Stem Project Essay

What does having an anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) and a posterior cruciate ligament (PCL) injury entail ;and what are the similarity and differences between the two? In this informative essay I will be going in depth with my steam project topic questions. I will also mention the after effects of having these surgeries and having to go to physical therapy. The objectives I’ve covered in my steam project are 3 (tissues), 4 (skeletal system) ,and 5 (muscles).

Firstly, the most common way to receive an ACL and PCl injury is during sports and/or  putting heavy stress on the  knee as Schub & Saluan, 2011 states, “Anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) injuries are one of the most common orthopedic injuries in sports. In the United States, approximately 300,000 individuals experience a complete ACL tear annually.”  This can happen when suddenly changing your direction while your foot is planted. The knee is able to take a lot of stress when pulled on but is much weaker when it comes to twisting motions. After you have torn a ligament some may experience excoriating pain in the knee considering the knee isn’t connected to the bone and won’t be as stable. When you are admitted to the hospital you should expect the surgery to be around two hours. They will begin with two ¼ inch incisions around the joint in the knee. A scope to view inside the knee is then inserted between the bones. A holes is drilled into the tibial and femur where the graft is then put through both of them. Strews are put to hold them down and over time when the bones grow back the screws will be incorporated into the bones.

Secondly, what are some similarities and differences when it comes to tearing your ACL and PCL? The first big difference between the two is the healing time, it can take up to six to nine months for an ACL  to fully heal (depending on how serious the injury was) on the other hand it can take up to two years for your PCL to fully heal. This is due to “Reports on outcome after posterior cruciate ligament (PCL) reconstruction often contain both isolated PCL and combined knee ligament injuries. This makes it difficult to conclude on the outcome after reconstruction of isolated PCL injuries.”(Owesen  Christian,1 ) It is more common to tear your ACL rather than your PCL and this is because the ACL is smaller and weaker than the PCL. The last  difference is the functionality of t’[]\he two, the ACL helps prevent the femur from moving too far forward while the PCL prevents your tibia from moving too far backwards. Some similarities between the two is how the injury feels, the swelling, pain, and instability of the knee. They are both found in the knee and aid in connecting the bones to each other. 

Lastly, when someone goes to physical therapy for an ACL tear the patient  should expect to go to physical therapy for about 7 sessions (8 weeks) and will continue to strengthen the ligament till its fully healed. The patient  shouldn’t do any stress inducing activities for about 6 months. In the first session the patient can expect to receive an evaluation of their injury and will have a consultation. Throughout the rest of their meeting they will also mention how to not reinjure their ACL considering it is much easier to tear your ACL and PCL the second time.

Work cited

Owesen C, Sivertsen EA, Engebretsen L, Granan L-P, Årøen A. Patients With Isolated PCL Injuries Improve From Surgery as Much as Patients With ACL Injuries After 2 Years. Orthopaedic Journal of Sports Medicine. 2015;3(8)., assessed November 21 2022
Rogelio A. Coronado, Emma K. Sterling, Dana E. Fenster, Mackenzie L. Bird, Allan J. Heritage, Vickie L. Woosley, Alda M. Burston, Abigail L. Henry, Laura J. Huston, Susan W. Vanston, Charles L. Cox, Jaron P. Sullivan, Stephen T. Wegener, Kurt P. Spindler, Kristin R. Archer, Cognitive-behavioral-based physical therapy to enhance return to sport after anterior cruciate ligament reconstruction: An open pilot study, Physical Therapy in Sport, Volume 42, 2020, Pages 82-90, ISSN 1466-853X, assessed November 22 2022

I gave each layer of the knee a description and what happens to that layer during surgery. As you can see in the epidermis layer there is a cut out which always you to see into the next layer. This isn’t completely accurate at in real surgery the cut wouldn’t be that big but to be able to see the muscles I had to cut it that big.
]Next layer is the muscle which has a smaller slit through the middle to allow you to see the fat.
In this layer there is an interactive aspect to it. That being to broken apart ACL and PCL along with the graft to allow you to fix them.
This goes along with the bone layer and it shows how the knee bone looks along with some labels.

One Comment

  1. The ACL and PCL tears occur most commonly during sports activities. Something that causes extra stress on the knee. ACL injuries are the most common orthopedic injuries in sports, in the USA there are approximately 300,000 ACL tears per year. What causes these ligaments to tear is a sudden change in direction of your knee while your foot is planted. This is because your knee can handle great up and down movement, but not so good side to side or even diagonal. The feeling of tearing either your ACL or PCL is quite similar. Both cause swelling, pain, and instability of the knee. Although we know PCL tears are much worse because it takes up to two years to completely heal. While it only takes six months for an ACL tear to heal. Including their 8 weeks of physical therapy. Another difference between your ACL and PCL is what the ligament purpose is, the ACL is there to prevent the femur from moving too far forward, but the PCL is there to prevent the tibia from moving too far backward. Once you tear one of these two ligaments it becomes more possible to tear that ligament again for a second time.

    Cheyanna Seamon

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