Houston Methodist. Leading Medicine

Knee News

Posterior Cruciate Ligament Injuries: The Rest of the Story

This is part two of a previous study on patients with posterior cruciate ligament injuries. Part one reported on the natural history of a PCL tear--what happens to patients years after the injury. Part two looks at long-term results based on how severe the injury was. They asked the question, "Do the results depend on the degree of PCL

The same 271 patients from the first study were part of the second study. Amount of joint laxity (looseness) was measured for each patient. A special test called the posterior drawer test was used to label severity of each injury. Laxity was graded from one to three. The grade depends on how far the lower leg bone (tibia) slides when pulled forward by the examiner. The higher the number, the more severe the injury and laxity.

The patients were asked a series of questions about knee function and activity level. The results showed it didn't matter how tight or loose the joint was after PCL injury. Patients had varying results from poor to good no matter what grade was given. The
researchers couldn't find a way to predict which PCL injuries would end up with poor knee function.

K. Donald Shelbourne, MD, and Yegappan Muthukaruppan, M.D. Subjective Results of Nonoperatively Treated, Acute, Isolated Posterior Cruciate Ligament Injuries. In Arthroscopy. April 2005. Vol. 21. No. 4. Pp. 457-461.


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