The posterior cruciate ligament is one of the four ligaments that supports the knee and protects the shin bone or tibia from sliding too much backwards. Injury to the posterior cruciate ligament happens when the knee is bent and an object strikes the shin causing it to be pushed backwards.
Symptoms of posterior cruciate ligament injury
- Sudden swelling or pain at the back of the knee after the injury
- Pain and limited range of motion
- A feeling that the knee has popped out
- Instability with the knee joint
- Difficulty in walking or limping
- There is pain while running or walking up or down on stairs
- Overextending the knee
- Bending the knee too much
- A dashboard injury happens when the bent knee of the driver or passenger is slammed hard against the dashboard that pushes the shinbone below the knee that result to tearing of the posterior cruciate ligament.
- Hard impact on the outer or inner side of the knee while the leg is twisting.
- Playing contact sports such as football and soccer can also cause tearing of the posterior cruciate ligament usually when falling on a bent knee with the foot pointed down.
Sometimes, the ligaments or cartilage and other structures inside the knee becomes damaged caused by posterior cruciate ligament injury and result to a long-term pain in the knee and instability. There is also a high risk of developing arthritis in the affected knee.
- Take plenty or rest especially the affected knee and protect it from making the condition worse.
- Apply an ice pack on the affected area for at least 20-30 minutes every 3-4 hours or 2-3 days. Avoid applying ice directly on the skin to prevent frostbite. Wrap the ice pack with a piece of cloth or towel before applying on the affected knee.
- Compress the knee using an elastic bandage. Wrap the elastic bandage around the knee and avoid wrapping it too tight to avoid disrupting the blood circulation in the area.
- Lie down and elevate the affected knee above the level of the heart by placing pieces of pillows under the knees to lessen the swelling.
- Wear a long-leg brace to support the knee and use crutches to minimize the weight and pain placed on the knee.
- Seek the help of a physical therapist for some exercises to strengthen the quadriceps muscles on the front of the thigh, increase range of motion and improve the stability of the knee.
- Perform light exercises by using a stationary bike and gentle stretching.
- Take the prescribed pain medications such as acetaminophen to lessen the pain
If the toe becomes cold or numb, the swelling becomes severe, the knee becomes weak or unstable and the symptoms are not getting better, seek medical help immediately.