, and an outside force strikes the shin and forces it backward. Falling on the front of your knee or getting into a car accident where the knee makes contact with the dashboard of the car are common ways to injure your PCL.
Like all ligament tears, PCL injuries are accompanied by pain and swelling, along with joint instability.
PCL injuries can be separated into three different categories, with grade III representing the worst injuries.
- Grade I PCL Tear – This is a partial tear of the PCL.
- Grade II PCL Tear – In this case, the PCL is completely torn, but the injury is isolated.
- Grade III PCL Tear – With a grade III tear, not only is the PCL torn, but it is compounded by injuries to other ligaments as well. For this type of injury, a person may require surgery.
Diagnosing PCL Injuries
Your doctor will look at how the injury happened to determine which ligament is most likely to be damaged. They will then perform a physical examination. To reveal the extent of the damage, they order an MRI can, which will give them an accurate picture of the damage so that they can come up with the right diagnosis and treatment plan.