Posterior Cruciate Ligament Injury
(PCL Injury)


The posterior cruciate ligament is located in the back of the knee. Much like the ACL it connects the tibia (shinbone) and femur (thigh). The PCL prevents the tibia from moving backwards on the femur with motion.

Causes & Symptoms

PCL injuries require a powerful force backwards force on the knee most commonly from impact on a bent knee hitting a dashboard or a fall on a bent knee.

Typical symptoms include pain, swelling, difficulty walking, and knee instability.

Evaluation & Treatment

Initial evaluation includes a medical history, physical examination, and x-rays to rule out other injuries. Specialized examination maneuvers may be done to test the PCL further. An MRI may be considered with suspicion for a PCL injury.

Typical treatment is based on the extent of the injury. A majority of isolated PCL injuries will heal with bracing, rest, and physical therapy. Continued symptomatic injuries of the PCL or injuries of multiple structures may require surgical treatment.

Surgical treatment is an arthroscopic outpatient surgical procedure. With surgical treatment full recovery takes up to 12 months.

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