Posterior Cruciate Ligament Injury Specialists Greensboro NC
Murphy & Wainer Orthopaedics
Medical School: Duke Univ Sch Of Med
Year of Graduation: 1982
Accepting New Patients: Yes
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Medical School: George Washington Univ Sch Of Med & Hlth Sci, Washington Dc 20037
Graduation Year: 1974
Posterior Cruciate Ligament Injuries
A Patient's Guide to Posterior Cruciate Ligament Injuries
The posterior cruciate ligament (PCL) is one of the less commonly injured ligaments of the knee. Understanding this injury and developing new treatments for it have lagged behind the other cruciate ligament in the knee, the anterior cruciate ligament (ACL), probably because there are far fewer PCL injuries than ACL injuries.
This guide will help you understand
Where is the PCL, and what does it do?
Ligaments are tough bands of tissue that connect the ends of bones together. The PCL is located near the back of the knee joint. It attaches to the back of the femur (thighbone) and the back of the tibia (shinbone) behind the ACL.
The PCL is the primary stabilizer of the knee and the main controller of how far backward the tibia moves under the femur. This motion is called posterior translation of the tibia. If the tibia moves too far back, the PCL can rupture.
More recent research has shown us that the PCL also prevents medial-lateral (side-to-side) and rotatory movements. This confirms the suspicion that the PCL’s effect on knee joint function is more complex than previously thought.
The PCL is made of two thick bands of tissue bundled together. One part of the ligament tightens when the knee is bent; the other part tightens as the knee straightens. This is why the PCL is sometimes injured along with the ACL when the knee is forced to straighten too far, or hyperextend.
Both bundles of the PCL not only change length with knee flexion and extension, but they also change their orientation (direction of the fibers) from front-to-back and side-to-side. This function allows the ligament to keep the tibia from sliding too far back or slipping from side-to-side.
Related Document: A Patient's Guide to Knee Anatomy
How do PCL injuries occur?
PCL injuries can occur with low-energy and high-energy injuries. The most common way for the PCL alone to be injured is from a direct blow to the front of the knee while the knee is bent. Since the PCL controls how far backward the tibia moves in relation to the femur, if the tibia moves too far, the PCL can rupture.
Sometimes the PCL is injured during an automobile accident. This can happen if a person slides forward during a sudden stop or impact and the knee hits the dashboard just below the kneecap. In this situation, the tibia is forced backward under the femur, injuring the PCL. The same problem can happen if a person falls on a bent knee. Again, the tibia may be forced backward, stressing and possibly tearing the PCL.
Other parts of the knee may be injured when the knee is violently hyperextended, but other ligaments are usually injured or torn before the PCL. This type of injury can happen when the knee is struck from the front when the foot is planted on the gro...