My 17-year old daughter tore the posterior cruciate ligament (PCL) in her left knee. We don’t have medical insurance, so we’d like to try treating it without surgery. Is this possible?
Yes, it is possible. However, more and more studies show that ligament tears without repair cause further joint damage over time. Without the ligament to hold and guide the joint, increased loads are placed on the knee. Within a year, changes in cartilage are seen on arthroscopic exam. After five years, almost 80 per cent of all patients with an unrepaired PCL have wear and tear in the cartilage. The result is early arthritis of the joint. The decision to hold off on surgery is best made with your doctor. It depends on the severity of the injury and extent of damage to the nearby tissues. Surgery is advised when there is a moderate to severe injury to the PCL along with a tear to the meniscus.