Posterior Cruciate Ligament Injury

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.

  • Causes

    The PCL ligament can become strained or torn when a strong force is applied to it. This force can occur during sports or other high-stress activity.

  • Definition

    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.

    Posterior Cruciate Ligament
    si55550644 97870 1 Posterior Cruciate Ligament
    Copyright © Nucleus Medical Media, Inc.

  • Diagnosis

    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:

    • X-ray
    • 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.

  • Prevention

    Some steps that may help decrease your chance of getting a PCL injury include:

    • Protect your knees by doing regular strengthening exercises for your thighs.
    • Maintain proper technique when exercising or playing sports.

  • Risk Factors

    Factors that may increase your chance of injuring the PCL include:

    • Sports injury
    • Motor vehicle accident
    • Fall on a bent knee
    • Strong force to the leg immediately below the kneecap
    • Knee dislocation

  • Symptoms

    A PCL tear may cause:

    • Pain and swelling in the knee
    • Soreness in the area behind the knee
    • Weakness or instability in the knee
    • Difficulty walking
    • Pain when moving the knee

  • Treatment

    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: