Posterior Cruciate Ligament Injury (PCL)
The posterior cruciate ligament (PCL) is connective tissue located within the knee. The PCL connects the thighbone to the shinbone. This connection keeps the shinbone from moving too far backward, stabilizing the knee. A PCL injury is damage to this tissue.
|Posterior Cruciate Ligament|
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You will be asked about your symptoms and medical history. A physical exam will be done.
Images may need to be taken of the internal structure of your knee. This can be done with:
- MRI scan
Ligament sprains are graded according to their severity:
- Grade 1—mild ligament damage
- Grade 2—partial tearing of the ligament
- Grade 3—complete tearing of the ligament
Talk with your doctor about the best treatment plan for you. Recovery time ranges depending on the grade of your injury. Treatment steps may include:
Your ligament will need time to heal. RICE is often the main part of treatment:
- Rest—Activities may need to be restricted at first. Normal activities will be gradually reintroduced.
- Ice—Ice therapy may help relieve swelling. Heat or cold may be recommended throughout recovery if they provide benefits.
- Compression—Used for a limited time, compression bandages can provide gentle pressure to help move fluids out of the area.
- Elevation—Keeping the area elevated can help fluids drain out or prevent fluids from building up.
Your doctor may recommend a knee brace to stabilize the knee, and crutches to keep extra weight off your leg.
Prescription or over-the-counter medications may be advised to reduce pain.
A physical therapist will assess your knee. An exercise program will be created to help recovery and to strengthen the muscles.
Surgery may be needed to fully restore function of the knee. The decision to have surgery should be made after discussion with your doctor about your athletic needs, age, and associated factors.
This content is reviewed regularly and is updated when new and relevant evidence is made available. This information is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with questions regarding a medical condition.
Edits to original content made by Denver Health.
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a (PCL Tear)
American Orthopaedic Society for Sports Medicine http://www.sportsmed.org
OrthoInfo—American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons http://orthoinfo.org
Canadian Orthopaedic Association http://www.coa-aco.org
Canadian Orthopaedic Foundation http://www.canorth.org
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Ligament injuries to the knee. John Hopkins Medicine website. Available at. http://www.hopkinsmedicine.org/healthlibrary/conditions/adult/orthopaedic%5Fdisorders/ligament%5Finjuries%5Fto%5Fthe%5Fknee%5F85,P00926/. Accessed March 27, 2018.
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Posterior cruciate ligament injuries. Ortho Info—American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons website. Available at: http://orthoinfo.aaos.org/topic.cfm?topic=A00420. Updated February 2009. Accessed March 27, 2018.