Personal Injury Attorney Discusses PCL Injuries

Personal Injury Attorney Discusses PCL Injuries

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Personal Injury Attorney Discusses PCL Injuries

I’m Ed Smith, a Sacramento Personal Injury Attorney. For people involved in car accidents, their cars are often subject to sudden stops. Perhaps the vehicle runs into the back of the car in front of them. This can compress the front of the car and cause substantial damage to the legs when the knees strike the dashboard. Depending on how hard the knees hit the dashboard, knees can get dislocated and sever important ligaments, such as the Posterior Cruciate Ligament, or PCL. The PCL plays an important role in proper knee function so people need to understand the symptoms, diagnosis, and treatment of a PCL injury.

Injuries to the Anterior and Posterior Cruciate Ligaments

The ACL and PCL ligaments are known as Cruciate ligaments. This means the ligaments reside inside the joint of the knee in an X pattern to protect the knee against damage during back and forth movements. This is in contrast to the MCL and LCL, which are called the Collateral ligaments, that are on the side of the knee and guard against side to side movement. The PCL prevents the knee from moving backwards too far along the shin. This is an important function because this protects arteries and veins that might be injured if the knee moves back too far. A PCL injury commonly occurs when knees strike the dashboard and push the knee backwards over the shin.

Symptoms of PCL

Symptoms of a PCL injury include swelling and pain that develop immediately after the injury occurs. This swelling will certainly cause the knee to feel stiff and present trouble for patients while walking. Patients almost universally complain of a feeling that their knee is going to give out.

Diagnosis of PCL Injury

The diagnosis of a PCL injury is made almost exclusively via a physical exam. They will perform what is called the “posterior drawer” test, which is a test to see how far the knee slides backwards relative to the shin. If the PCL is injured, the knee will slide back farther than it should. The doctor will likely perform other physical exam maneuvers to make sure that other structures, such as the ACL or Meniscus, aren’t also damaged. While imaging is not necessary to diagnose the injury, it is helpful in determining if other structures are injured. In traumatic events such as a car accident, other structures might be injured and require an X-Ray or MRI for diagnosis.

When Surgical Repair is Necessary

If the PCL is completely torn, surgical repair is a necessity for anyone desiring a return to any form of physical activity. While some people might be fine with never running for the rest of their life to certain activities, a PCL is essential for athletic activity, especially changing direction. Doctors replace the torn ligament with a donor ligament from a cadaver or by using a part of the hamstring muscle from the patient’s leg. This graft will take several months to heal followed by intense rehab to make sure the graft is secure.

Sacramento Personal Injury and Auto Accident Attorneys

I’m Ed Smith, a Sacramento Personal Injury Lawyer. If you’ve suffered a PCL or other injury in a crash, please call me anytime at 916-921-6400 or 800-404-5400 for free, friendly advice. Member of Million Dollar Advocates Forum. See our reviews on YelpAvvo and Google.

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