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ACL & PCL injuries: Everything you need to know

28 March 2022

ACL & PCL injuries: everything you need to know

Orthopaedic injuries like a torn ACL or PCL can cause mobility issues and long recoveries so we take a look at causes, treatment and rehabilitation.

PCL injuries and serious problems like a torn ACL not only cause severe pain at the time of injury but can affect your ability to play sport or remain active while recovering from treatment and post surgery rehabilitation.

As an orthopaedic surgeon in Brisbane, Dr Julian Lane treats ACL and PCL injuries frequently so let’s take a look at how torn ACL or PCL injuries differ and what can be done to mend them to get you back on your feet sooner.

What is the ACL and PCL?

The anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) and posterior cruciate ligament (PCL) join the thigh bone to the shin bone at the knee. They are made from strong bands of tissue which help to hold together and stabilise the knee which allows for normal freedom of movement when they are performing as normal. The ACL is located at the front of the knee and prevents it from slipping forward. The PCL is located at the back of the knee and prevents it from slipping backwards.

What causes an ACL or PCL to tear?

Most PCL injuries or a torn ACL occur due to accident or trauma. They are common injuries in sports where knee movement can be rapid and changing direction is common such as: netball, rugby league, basketball, tennis, skiing, rugby and AFL. PCL injuries are also commonly caused by motor vehicle accidents. As an orthopaedic surgeon in Brisbane, Dr Lane knows how common these injuries can be and has developed thorough treatment and rehabilitation regimes. A torn ACL and PCL injuries may be partial tears or complete ruptures which then determine the course of treatment.

How do you know you have a torn ACL or PCL injuries?

It’s likely at the time of the accident you will be in severe pain and in the case of a severe rupture you may even hear a popping sound. Usually pain will be accompanied by swelling of the knee joint and you will be unable to walk with stability on the knee joint as it feels like it has no strength.

Treatment and rehabilitation

If you think you have a torn ACL or PCL you should seek the advice of a medical expert. Once the swelling and stiffness have subsided you may have a consultation or some scans to understand the severity of the damage. Sometimes physiotherapy can treat the injury but that could also increase the risk of future injury. If you require surgery, the operation performed depends on the extent of the injury so your options will be discussed with you by your orthopaedic specialist. After surgery you will require a period of rehabilitation and depending on the injury you may not be able to return to playing sport for a year. That can be hard to hear for some people, particularly professional sports people, but we are here to help guide you through it.

Doctor Julian Lane is an orthopaedic surgeon in Brisbane and an expert in torn ACL and PCL injuries. Please call today on (07) 3394 4228 to book an appointment.

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