Posterior Cruciate Ligament (PCL)
In this episode: Posterior cruciate ligament (PCL) is injured though either a sharp posterior translation of the tibia or a hyperextension of the knee. It is rarely injured in isolation. Upwards of 95% of PCL injuries occur with another injury.
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Brief overview of the episode:
The posterior cruciate ligament (PCL) is a paired ligament with the anterior cruciate ligament (ACL). They work to prevent translation of the tibia and femur (click to see video). As the name implies the PCL sits posterior to the ACL and prevents posterior translation.
Injuries the PCL are rare accounting for ~3% of knee injuries. Additionally, PCL injuries in isolation are even rare. 95% of all PCL injuries occur with another injury.
The causes of PCL injury are motor vehicle accidents (MVA), hyper-extension and hyper-flexion with rotation. With a MVA the mechanisum is due to the dashboard. The knee/tibia is held by the dashboard and the momentum of the body is forced forward causing posterior translation of the tibia and tearing the PCL. Hyper-extension is most common with skiing or when the leg is planted and an outside force causes the knee to over extend. Hyper-flexion is most common with football offensive lineman. When they have their knees down and their torso is forced backward.
An injury to the PCL does not require surgery in most cases. If there is instability or if surgery is being performed on another structure in the knee then it is likely to be repaired/reconstructed.
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