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Posterior Cruciate Ligament (PCL) Injury Physiotherapy
Posterior cruciate ligament (PCL) injury is a painful knee injury that happens when one of the
ligaments on the inside of the knee is overstretched. Only 3% to 20% of
knee ligament injuries are PCL injuries (most of the time, it tends to be either meniscal tears or anterior cruciate ligament ACL tears).
Accidents, such as hitting the
knee against the dashboard during a car collision, or falling onto a
bent knee, are common causes of PCL injuries but forceful straightening of
the knee can also injure the PCL.
Athletes who play sports, such as
football and soccer, and skiers can experience PCL injuries.
source of PCL injury is the trend among dancers to land on the front of
their shinbone from a high leap.
Our senior physiotherapists treat PCL injuries
Posterior Cruciate Ligament Injury
The posterior cruciate ligament (PCL) is a thick band of tissue deep
inside the knee that connects our thigh bone (femur bone) to the shin bone (tibia bone).
What the PCL does is that it prevents our shin bone from sliding too far backward under the thigh bone.
Any force that pushes the shinbone backward under the thighbone can
cause a PCL injury.
Typical PCL injuries are
- stretched (strain)
- partially torn or
- completely torn (100% rupture)
Knee injuries that tear the PCL often damage other ligaments or
cartilage in the knee. In fact, a PCL injury can also break a piece of bone loose
within the knee. PCL injuries can either happen quickly—with a blunt force
injury to the knee—or slowly, as the ligament is stressed over time.
How Does a posterior cruciate ligament injury Feel like?
With an injured PCL, you may experience:
- Sharp or dull pain deep inside the knee joint or the back of the knee
- Pain in the knee when lifting a heavy load
- Pain when walking longer distances
- Swelling throughout the knee
- Joint stiffness in the knee
- A wobbly feeling in the knee
- Difficulty walking on the injured leg
- Difficulty going up or down stairs
- Difficulty when starting to run
PCL injuries sometimes do not cause a "popping" sound or sensation
when they first occur, and for that reason, people may not be sure of
the exact time of their injury.
How Is It Diagnosed?
If you see our senior physiotherapists first, we will conduct a
thorough evaluation that includes taking your health history.
We will also ask you detailed questions about your
injury, such as:
- How and when did you notice the pain?
- Did you feel pain or hear a "pop" when you injured your knee?
- Did your knee straighten out very quickly, past its normal position?
- Did your knee get forcefully bent, past its normal position?
- Did you receive a direct hit to the leg while the knee was bent?
- Did you fall on a bent knee with the foot pointed downward?
- Did you see swelling around the knee in the first 2 to 3 hours following the injury?
- Does your knee feel like it is wobbling, locking, catching, buckling, or giving away when you try to use it?
We also will perform special tests to help
determine the likelihood that you have a PCL injury.
We will gently press on the front of your knee to determine if
the ligament feels loose, and may perform additional tests to determine
if other parts of your knee are injured. We will
also observe how you are walking (if the joint is stable or not, if there is limping or not, balance etc).
To provide a definitive diagnosis, we may
collaborate with an orthopedic physician or other health care provider,
who may order further tests, such as an x-ray, to confirm the diagnosis
and to rule out other damage to the knee, including
how our senior physiotherapists can help you
We will work with you to design a specific
treatment program that will speed your recovery, including exercises you
can do at home. Physical therapy will help you return to your normal
lifestyle and activities. The time it takes to heal the condition
varies, but improvement is generally noted over 4 to 12 weeks.
During the first 24 to 48 hours following your injury, we may advise you to:
- Rest your knee by using crutches or a brace, reducing the amount of
weight you put on your injured leg, and avoiding any activity that
- Apply cold therapy to the area for 15–
to 20 minutes every 2 hours.
- Consult with a physician for further services such as medication or diagnostic tests.
