Sports seem to target the backs and hamstrings of many an athlete, but another of the most common injuries to incur during a sporting exercise of just about any kind is a posterior cruciate ligament injury. For the layman, you may not find it so surprising that this is a knee injury. You’ll waste too many years of your life if you even attempt to count the number of knee braces worn in the NBA, and a very interesting factoid about knee injuries is that a solid 3% to 20% of all knee injuries in sports are specifically injuries to posterior cruciate ligaments. A very sizable percentage of athletes, therefore, experience this kind of injury, and many of those athletes don’t necessarily identify these injuries as such.
The posterior cruciate ligament (PCL) is what stabilizes the knee during extension and flexion, and to do this, it is positioned in the back of the knee and comprised of two separate ligamentous bundles. The PCL connects the femur to the tibia, so it’s essentially a ligament bundle in the joint (the knee) that connects that shin and the thigh. To perform appropriately, the PCL has to be even stronger than the ACL that you’ve likely heard of so many athletes tearing for one reason or another.
The PCL most frequently gets hurt in an active engagement when the athlete in question lands on pointed toes with significant impact while the knee is bent. If the impact is vehement enough, it will injure the PCL. There is also the common occurrence of hyperextension in which the PCL is torn, but occasionally athletes will take a severe hit to the tibia while the knee is flexed, which can also be incredibly detrimental to the PCL’s structural integrity. Another common cause of PCL injury is lateral force directed at the side of the knee in tandem with rotation; this is simply yet another way to cause hyperextension.
From a chiropractic standpoint, it is best to treat knee injuries of any sort as early and as vigorously as possible, and of course, the expediency of treatment becomes that much more important if the patient is a professional athlete. Regardless, to treat a PCL injury with this kind of vigor is best accomplished by way of trigger point therapy and soft tissue treatment, and these are the specialties of chiropractic care. The chiropractor is likely to help the injured party strategize an exercise routine that strengthens the surrounding muscles and retrains the ligaments themselves. In the process, though, soft tissue work is going to be the best means by which to ensure that tissue scarring is mitigated.
A chiropractor both rebuilds the strength of the PCL and assuages scar tissue. As such, it is best that anyone who suffers PCL pain (or ACL pain for that matter) contacts a chiropractor as quickly as possible because the timeliness of treatment is just as important given how much it factors into the efficacy thereof. The chiropractic care administered in these cases doesn’t just treat the pain; rather, it considerably reduces pain while, perhaps most importantly, staves off the possibility of long-term injury.
The symptoms to look for apropos of PCL injury are any sensations that suggest that the knee might give out. Additionally, difficulty walking is also quite suggestive, and if there is noticeable swelling, especially to the extent that it causes the knee to become stiff, then there is a high probability that the PCL has been injured. In this case, of course, it would be even more noticeable than certain other symptoms by themselves simply because this is likely to manifest as a limp in the patient’s gait. The most observable symptom, of course, is going to be pain obviously, but how quickly the pain comes after the incident in which the injury is believed to have been sustained is also telling, especially if, as stated before, swelling accompanies said pain.