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PCL Injury

Located in the back of the knee, the posterior cruciate ligament (PCL) keeps the shinbone from moving backward too far. Injuries to the PCL – much less frequent than those to the more vulnerable ACL – are often partial tears that heal on their own.

What causes a PCL Injury?

Injury to the PCL is related to a powerful direct blow to the front of the knee and is commonly what happens in a car accident (dashboard injury to the knee) or during football contact (being tackled when the knee is bent).

How do you know you have a PCL Injury?

The typical signs of a posterior cruciate ligament injury are:

  • Knee pain
  • Knee swelling
  • Knee instability

How does OSI fix a PCL Injury?

A board-certified orthopedic knee specialist will examine you for signs and symptoms of a PCL injury. You can expect one or more of the following as your OSI doctor investigates your injury: 

  • Physical exam: Your OSI orthopedic expert will talk to you about your medical history and the symptoms you have been experiencing. The doctor will check knee structures for injury and compare the injured knee to the non-injured knee.
  • X-rays: An X-ray might be ordered to reveal the presence of an avulsion fracture.
  • MRI: An MRI could confirm a diagnosis by supplying an enhanced image of the PCL.
  • Diagnostic arthroscopy: If the severity of the injury is uncertain, the doctor may use a tiny camera inserted into the knee joint to get a clearer picture.

Nonsurgical Treatment

Nonsurgical approaches are often quite successful in healing an injured PCL:

  • RICE (Rive, Ice, Compression, Elevation) protocol
  • Physical therapy: Exercises to improve strength
  • Bracing: Immobilization of the injured knee may be recommended with crutches for added mobility, as well

Surgical Treatment

A severe PCL injury or one combined with tears to other ligaments or cartilage damage might require reconstruction of the PCL. Your OSI orthopedic knee specialist may also recommend a surgical solution with persistent episodes of instability. Often these repairs are done arthroscopically.