Your physical therapist will work with you over time to:
Reduce Pain and Reduce Swelling
We may use a variety of treatments and
technologies to control and reduce your pain and decrease knee swelling, which may
We will choose specific activities and
treatments to help restore normal movement in the knee and leg. These
might begin with passive motions that your physical therapist performs
for you to gently move your leg and knee joint, and progress to active
exercises and stretches that you do yourself.
We will determine if any of your leg muscles or knee joint are
tight, and teach you how to stretch them with gentle exercise.
Certain exercises will aid healing at each stage of recovery; we will choose and teach you the correct exercises and
equipment to steadily restore your strength and agility.
include the use of
- cuff weights
- stretch bands
- cardio-exercise equipment, such as treadmills or
Regaining your sense of balance is important after an injury. We will teach you exercises to improve your balance
Speed and accuracy of leg movement is important in athletic
activities. We will help you regain these skills in
preparation for a return to sports activities.
Speed Recovery Time
We're trained and experienced in choosing the
best treatments and exercises to help you heal, return to your normal
lifestyle, and reach your goals faster than you are likely to do on your
We will work with you to set your work, sport,
and home-life recovery goals. Your treatment program will help you reach
those goals in the safest, fastest, and most effective way possible.
We will teach you
- work retraining
- sport-specific techniques and drills to help you return
to your regular activities
If Surgery Is Necessary
Surgery is not usually required to treat a mild PCL injury. However, it may be needed if:
- The PCL is completely torn
- A piece of bone has broken loose
- There are other ligament injuries
- You constantly feel like your knee is going to buckle beneath you (knee joint instability)
Athletes may elect to undergo surgical replacement of the PCL to
improve the stability of the knee during sports activities. If other
parts of the knee are injured at the same time as the PCL, you may need
different treatment for those injuries, including surgery.
If surgery is
needed, you will follow a recovery program over several weeks guided by our senior physiotherapists who will help you
- regain motion
- regain strength and
- return to normal activities in
the speediest manner possible
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Phoenix Rehab physio Services
Phoenix Rehab Group works with specialist
physiotherapists and rehab therapists who are highly
trained, qualified, experienced and passionate to provide high level of
expert care to our patients.
PHYSIOTHERAPY & PHYSICAL THERAPY
HAND THERAPY & SPLINTING
Patients who sustained injuries to their elbows, forearms, hands, wrists
(sprains and fractures) and fingers, and requires Hand Therapy to increase the function of their hand
following injuries or post-operations as well as custom made hand splints.
Commonly treated hand pain injuries includes
CLINICAL PILATES & WELLNESS PILATES
Clinical Pilates is a form of physical exercise that focuses on
- core stability
- flexibility and
It is a system of safe and effective exercises, which
meet specific individual needs, to treat a wide range of injuries
You may do Pilates as matwork or with the reformer or both, and every session will be customized 100% to your fitness, injury and tolerance.
TRADITIONAL CHINESE MEDICINE (TCM)
DEEP TISSUE RELEASE & SPORTS MASSAGE THERAPY
Sports and deep tissue release massage helps to increase nutrient-rich blood
flow to tired, tight and tense muscles to
- accelerate recovery and
- shorten downtime / recovery period required
It also prevents
muscles from scar tissue micro-tears (and potential ruptures), and increases muscle
Done regularly, it will keeps your muscles healthy and fit with body/movement-confidence. Read the benefits of regular deep tissue release therapy here.
All our allied health therapists and TCM physicians are fully insured and registered with Allied Health Professions Council (AHPC) and Traditional Chinese Medicine Board (TCMB).
See our entire team here with introductions and their specializations.
At the first session, our specialist physiotherapists will carry out a thorough
assessment, helping them to select the most appropriate treatment to
help you recover as well as provide treatment in the same session.
Follow up sessions are inline to provide
expert treatment for your pain as well as prescribing specific
exercises to reduce your risk of re-injury and giving you a long term
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