Custom PCL braces are lightweight, easy to use, non-surgical treatment option for PCL ligament injuries. They help to stabilize and prevent further damage to the knee with activities and can be used before and after surgery.
The PCL, posterior cruciate ligament, is one of the main knee ligament in the knee. It helps to stabilize and support the knee during various activities.
A PCL injury often takes place during sports such as soccer, football, rugby, basketball and volleyball or while in a motor vehicle accident. It often occurs when a direct force takes place on the shin bone while the knee is bent or if your knee is straightened past its normal position (hyperextended).
A PCL injury can vary in severity from a minor stretch, to a partial tear and in the worse case scenario, a full tear. It can cause knee pain, swelling, tenderness, bruising, affect the movement in your knee and ultimately prevent normal function, activity or sport participation.
Along with your description of how the injury took place and your present symptoms, there are clinical tests a physiotherapist, a physician or an orthopedic surgeon can perform to show if there is a PCL injury. However, an MRI is the most accurate way to definitively see a PCL injury. An X-ray only shows images of bone and will not show any ligament structures.
Whether you will need surgery or not will depend on how severe the tear is, whether other parts of the knee are injured, how active you are, your age, your overall health, your future goals and how long ago the injury occurred. With a torn PCL you may recover fully but often you will never have the same amount of stability as you once did. The only way to get close to perfect stability is proper knee bracing and / or surgery.
By wearing a custom knee brace, properly fit to your knee measurements, you will increase the stability in your knee. With a torn PCL and no bracing, your will be more prone to buckling and you will further wear of tear the cartilage in your knee. This wear and tear will predispose patients to early osteoarthritis. The faster you get fitted for a custom knee brace after a confirmed PCL injury the better your knee will recover long term. All things similar, wearing a brace will always ensure a better recovery, more support and stability versus not wearing one.
The best way to prevent a PCL injury is to strengthen the leg muscles, improve your overall balance and flexibility and increase your functional, sport specific exercises. There are many professionals that are trained to progress patients with these exercises such as physiotherapists, personal trainers, athletic therapists and strength and conditioning specialists to mention a few. Of course avoiding high risk sports with lots of twisting, pivoting and contact will decrease your injury risk as well.
All things similar, wearing a brace will always ensure a better recovery, more support and stability versus not wearing one.