Around the knee are important ligaments that attach the femur to the tibia. These two ligaments are known as the anterior cruciate ligament, or ACL, and the posterior cruciate ligament, or PCL. These two ligaments create the shape of an ‘x’ over the knee to stabilize the leg. A tear in either of these ligaments can cause pain and require weeks or months of rehabilitation and rest.
Causes of injury to either the posterior or anterior cruciate ligament happen for a variety of reasons, including:
An anterior cruciate ligament injury has the following symptoms:
A posterior cruciate ligament injury is indicated by the following symptoms:
A tear in either ligament can be diagnosed with the following tests:
Treatment of a posterior cruciate ligament tear can often be done with pain relievers, such as naproxen or ibuprofen. As the knee recovers, a doctor may suggest physical therapy to strengthen the knee and surrounding ligaments. With a minor tear in the anterior cruciate ligament, it is important to rest the knee immediately and use the RICE method:
With severe tears, especially in the anterior cruciate ligament, surgery may be required to stitch the ligament back together. Reconstruction of the ligament may also be done to re-establish the ligament to the thigh and shin bones.